Pakistan’s Politico-Social Chaos

Dr Shahida Wizarat

Dean CESD, IOBM & President, Independent Economists and Policy Practitioners.

Why the Chinese don’t go for charisma in choosing leaders? There are numerous Confucian qualities of leadership but the one I find very useful for Pakistan is that the Chinese do not look for celebrities when choosing leaders. Instead, they choose knowledgeable and wise candidates.

This brings out the shallowness in our criteria for choosing leaders that are charismatic, whereas the Confucian philosophy enjoins upon us to look for substance. Confucian rules of governance recognize that a country cannot have good governance without talented people. It states that “Good governance can be achieved by eradicating hypocrisy, bribery, luxury and disobedience.” The Chinese have made merit the basis of selection of leaders for their country. And the performance of the country in the economic, political and social spheres shows that Chinese leadership has delivered. What can Pakistan learn from this very successful model of development next door? Why Pakistan and other developing countries have not been able to set their houses in order?

The leadership model followed in Pakistan is just the opposite of the Chinese model. We select the worst amongst us to occupy high public offices. Corrupt, foreign nationals, dual nationals and mercenaries are all welcome into the corridors of power in Pakistan. Is there any other country where such a system is prevalent? Just a few years back 10 Parliamentarians and senators in Australia were removed from office for violation of a constitutional rule that prohibits dual nationals from holding public office. Some of those removed were Australian and British dual nationality holders. And this is despite the fact that Britain and Australia happen to be close allies, and do not appear on the other side of the divide as is the case in Pakistan and the U.K. and Pakistan and the USA.

In Pakistan judgments by superior courts have been very clear about Pakistanis holding dual nationality. The December 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan directed civil servants with dual nationality to either give up their jobs or foreign nationality. The court advised the government not to appoint dual nationality holders on positions in order to “safeguard national security and interests”. But the contempt with which Pakistani politicians hold Supreme Court Judgments is for all to view and behold.

This contempt can be gauged from the fact that the present cabinet is composed of all the types discussed in my opening sentence, i.e. corrupt, dual nationals, foreign nationals and Pakistani nationals sponsored by foreign countries and their agencies. The only specie for whom it is very difficult to enter the corridors of power or hang on to power are competent, honest and patriotic Pakistanis.

A glance at the portfolios of foreign and dual citizenship holders shows that the most strategic ministries in Pakistan are managed and controlled by foreigners and Pakistani mercenaries. All the elements of national power in Pakistan are controlled by foreigners, Pakistani mercenaries and through them foreign intelligence agencies. Economic ministries including the State Bank of Pakistan are headed by foreigners. Even national security is headed by a foreigner. So when our adversaries throw challenges on the state of Pakistan, there is no one to respond to these challenges, as heads of all these strategic institutions are with governments that are engaged in hybrid warfare against the state of Pakistan. These ministers have the full backing and support of hundreds of foreign and dual nationality bureaucrats, technocrats and civil servants totaling 2250. The whole network thrives on salaries, perks and privileges from the Pakistani exchequer, but blatantly and unashamedly pursue foreign interests, which are diametrically opposed to Pakistan’s vital and strategic interests!

I remember the PMLN Government of the 1990s used to resist the appointment of IMF and World Bank affiliated “Economic Hitmen” (EHM).  But compare this with their eagerness in 2013 to fill all the ministries and other important positions by installing US touts as a strategy to ensure longevity of their tenure. Their perception is that nobody will dare to remove them if all the rank and file of the government is composed of foreign touts and citizens.

Imran Khan’s statements against drone attacks and bombings on Pakistani people by the US in the aftermath of 9/11 articulated the feelings of the entire nation. But was he just playing to the galleries or were his stances genuine? If it is the latter, he was hijacked by powers that install Pakistan’s governments, because he has since reversed his position on all important issues. There is a very marked contrast between Imran Khan’s pre and post stances and hence the U-turns. If our politicians are hijacked by foreigners as they are about to enter corridors of power why do we let this happen? Why those aspiring for leadership positions in Pakistan are not warned that it will go against them if they are found flirting with foreign agencies? Why this decadent system has been allowed to continue for so long? We all are aware of the serious existential threats that Pakistan is facing today, so can we afford the luxury of letting foreign nationals and local mercenaries to run the affairs of the country? We all know that US-UK agencies send their touts on important positions in Pakistan, but we let them into the corridors of power.

Let us gauge the performance of the GOP especially the aliens and mercenaries sitting in the GOP.  The same economic managers who are sitting in the PTI government have served the PPP, PMLN and Mushraff governments earlier. Privatization of KESC is a classic example of failure of privatization in Pakistan. Prior to its privatization KESC was inefficient, while after privatization its failure is due to the abuse of market power, board room corruption resulting in the grant of Rs 65 lakh per month salary to the CEO and retrenchment of those drawing Rs 4000 per month, removal of copper wires and their replacement with inferior quality wires, etc. And in spite of these market failures, the present government is embarking upon privatization of the Pakistan Steel Mill (PSM). Many economic managers now sitting in the present government have played a role in bringing the PSM to its present predicament, but there is no accountability of economic managers in Pakistan. But PSM workers who have been retired without any compensation or golden hand -shakes are being punished for the wrong doings of these fat cats. Moreover, the backward and forward linkages of the steel mill are very important, the linkage to the armament industry is of a strategic nature with privatization posing adverse consequences.

The pathetic performance of the alien and mercenary advisers and ministers can be seen from their statements that Pakistan will have to go to the IMF again, in spite of the fact that better alternatives are available.  While the pain and suffering of taking Pakistan to the IMF by the PTI government hasn’t subsided yet, the government is planning to borrow from the IMF again. They are trying to take Pakistan to the IMF not because Pakistan is in need of credit, but to implode the economy through debt servicing and harsh IMF conditionalities resulting in recession, unemployment, worsening distribution of income and poverty, followed by social and political crises. Pakistan’s economic managers have ruined the economy, pre-emptying take off, facilitating outflow of foreign exchange and the free fall of the Rupee, promoting GMOs that have been rejected by majority of the countries, de-industrializing the country, devaluations, fantastic amounts going to debt servicing, FATF grey list, continued export of pink rock salt to India even when India is boycotting Pakistani exports and TV channels. But GOP continues to supply rock salt to India, telecast Indian TV channels, provide air routes to Modi, refuses to adopt an offensive posture against India in FATF. This clearly shows that the Government of Pakistan has accepted an unequal relationship with India –a relationship in which India will penalize us, but GOP will not retaliate to put the relationship on an equal footing.

The Government of Pakistan has adopted the same strategy with regard to the Jammu and Kashmir issue, with the PM giving a very good speech at the UN on Indian atrocities on the people of Jammu and Kashmir. But he has resisted taking any action that would put an end to Indian atrocities. Similarly, government ministers and Imran Khan keep talking about Indian terrorist activities against Pakistan, but stop short of accusing India of money laundering at appropriate forums. Accusations about Indian involvement in terrorist activities doesn’t hurt India, but accusing India of money laundering at appropriate forums can hurt India. Moreover, the PTI government has also been facilitating the seizure of Pakistani assets by foreign courts which was not possible without its cooperation. For example, after the judgment by the Isle of White Judge in the Broadsheet case, GOP transferred €28 million from GOPs diplomatic account to a commercial account to facilitate seizure. Why did the GOP have to comply with the judgment of a British court?  Since when has Pakistan’s judicial system become subservient to the British judicial system?

Governments of Pakistan have been moving away from pursuing Pakistan’s interests and that of its citizens. Each Pakistani government has tried to be a more loyal and willing slave to US-UK than its predecessors. An unequal relationship between Pakistan and US-UK has been intensified over the years and has now been expanded to India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc. Moreover, as a result of our political order, the system of rewards and punishments has been reversed. All those pursuing Pakistan’s interests are punished, while hurting Pakistan’s interests, disclosing state secrets are rewarded. Even our nuclear power status could not give us the sovereignty and dignity that independent nations enjoy. Turkey, Iran, Malaysia all non-nuclear powers are far more sovereign than Pakistan.

For how long the musical chair between the corrupt, incompetent and foreign mercenaries will continue in Pakistan’s corridors of power? We faced several crises in Pakistan but we got out of them without any scratches on our political order. In fact, each crisis strengthens the political order and the Slaves of the Empire become even more loyal to the masters. The order has not only strengthened over the years but also expanded both in scale and scope. It is an order which keeps competent, patriotic and honest Pakistanis away from the corridors of power. But can we continue to run the country like this in present times, when the state is under severe attack as a result of the hybrid war that has been unleashed on Pakistan?

There are rumors of Pakistan signing an agreement with the US allowing the use of Pakistan’s ALOC and facilities for carrying out bombing raids in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This shows that those running the affairs of the country are totally indifferent to Pakistan’s strategic interests. Pakistan being a Predatory State people in power are using their power for personal gains and sacrificing economic, political and social wellbeing of Pakistan and its people. A theory in Industrial Economics states that a small firm cannot remain small forever. It has to either grow or die. Drawing a corollary between the theory of the firm and the theory of the state, I think a state cannot  remain in the colonial mode forever. It has to become sovereign, otherwise in the present global scenario, when big powers are assaulting states, sometimes under the garb of liberalism, sometimes the so-called ‘war against terror’, weakening of the state might ultimately lead to perishing of the state!

Email address:drshahidawizarat@gmail.com

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