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Pakistan Press (04 Nov 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Of human security: New Age Islam’s Selection 04-11-2017

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

November 4, 2017


Democratising our democracy

By Syed Anwar Mahmood

Balfour and beyond

By Irfan Husain

Building on Tillerson’s visit

By David M Hale

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/of-human-security--new-age-islam’s-selection-04-11-2017/d/113117


Of human security

By Dr Pervez Tahir

November 3, 2017

In the 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 security.

Budgetary 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 desired outcomes.

We 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 2016-17.

As 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.

It 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 the IMF.



Democratising our democracy

By Syed Anwar Mahmood

November 4, 2017

Nearly 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.

I have 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”.

Having 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.

Despite 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.

As a 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.

Many 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.

Our 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.

As a 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.

Since 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? No.

Accountability 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 transparent process.

All 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?

Today, 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.

To 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?



Balfour and beyond

By Irfan Husain

November 04, 2017

NO issue unites the Muslim ummah as the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Even 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.

And 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 mourn.

In a 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.

But as 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 battles.

Fighting 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 Ottoman banner.

Another 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 extremely effective.

The 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.

In the 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 Brits.

But as 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.

When 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.”

This 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.

Palestinians 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 Israel.

But it 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.

Now, 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 Aviv.

But 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.

Worse, 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.



Building on Tillerson’s visit

By David M Hale

November 4, 2017

Secretary 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.

The 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 districts.

Over 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.

Why do 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.

Our 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.

Secretary 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 respects.”

The 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.

However, 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 Pakistan.

Will 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.


URL: http://newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/of-human-security--new-age-islam’s-selection-04-11-2017/d/113117


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