Political Rulers Bring Neither Democracy Nor Development to Pakistan
“Na Khuda hi mila, na visaal-e-sanam/Na udhar kay rahay, na idhar kay rahe (I found neither faith, nor union with my lover/And now I belong neither there nor here).”
Pakistan's quest for democracy under civilian rule has produced neither democracy nor development in the Islamic country of over 180 million people. Currently, Pakistan is experiencing 6th consecutive year of stagnant economy and human development under an elected but highly corrupt "democratic" government run by the Sharif family and their cronies for their own benefit.
Is it a Democracy?
Can one call it a rule-of-law or democracy when the Sharifs illegally order the Lahore police to attack the home of Allama Tahir ul Qadri, kill over a dozen unarmed civilians including women, and then refuse to file a report (FIR) of the incident at the local police station? Can you call it constitutional rule when the ruling politicians openly defy the Supreme Court orders to hold local government elections under Article 140 (A) of the Pakistan constitution? Is it democracy when all of the most powerful government positions are held a few members of the Sharif family and their close friends?
Is it Development?
Is it development when Pakistan's human development progress is the slowest in decades? Is it development when Pakistan faces another lost decade like the decade of 1990s under PPP and PMLN rule? Is it development when Pakistan continues to drop in world rankings on social indicators included in the UNDP's HDI index?
Pakistan's HDI grew an average rate of 2.7% per year under President Musharraf from 2000 to 2007, and then its pace slowed to 0.7% per year in 2008 to 2012 under elected politicians, according to the 2013 Human Development Report titled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”.
|Source: Human Development Report 2013-Pakistan|
At 0.515, Pakistan's HDI is lower than the average HDI value of 0.558 for South Asia which is the second lowest among the various regions of the world tracked by UNDP. Between 2000 and 2012, the region registered annual growth of 1.43% in HDI value, which is the highest of the regions. Afghanistan achieved the fastest growth (3.9%), followed by Pakistan (1.7%) and India (1.5%), according to the United Nations Development Program.
Who's to blame for this dramatic slowdown in the nation's human development? Who gave it a low priority? Zardari? Peoples' Party? Sharif brothers? PML (N)? PML (Q)? Awami National Party? Muttahida Qaumi Movement? The answer is: All of them. They were all part of the government. In fact, the biggest share of the blame must be assigned to PML (N).
Sharif brothers weren't part of the ruling coalition at the center. So why should the PML (N) share the blame for falling growth in the nation's HDI? They must accept a large part of the blame because education and health, the biggest contributors to human development, are both provincial subjects and PML(N) was responsible for education and health care of more than half of Pakistan's population.
|Source: The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World|
|Source: The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World|
Going further back to the decade of 1990s when the civilian leadership of the country alternated between PML (N) and PPP, the increase in Pakistan's HDI was 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf's watch from 2000 to 2007.
Acceleration of HDI growth during Musharraf years was not an accident. Not only did Musharraf's policies accelerate economic growth, helped create 13 million new jobs, cut poverty in half and halved the country's total debt burden in the period from 2000 to 2007, his government also ensured significant investment and focus on education and health care. The annual budget for higher education increased from only Rs 500 million in 2000 to Rs 28 billion in 2008, to lay the foundations of the development of a strong knowledge economy, according to former education minister Dr. Ata ur Rehman. Student enrollment in universities increased from 270,000 to 900,000 and the number of universities and degree awarding institutions increased from 57 in 2000 to 137 by 2008. In 2011, a Pakistani government commission on education found that public funding for education has been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2007 to just 1.5% - less than the annual subsidy given to the various PSUs including Pakistan Steel and PIA, both of which continue to sustain huge losses due to patronage-based hiring.
|Source: Pew Surveys in Pakistan|
Looking at examples of nations such as the Asian Tigers which have achieved great success in the last few decades, the basic ingredient in each case has been large social sector investments they have made. It will be extremely difficult for Pakistan to catch up unless similar investments are made by Pakistani leaders.
Civilian rule in Pakistan has delivered neither democracy nor development. The country stands at a crucial juncture with highly energized Pakistanis staging a historic massive sit-in in Islamabad since August 14, 2014. They have shaken up the ruling Sharif family and forced them to seek Pakistani military's help to save themselves from the wrath of the people. Any decisions made by Pakistan's military and politicians now will have long term impact on the health of the country. Let's hope these decisions bring about changes which help accelerate socio-economic development while making Pakistan's rulers more accountable and responsive to the people for their actions.
Here's a video discussion on the current political crisis in Pakistan:
Pakistan PM Invites Army Intervention; Can Army Chief Save Nawaz Sharif Govt? from WBT TV on Vimeo.
Another Lost Decade in Pakistan?
Pakistan Military's Role in Current Crisis
Civilian "Democracy" Vs Military "Dictatorship" Debate in Pakistan
Saving Pakistan's Education
Political Patronage Trumps Public Policy in Pakistan
Dr. Ata-ur-Rehman Defends Pakistan's Higher Education Reforms
Twelve Years Since Musharraf's Coup
Pakistan's Economic Performance 2008-2010
Role of Politics in Pakistan Economy
India and Pakistan Compared in 2011
Musharraf's Coup Revived Pakistan's Economy
What If Musharraf Had Said No?
Today the federal government has fewer resources as well as less authority in social sectors yet the post-budget analysis remains focused on their role. It is odd that when Pakistan’s progress on the Millennium Development Goals is reviewed as a whole it is not the provinces who are asked to explain why these goals have not been met. The point that the communications strategy of the federal government as well as the post-budget analysis has failed to get across is that if there is rampant inflation, lawlessness or a lack of everyday facilities such as drinking water and sanitary services, it is solely the failure of provincial administrations.
For the first time after the 18th Amendment local bodies elections have been conducted in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa only; it is now imperative that budgetary allocations of these two provinces reflect funds for the local bodies. Only this can ensure development to be people-centric and the fruits of democracy to benefit people at the grass-roots level.
The most used phrase in post-budget analysis is undoubtedly ‘pro-poor’; however this term is more relevant for provincial budgets rather than the federal budget. In order to gauge how the country and its people are faring it is imperative that the budgets of the provinces are scrutinised as minutely as the federal budget. Not only should the provinces be generating their own revenues to undertake projects for the wellbeing of the people but also improving their capacity to implement these projects as well as their election promises.
All seven budgets that are presented annually must be prepared after extensive stakeholder consultations so that the allocations reflect the needs of the people in different sectors and districts. Transparency is required not only in the allocation of funds, but also in their utilisation and in order to measure how much of a difference has been made to the lives of ordinary people. The provincial budgets should be presented with as much fanfare as the federal budget and must be scrutinised more than the federal budget.
1 Pakistan's Progress on Development Isn't Fast Enough
Mr. Franche is quoted as saying he is frustrated that a country full of “capable and intelligent” people isn’t making more progress on reducing poverty and modernizing the state. “The fact that even in 2016, Pakistan has 38% poverty; it has districts that live like sub-Saharan Africa; that the basic human rights of minorities, women and the people of FATA [tribal regions in the northwest] are not respected; that this country has not been able to get its act together and hold a census; or that it has not been able to push for reforms in FATA, an area that is institutionally living in 17th century. It is extremely preoccupying,” he said.
2 The Country's Political Class 'Uses Its Power to Enrich Itself'
The UNDP official said the country’s elites needed to change their lives to help Pakistan. “You cannot have a political class in this country that uses its power to enrich itself, and to favor its friends and families. This fundamental flaw needs to be corrected if Pakistan is to transform into a modern, progressive developed country,” he is quoted as saying.
He said elites take advantage of cheap labor while partying in London, shopping in Dubai and investing in property abroad: “The elite needs to decide, do they want a country or not,” he is quoted as saying.
Mr. Franche also had a word for the propertied classes. “I have visited some very large landowners, who have exploited the land for centuries, paid nearly zero money for the water, and how they almost sometimes hold people in bondage. And then they come to the United Nations or other agencies and ask us to invest in water, sanitation, and education for the people in their district. I find that quite embarrassing,” he is quoted as sayin
3 Local Governments Need Real Power
Mr. Franche said provincial governments in Pakistan don’t have enough power. “Only KP [the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province] has a decent law that gives real power and real money to the local government. Local government does not mean that you just elect them and deny them fiscal resources or power,” he said.
4 Pakistan's Media Is 'Manipulated'
He also said the media should be one of the pillars of democracy, but “unfortunately, the level of dependence of the government on military authorities, and the degree by which a lot of media in this country is manipulated by powerful sources, are sources of erosion of democracy and erosion of the institutions that are the foundations of this country.”
5 Country Needs More Opportunities
“The apartheid of opportunities in Pakistan is horrible, which is why so many young people are trying to leave the country,” Mr. Franche is quoted as saying.
“Pakistan will not be able to survive with gated communities where you are completely isolated from the societies, where you are creating ghettos at one end and big huge malls for the rich at the other end. It is not the kind of society you want your kids to live in.”
The World Bank (WB) has categorised the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on top among all four federating units of Pakistan for making progress in different areas of human development.
“Pakistan’s provinces have experienced very different levels of progress in human development over the last decade. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa seems to have made the most progress in a number of areas,” the WB’s report titled “Pakistan Development Update” states.
According to the WB, the gross primary enrolment rate in the KP increased three percentage points between 2010 and 2015, in a period when other provinces were deteriorating. The child immunisation rate in KP increased from 40 percent in 2005 to 53 percent in 2013 and 58 percent in 2015, the largest increase of all provinces over that time period.
Sindh, on the other hand, appears to be flat-lining across the same indicators. Child immunisation was lower in 2015 than it was in 2005 (45 and 46 percent respectively) and the gross primary enrolment rate also fell from 82 percent in 2010 to 79 percent in 2015.
Stunting in Sindh also remains very high. Sindh continues to face large differences in urban and rural outcomes, which are most stark in water and sanitation where only 31 percent of rural households have a flushing toilet compared with 97 percent of urban households. Only 23 percent of Sindh schools are equipped with basic facilities compared with 93 percent in Punjab, 44 percent in KP and 26 percent in Balochistan.
Punjab has had mixed success while Balochistan has struggled. The data suggests that Punjab is also stagnant in some of the social outcomes over recent years. Its improvement falls between Sindh and KP, having made steady progress on child malnutrition (particularly stunting), as well as child immunisation and rural sanitation while making little or no progress on enrolment rates and the quality of learning outcomes.
Balochistan has struggled to increase its particularly poor outcomes, seeing deterioration in learning outcomes (only 33 percent of year 5 children could read a story in 2014) and child immunisation. Gender equality is improving somewhat – from a low base – in education and the workforce progress on women’s empowerment is also mixed. While gender inequalities persist, women are slowly participating more in education and work. Female labour force participation is slowly increasing, albeit from a low base (from 19.3 percent in 2005 to 24.8 percent in 2014) and more girls are completing lower secondary.
The ratio of female to male literacy is steadily improving, with seven literate women for every 10 literate men in 2015. This ratio differs wildly across provinces, however, with Balochistan exhibiting only four literate women for every 10 literate men.
Population growth is a key challenge for service delivery. Looking forward, population growth presents a key challenge for all areas of human development. Systems are not expanding quickly enough to increase access and coverage to Pakistan’s fast-growing population. Service delivery strategies will need to take a long-term view if services are to capture a greater share of a growing population while also improving quality, the report concluded.
In his confessional statement, dated April 29, 2016, Uzair testified that he joined a gang led by Abdul Rehman alias Rehman Dakait in 2003 and was incarcerated in the Central Jail, Karachi where he was appointed incharge of the prisoners belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on the recommendation of then jail superintendent Nusrat Mangan and PPP leader Faisal Raza Abedi.
In the statement available with The Express Tribune, Uzair disclosed that he assumed full-fledged command of the gang after Dakait was killed in an encounter in 2008 and formed an ‘armed terrorist’ group under the name of the Peoples Aman Committee (PAC) and became its chairperson.
He confessed to have collected Rs20 million extortion from different persons and departments every month, adding that the fisheries department would pay Rs2 million.
He also disclosed that PPP MNA Faryal Talpur, sister of party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, was given Rs10 million extortion every month. According to the alleged gangster, Dr Saeed Baloch and Nisar Morai were posted to the fisheries department on his recommendation.
“I maintained a friendly relationship with the [then] Karachi Capital City Police Officer Waseem Ahmed, SSP Farooq Awan and his brother Shahadat Awan [a lawyer and currently posted as prosecutor general of Sindh],” Uzair disclosed, adding he had done several favours for them, including helping Farooq and Shahadat encroach land in Malir. He also got Farooq to collect Rs150,000 to Rs200,000 in extortion every month.
The incarcerated gangster disclosed that on the insistence of Senator Yousuf Baloch he met the then chief minister Qaim Ali Shah and Talpur and asked them to get the head money and cases against him withdrawn, which was eventually done by Talpur and Zardari.
In his statement, Uzair disclosed that after the Karachi operation was intensified he was called through Qadir Patel and Senator Yousuf by Talpur to her Defence residence, where Sharjeel Inam Memon and Morai were also present. According to him, Talpur discussed various issues the including Lyari gang war, and offered to hide his personal arms and explosives and have Sharjeel and Morai handle his financial affairs and Yousuf and Patel handle affairs in Lyari if he wanted to flee the country.
He testified to have done various illegal works for the party, including helping Patel encroach land and providing 500 jobs to criminals on Yousuf’s insistence. He also admitted to have helped Owais Muzaffar Tapi, Zardari’s foster brother, illegally occupy 14 sugar mills that were later purchased at lower prices.
Uzair also claimed to have sent 20 of his men to harass residents around Bilawal House on Zardari’s instructions and force them to sell 30 to 40 bungalows to Zardari at lower prices. The gangster said he came to know about a plan to kill him while in police custody, so he pleaded to have his custody transferred to the Rangers.
The former Lyari kingpin had also requested complete protection, apprehending that he and his family members could be killed after these revelations, as he expected revenge from Zardari and other politicians he named in his statement.
Information Minister Shibli Faraz and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Accountability Shehzad Akbar on Thursday revealed details from a report issued by the Sugar Forensic Commission (SFC) constituted to investigate and assign responsibility for the shortage and price hike of the commodity in the country in recent times.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside the information minister, Akbar said the commission's report, which had already been discussed by the federal cabinet earlier today, revealed that six major sugar mill groups were acting as "cartels".
"They hold 51 per cent of the total supply," he added.
"A mill called Alliance from Rahim Yar Khan — partially owned by Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) senior leader Moonis Elahi — was audited. It showed that between 2014 to 2018, farmers faced an 11-14pc systematic cut, which translated into Rs970 million and was a huge blow to them," Akbar said.
He added that the mill under-reported sugar sales "for years" and sold the commodity to unnamed buyers and had committed violations under the Pakistan Penal Code.
Akbar also mentioned the JDW sugar mill in which PTI stalwart Jahangir Tareen has a 21pc stake. He said according to the report, the mill committed "double booking, under-reporting and over-invoicing".
"The report noted that the mill [JDW] under-invoiced sales from bagasse and molasses which resulted in 25pc cost inflation. They also committed corporate fraud whereby money was transferred from their PLC to their private company.
"Forward sales, satta, unnamed sales have all been associated with JDW too."
The Al Arabiya mill owned by Salman Shahbaz Sharif was also audited, the SAPM said, adding that it was found to have committed fraud worth Rs400m through informal receipts and market manipulation.
Akbar said the report had proven what PM Imran Khan had always maintained.
"Whenever a businessman comes into politics, he will always do business even at the expense of the poor. So his [PM's] thinking has been validated. A certain business community has captured the market and as a result, people are suffering," he said.
He added that the report will be available online shortly for anyone to read following the prime minister's orders.
Akbar said that the report revealed that certain sugar mills also used informal receipts. "It was ultimately the farmer who was crushed because there was no official record. The mill owners showed the price of production as more than the support price which meant that farmers earned less."
He added that mill owners also engaged in informal banking with the farmers, which hurt the latter because it was an unregulated process. "This gave the mill owners a profit of up to 35pc," he said.
Akbar said it was the first time that an "independent inquiry" had been conducted into the cost of production. "In 2017-18, sugar mills determined the cost of production at Rs51 per kilo whereas the report gave an estimate of Rs38 instead," he said.
"In 2018-19, sugar mills calculated cost price at Rs52.60 while the report gave an estimate of Rs40. [The sugar mill owners] purchased sugarcane at a lower price but showed a higher price in the invoices," he said.
The SAPM said the report also pointed out that the sucrose content as shown by Pakistani mill owners (9.5pc to 10.5pc) was less than the international standard.
This policy brief reviews the findings of the longest-running independent effort to track Chinese citizen satisfaction of government performance. China today is the world’s second largest economy and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has ruled for some seventy years. Yet long-term, publicly-available, and nationally-representative surveys in mainland China are so rare that it is difficult to know how ordinary Chinese citizens feel about their government.
We find that first, since the start of the survey in 2003, Chinese citizen satisfaction with government has increased virtually across the board. From the impact of broad national policies to the conduct of local town officials, Chinese citizens rate the government as more capable and effective than ever before.
According to the study, the proportion of respondents satisfied with the central government rose from 86.1 per cent in 2003 to 93.1 per cent in 2016, although it dipped to 80.5 per cent in 2005.
“From the impact of broad national policies to the conduct of local town officials, Chinese citizens rate the government as more capable and effective than ever before,” authors Edward Cunningham, Tony Saich and Jessie Turiel, from the Roy and Lila Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation, wrote in the report.
Their study was based on data from eight separate surveys, including face-to-face interviews, conducted between 2003 and 2016. It involved more than 31,000 Chinese in both urban and rural areas. The surveys were designed by the Ash Centre at the Harvard Kennedy School, and carried out by a “reputable domestic Chinese polling firm”, the report said, without elaborating.
They rejected a theory that Beijing was sitting on a “social volcano” of suppressed public dissatisfaction, but cautioned that without robust economic growth – and if austerity measures were introduced – the widespread approval might change.
The Chinese model gained favour as Africa wearied of the free-market capitalism and deregulation that characterised Western-style neoliberalism.
The failure of neoliberal economic policies in fostering social and economic development across the continent has caused political reorientations in Africa
Tim Zajontz, a research fellow at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University, said China positioned its model as an alternative to Western-style democracy, which became a source of inspiration for other African countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.
“The failure of neoliberal economic policies in fostering social and economic development across the continent has caused political reorientations in Africa, with China’s economic trajectory frequently being invoked as a viable alternative development model,” Zajontz said.
Orville Schell, Arthur Ross director of the New York-based Asia Society’s Centre on US-China relations, agreed. “China has provided a successful authoritarian developmental model that has worked at home, and is thus seductive to other developing countries that have had difficulty organising their body politics, catalysing their economies with growth and keeping social order. The ‘China model’ has produced economic progress … if people are willing to live in an authoritarian, even totalitarian political environment. There is a trade-off,” Schell said.
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However, as Beijing pulls out all the stops to mark the centenary of the ruling party’s establishment on July 1, there is still no consensus on what the China model actually is.
Just over a decade ago after the global financial crisis in 2008, the Chinese government even refused to acknowledge the existence of such a model, or weigh in on the discussions about whether the China model was reality or just something possible.
Instead, a number of retired officials, including former vice-president of the party’s Central Party School Li Junru, cautioned against using the term, citing its possible negative impacts on China’s relations with the world and its domestic development.
In a commentary on Study Times, the school’s flagship newspaper, in December 2009, Li said the notion of China model was factually incorrect and dangerous because it led to “self-satisfaction and blind optimism” and tended to stereotype the country’s ongoing reform experiment.
The ‘China model’ has produced economic progress … if people are willing to live in an authoritarian, even totalitarian political environment
In the decade since, a group of Chinese academics and intellectuals have also questioned the validity of the Chinese model. Renowned economists Zhang Weiying and Wu Jinglian warned against promoting it, saying it would undermine reform at home and fuel divide and confrontation with the West. Tsinghua University historian Qin Hui argued in 2010 that unlike the rise of China, the rise of the China model, featuring a low level of human rights and welfare, was by no means good news for the country and the world.
It was not until after President Xi Jinping took office in late 2012 that the “China model” finally won official blessing.
“With the rise of China’s national strength and global standing, discussions and studies on the ‘Beijing consensus’, ‘Chinese model, and ‘Chinese road’ have gathered pace in the world,” Xi told senior party cadres at an internal meeting in January 2013.