New Age Islam Edit Bureau
Democratising our democracy
Syed Anwar Mahmood
Balfour and beyond
Building on Tillerson’s visit
David M Hale
Compiled by New Age Islam Edit
Of human security
By Dr Pervez Tahir
raging debate on national security and economy, the question of whose security
is it anyway has been ignored. In the Human Development Report 1994, this
question was first raised by Mahbubul Haq, the celebrated Pakistani economist.
Six years later, it was placed on the international policy agenda by the UN
secretary general at the Millennium Summit in 2000 when he issued a call for a
world free from want and fear. This marked a fundamental shift from the
state-centric security to individual-focused security. As a concept, human
security takes a holistic view of security. It encapsulates security at
individual, community, country and earth levels. Economic, social and
environmental fabrics are essential parts of it. The seven dimensions of human
security were identified as economic security, food security, health security,
environmental security, personal security, community security and political
allocation is the major input used to achieve the desired outcome in these
areas. An attempt is made here to match the allocations to the seven types of
security to make an assessment of performance. These are then compared with the
expenditure on the conventional notion of security in Pakistan, commonly lumped
under national security. It must be kept in mind that allocating adequate
resources is only the first step; these do not in any way give a measure of the
find that expenditure on human security has increased significantly since the
18th Amendment and the 7th NFC award. From 38.7 per cent of the total
expenditure before these game-changing events, it rose to 44.7 per cent in
most of the components of the social and environmental fabrics and a few in the
economic fabric lie in the provincial domain, the provinces are the major
contributors to the increased expenditure on human security. In contrast, the
expenditure on national security, a federal responsibility, has roughly been
flat around 13 per cent of the consolidated expenditure. In the budget 2017-18,
it is projected at 13.6 per cent. As a result, the ratio of human to national
security has improved from 2.97 times to 3.7 times. Looking towards the future,
further devolution from the provincial to the local level could increase the
proportion of expenditure on human security even further. These proportions are
in the right direction, with the provinces spending over 60 per cent of their
budgets on human security. However, these are proportions of a smaller pie.
Both the federal and provincial governments are lagging behind in the tax
reform to enlarge the pie.
used to be said that diplomacy is continuation of war by other means. The new
discourse on national security, the so-called fourth generation warfare, also
continues war by economic means. In contrast, human security paradigm rests on
prevention of war by all means. Is Pakistan being subjected to economic
warfare? Are debt, fiscal deficit, trade deficit and exchange rate being used
as continuation of war by other means? All these indicators are worse than they
should be, but none is in the unmanageable range. The deterioration in debt
liability and trade balance is related to increasing investment and import of
machinery. The exchange rate, it must be admitted, is problematic because of
the unnecessary love of the finance minister for a stronger rupee. The current
phase of political uncertainty has its own contribution to make. The fiscal
deficit of 5.8 per cent of GDP has exceeded the target mainly because the
provinces have refused the federal diktat to show surpluses in their budgets.
At any rate, all these are domestic failings and curable without recourse to
By Syed Anwar Mahmood
six decades ago, Pakistan experienced its first military rule when the then
army chief, Muhammad Ayub Khan, imposed the country’s first martial law. As a
school boy, I still remember the banner headlines that appeared in the
newspapers in the following morning.
lived to see three more martial laws in 1969, 1977 and 1999 – barring the
dismissal of PM Junejo in 1988. We constantly hear that democracy is not under
threat. However, we have also heard that: “if there was to be a threat to
democracy, it would be from not fulfilling the requirements of democracy or the
aspirations of the people”.
had a ringside view of the developments that led to the military takeovers of
1977 and 1999 and Junejo’s dismissal of 1988, I would let the readers gauge for
themselves if the requirements of democracy and the aspirations of the people
are being fulfilled.
10 years of uninterrupted democracy, Pakistan continues to stumble from crisis
to crisis. We are in the midst of a political and economic storm again. Over a
year ago, I wrote in these pages that the state of Pakistan needs an overhaul,
a restructuring of sorts. I had said that an important component of that
restructuring is the need to revisit our parliamentary model of democracy. It
has clearly not worked.
fresh wave of debate and discussion rages on the current impasse in Pakistan,
the country needs to revisit and review its structure – both administrative and
political. Pakistan needs to be reorganised in terms of its administrative
units and with respect to the transfer of power to the people.
federal democracies of the world are not parliamentary in character. Yet, they
are strong, vibrant and responsive to the aspirations of their people.
Democracy lies in the functioning of a democratic system. What passes for
democracy in Pakistan is anything but democratic. Shorn of transparency and
accountability and modelled on the first-past-the-post system, it favours the
strong and the wealthy and keeps the people unrepresented. As a result, there
is a need to put in place a proportional system of elections that enables less
privileged but otherwise capable people to be elected into local and national
bodies. Until that is done, the majority will remain unrepresented with the
first-past-the-post minority, propelled by their wealth, presiding over the
affairs of the country.
democracy needs to be democratised and freed from the clutches of the favoured
few. It provides an iron fist to the perpetual heads of our political parties
to de-seat their very own parliamentarian who are elected by the people. Put
plainly, a parliamentarian has to do the bidding of his/her party boss rather
than those who have elected him/her. That is how our political elite have
defaced democracy in Pakistan. This dictatorial aberration in our constitution
should be done away with.
nation, we are impatient. The five-year term of our elected bodies and elected
governments is, therefore, too long. We need to reduce it to a period of four
years. And we need to take democracy down to the local governments. Why are the
major political parties reluctant to empower the city and district governments?
Why are they not awarding local governments their due financial resources?
Until the elected local governments are empowered via a constitutional
amendment, our democracy will remain imperfect and weak.
our parliamentary democracy has not delivered, why don’t we opt for a system
where the federal and provincial chief executives are directly elected for a
four-year term under a one man, one vote system? Let the chief executive select
his/her cabinet from within and outside the elected houses to ensure that the
best possible talent and experience is harnessed to run the country. Freed from
the pressures of removal through a vote of no-confidence, the chief executive –
call him the prime minister if you will – would be able to deliver better under
the oversight of constitutionally-empowered house committees. The US is a
federal entity under a similar arrangement. Is it any weaker because of this?
is an essential ingredient of democracy. In Pakistan, we see a farce being
played out in the name of accountability. It is a process which dry-cleans the
looters and plunderers. Recent Supreme Court interventions are refreshing but
cannot serve as a substitute for an institutionalised accountability mechanism.
All we need is to professionally strengthen the FIA and appoint its head
through a judicial process rather than a political one. We should let a panel
of prequalified professionals be sent to a committee of chief justices (as the
FIA also covers the provinces) who would appoint a suitable person for a fixed
non-renewable term, to be removed only by the appointing committee through a
the above will not bear fruit unless we create more provinces. Let’s give
southern Punjab its due. Let’s restore Bahawalpur as a separate entity, which
existed until 1955. Let’s merge the former Balochistan states into a separate
administrative entity – as they were until 1955. And why can’t we grant
provincial status to Fata?
nearly 20 million people of Karachi have no representation in the federal or
the provincial government and have a toothless local government. Let’s grant a
special administrative and political dispensation to Karachi along the lines of
Delhi without dividing Sindh as a province. A locally-empowered and peaceful
Karachi will propel Pakistan on an economic footing.
survive and flourish, Pakistan needs a new contract with itself. It needs
constitutional repackaging. Who will bell the cat if the requirements of
democracy and the aspirations of the people are not being fulfilled? Will our
democrats rise to the occasion or wait for another messiah?
By Irfan Husain
issue unites the Muslim ummah as the continuing Israeli occupation of
before the 1967 war that saw Israel grab Gaza and the West Bank, its very
creation had been viewed as a grave injustice. Now, on the 100th anniversary of
the Balfour Declaration, a 67-word document containing the British commitment
to the creation of “a national home for Jews”, Jews across the world celebrate
while Palestinians mourn.
they have much to mourn: hundreds of thousands were ejected from their homes,
and the people of Gaza have suffered years of siege; people living on the West
Bank are subjected to daily humiliations as they cross the many roadblocks
Israel has created.
The Palestinians have much to
recent article in the Guardian, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority
president, demanded an apology from the British government. Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, had dinner with his British
counterpart, Theresa May, when he came to London to celebrate.
we in the Muslim world condemn the creation and expansion of Israel as a direct
result of the Balfour Declaration, we seldom try to examine the context in
which it was issued. In 1917, Britain was involved in a titanic struggle with
Germany, and had lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers in murderous land
alongside the British army was a company of Jewish soldiers. Although
numerically insignificant, their very presence convinced the officer corps of
their loyalty to the British Empire. Many Arabs fought the British under the
factor that had generated support for a Zionist state was the close integration
of British Jews into British cultural and social life. Despite rampant
anti-Semitism, people like Baron Rothschild, a banker and ardent Zionist, were
welcomed into aristocratic circles. The lobbying of highly placed Jews was
Balfour Declaration was more of a letter of intent than a binding contract as
it contained neither a date, nor a shape of the Jewish homeland. And it
promised the existing Arab population of Palestine that they would continue to
enjoy the right to their property.
event, it took over 30 years and the Second World War for the state of Israel
to come into being in 1948. In 1939, the British rulers of Palestine declared a
cap on the further immigration of Jews into the territory. As a result,
terrorist groups like the Stern gang fought a vicious guerrilla war against the
the war ended in 1945, haunting images of the Jewish survivors of Nazi
concentration camps flashed across the world, making it politically impossible
for a weakened Britain to hold the line. A vote in the UN gave Israel
statehood, and a clearly defined international boundary.
supporters complained to David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, that
the new state’s borders were indefensible, and he should not accept them, he is
reported to have replied: “If they give us a handkerchief, we will accept it
and expand later.” He is also quoted as saying: “What matters is not what the
goyim [non-Jews] do. What matters is what the Jews do.”
clear vision remains at the heart of Israel’s ruthless self-confidence. Time
and again, its leaders have invoked the battle cry ‘never again!’, a reference
to the Holocaust that saw millions of European Jews being herded to
concentration camps and gassed.
and their supporters blame the US for Israel’s aggressive policies that have
led to Palestinian suffering and regional wars. And it’s true that the open
cheque Tel Aviv has from the US has contributed greatly to the lack of progress
on peace talks. In fact, if the US has special ties with any nation, it is
was not always thus: after the 1956 war in which the UK, France and Israel
attacked and occupied the Suez Canal after it had been nationalised by Nasser,
president Eisenhower issued a near ultimatum to the three nations to pull out.
But increasing acts of PLO militancy that killed several Americans changed the
equation as Israel gained support.
of course, AIPAC, the pro-Israeli lobby, has become a powerful player in US
politics. Few politicians dare oppose the legislation it backs — in fact, it is
widely believed that US foreign policy towards the Middle East is made in Tel
the worst enemies the Palestinians have are the Arab states. Instead of forging
a common front to demand an equitable solution, they have constantly betrayed
the Palestinian cause. Egypt and Jordan signed separate peace deals long ago,
and Saudi Arabia and the UAE are reportedly in a secret alliance with Israel.
corrupt Palestinian factions have been at war with each, giving Israel an easy
excuse not to hold peace talks. Until this changes, expect another century of
occupation and humiliation.
By David M Hale
Tillerson’s recent visit to Pakistan demonstrated the significance that the
United States places on our relationship with Pakistan and the vital work that
still awaits us. The secretary discussed our continued cooperation and
partnership, expanding economic ties between the United States and Pakistan,
and Pakistan’s critical role in the region.
secretary underscored that when we work together, we can accomplish great
things. I have seen this firsthand during my tenure as the American ambassador
in Pakistan. Our work together has provided nearly 33 million Pakistanis access
to electricity – that’s about one out of every six people in Pakistan – by
adding more than 2,800 megawatts to the national grid. With the Kuram Tangi and
Gomal Zam dam projects, we are investing 16 billion rupees to help irrigate
nearly 210,000 acres in North Waziristan, and Tank and Dera Ismail Khan
the past 70 years, America and Pakistan have collaborated to establish institutions
such as the Institute for Business Administration, the Lahore University of
Management Sciences, and the Indus Basin Project. We have built or repaired
more than 1,000 schools. Together, we support one of the largest Fulbright
scholarship programmes in the world.
we do all of this? Because the American people share the vision that the
Pakistani people have for their own country and their own future: one of a
vibrant, resilient democracy with opportunity and security for all.
security work forms a pillar in the relationship, with many shared objectives.
Together, we promote strategic stability and combat terrorism around the world.
We see this, for example, in the collaborative approach that Pakistan, the
United States, and others have taken to combat piracy off the coast of East
Africa. Pakistan and the United States both lead in their support for UN
peacekeeping missions; the United States is the largest funder of peacekeeping
operations, while Pakistan is one of the largest providers of troops. These
examples – and there are many – prove that we can accomplish great things
together that serve the interests of our two countries and the world when we
are motivated to work together.
Tillerson emphasised Pakistan’s key role in working with the United States and
others to promote peace and security in the region. We saw what we can
accomplish together as recently as two weeks ago, when Caitlan Coleman and her
family were rescued after five years of captivity. As Secretary Tillerson noted
then, we are hopeful that our relationship will be “marked by growing
commitments to counterterrorism operations and stronger ties in all other
Pakistani government has made significant sacrifices and remarkable progress
over the last few years in rooting out terrorists and creating a more secure
and peaceful Pakistan. The United States respects the sustained efforts of the
Pakistani security services and the military and their enormous sacrifices. In
counterterrorism, too, we have seen joint successes through intelligence
sharing and the provision of equipment and training.
there is still unfinished business. Together, we must go the extra mile to
develop and promote true and lasting security and stability in the region.
Pakistan has much to gain in addressing the shared interest we have in helping
Afghanistan establish a viable peace and reconciliation process. As Secretary
Tillerson said, “We look to the international community, particularly
Afghanistan’s neighbours, to join us in supporting an Afghan peace process.” To
that end, all terrorist groups, including those operating within Pakistan, must
be denied the ability to cross borders to conduct attacks on other countries.
Security in South Asia is in America’s interest. But it is the citizens of
Pakistan who will benefit most when the threat of terrorism is eradicated from
there be challenges ahead? There are challenges in any relationship. We must
remain willing to have the conversations needed – sometimes difficult
conversations – to move forward on the many issues of mutual interest to the
people of Pakistan and the United States. Secretary Tillerson’s visit is the latest
step in our continued work to expand our 70-year partnership, to the great
benefit of the people of Pakistan and the United States.