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Why ‘Bangladesh Model’ is inevitable

Guest blog by Ahmed Nadeem

Political and administrative blunders being committed by our saviors on daily basis are clear signs of death of the Feb 18 mandate. Bad luck of our leaders – Media picks each of such blunders and passes to public. The shady explanations, fake excuses and rhetoric of leaders which follow to justify governance become an entertainment rather then satisfying the public. Blame goes to media – a ready scapegoat. The day Sarah Palin said that she is an expert in international relations as she can see Russia from her hometown; her dream to become Vice President was over. Ask our leaders and they will tell you it was fault of Tina Fay, who did the prank on Palin. Blames also goes to establishment and non-democratic forces. No mention of own blunders and endless hunger for power. This is not their stupidity alone. Our leaders have no idea of the times and the world in which they are living.

Zardari has been out of touch with people for last 10 years. He has no idea what Pakistan he is living in today, so are the politicians, judges and bureaucrats. None of them is connected with people. None of them gets public feed back about their actions, decisions and repute. This isolation leads them to make unpopular decisions and ultimately becoming civilian dictators. These decisions cause distrust and frustration in public. Politician in rest of the world runs their blogs and keeps connected with their constituents and public through face book or online forums, emails and text messaging. By doing so – they get public feed back and gauge public mood to form future policies. This results in popular decisions and good governance. None of parties or leaders in Pakistan affords to be open to criticism or public access because of their past baggage and morals.

Anti democratic forces, corrupt and incompetent politician, puppet judges and foreign influenced establishment – have brought us to a stage where it is not possible to maintain status quo. Our political leadership has decisively showed their incapability of transforming with times. They are still living in past without realizing the change which took place in our society in past decade. If they still insist to maintain status quo – result might be Taliban or even a civil war. It is democracy or dictatorship – few privileged that actually are not representative of people are and has been ruling. Democracy in absence of institutions and accountability is itself a disaster. Strong and independent institution which can ensure transparency, accountability and good governance are inevitable to avoid a complete disaster. There is a also another serious issue of policy shift from being subservient to USA, as our very existence is opposed to US interests according to some popular conspiracy theories. Can our political leadership, which thrives on American support – guarantee the national interest as a priority?

Present political leadership has learned nothing from past experiences. They carry the legacy of corruption and personal vengeances. Can such leadership deliver good governance? No, Never Status quo is not going to work in present level of awareness and change introduced by information technology. What we witnessed in Sawat and FATA it is no more far from our homes and towns. If this non deliverance continues – we might end up in a civil war. Politician’s – majority of them possessing dual citizenship will pack their bags and fly to their ‘homelands’. Biggest looser will be public and so-called ‘establishment’. Will establishment opt for that? No. That makes today’s establishment a force which will like status quo to be replaced by independent intuitions which can deliver good governance. First time in our history establishment and general public are on same side of divide while politicians, present judiciary, feudalist and corrupt politio-religious gangs are on the other side.

Promises of national reconciliation, good governance and slogan of ‘democracy is best revenge’ on which nation voted on the Feb 18 have been turned opposite. Rather then finding a solution for deposed judges and sending lawyers back to courts – judiciary is being packed with political workers. Tricks and ordinances are being carved out to fight back the civil society. If this was not enough governor-rule followed by horse trading has took away any hope for good. Cricket – the only entertainment apart from defeating family planning is thing of past. Thanks to Mr. Malik and Suleman Taseer. Not a surprise though. Were not the two gentlemen responsible for security of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto? Good news in waiting – Dogar will head Election Commission after retirement. All doors are being shut for political rivals and every effort is being made to grab more power. Those who voted for ‘change’ are on receiving end. Enjoy the revenge of democracy.

Long March and Lawyers sit-in, might not that peaceful as in past, after Sharif brothers ouster from national politics. A small act of violence can push political workers of rival groups in to a repeat of 12th May. The last thing nation affords, given the economic and security challenges already threatening our existence. It seems things are not happening in isolation, some one is pushing a larger agenda to destabilize Pakistan. Can establishment guarantee that Taliban and foreign forces would not play a role to push their agenda’s in any such eventuality? Soon people who wanted to give politicians time, will calling ‘Khaki’ for rescue. Military is trying to repair the damage done by Musharraf to the institution; it might try to avoid direct intervention. But leaving 170 million populations on mercy of incompetent and corrupt family run political enterprises is not an option either. Establishment, at this stage might feels enough is enough.

Transformation is natural process and decides the role to be played by all stake holders in any society. That continuation of status quo and growing frustration in people coupled with present political and administrative circus, will bring country down as well endanger existence establishment itself. This changes the roles. Once, biggest supporter of status quo and foreign interests, today’s establishment will have to act as an anti-status quo and nationalist force. Not out of love of people – but for sake of their own existence. Thanks to unwillingness of politicians for a change – the notorious ‘Bangladesh Model’ seems to be inevitable. Lawyers and civil society movement expedited the process of change. The pre-condition of existence of institutions for democratic rule was not met when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Charter of Democracy which was presented by politicians to nation as a promise of their ‘good’ behavior in future became the first causality of power politics.

Establishment still has an option to use its influence for restoration of Iftakhar Chaudhry. Thereby revoking infamous NRO followed by an interim national government composed of technocrats. This interim set up carries reforms in judiciary, election commission, re-draws political parties act, and examines the changes in constitution based on national interests, sets up permanent supervisory commissions for all key institutions. Once institutions are in place, an election can be held. This will ensure that institution do not get destroyed with change of political governments. While institutions work independently, national interests will be secure and long term polices in place. In presence of strong and independent institutions, nation would have plenty of time to give political system to refine itself without risking existence as a nation. Unwillingness of politicians to be answerable and accountable is pushing nation to the stage where we have to look towards non democratic forces to put a system in place before we go ahead with political experience. Is Bangladesh Model inevitable?


12 Comments

  • Khuram |

    I think there are better options available.Do not take to streets.Do not vote if any of the current leader is candidate in the next elections.Copy west for their discipline and honest accountability.Judge these leaders from those standards.And do not shirk responsibility as a citizen by asking others to do your job.Please leave the Bangladesh Model to Bangladesh.

  • dr.jawwadkhan |

    i do not believe in models.the great model is the only model which works by the great hands.

    i believe in the honesty,sincerity and compatancy of the leadership. and we can not have such type of leadership untill we posses the same quality.

    destination is far far far away from us and we are not even ready to walk on the path.

  • omar |

    There is a very slim chance that some kind of sense will enter the heads of the Pakistani establishment and in the interest of self preservation they will defuse this confrontation for a while. But even if they do, the conflict will return because an irresistable force (the changing Pakistani society, with millions of people who want a minimum share of the pie) is meeting an immovable object (the criminal and corrupt establishment that has enjoyed insane levels of loot for 60 plus years and DOES NOT WANT TO SHARE A PENNY with anyone unless some armed group forcibly snatches it from them). The push for restoration of the judiciary is simply the most civilized aspect of a revolt from below that the establishment cannot control but refuses to compromise with (again, they do compromise when some armed group proves stronger than them locally). The fact is, they have had a great ride for 60 years. They took the loss of East Pakistan in their stride and they have managed to sell their nuisance value to rich patrons from China to Saudi Arabia to the big boss himself, Uncle Sam. But it seems they just dont have the vision to adjust their position to give some space to the new emerging middle class, not to speak of the terminally oppressed lowest classes. The irony is that very minor compromises: some minimum justice, some very minimum opportunity to rise, some vague sense of participation in the state, would let the pressure out. Our culture has its share of rebelliousness, but there is also a lot of willingness to carry on and tolerate a good deal of nonsense…. but a fig leaf of respectability, some hint of opportunity is still needed and the powers that be wont even allow that. Maybe they can still learn?? I do fear that rather than compromise, they will use violence…. maybe some of the terrorists still under their control will be unleashed at a crucial moment??

  • sohail |

    Just one question to the estimable analyst (read armchair pundit) , did you vote in the last or last b4 the last election ? You know this is called a democratic process (read lengthy process) and it requires participation (read anlayzing, writing cheeky comments, voting , protesting and the like). Yes , I know it's hard but well it's better than sitting and wishing for someone to intervene and leave us armchair analysts and commentators to bicker over the situation . Ok , you don't like zardari that much , so vote against his party next time. It's called democracy. It's kind of funny isn't it. Americans elect bush (read miserable failure) and we elect zardari (read bush ka bhi baap) :)

  • Shehla |

    As an Alaskan, and one who is not a fan of Sarah Palin's, I want to correct a misconception:

    Sarah did not say she could see Russia from her house. She said that Alaska was close to Russia, and that you can see it from an island that is within Alaska. She was, of course, referring to Little Diomede Island in the Bering Strait side of Alaska from which one can see Big Diomede Island, which is Russian.

    Russia is also visible from a couple other places within Alaska, including the mainland.

    So Sarah was right; she didn't misspeak and was widely misquoted. I will give her that much. But not much else.

  • farrah, k.raja |

    Nadeem

    like the post ,I agree with your analysis that Zradari and the rest are out of touch.They play with the sentiments of masses.Pakistani people undertsand this and they have become indifferent,the people born in 1970 era and onwards do not discuss politics,they think what a sheer waiste.if we carry out poll today we will realise people do not believe in any of the statements ,speaches or messages our leaders say.

    Sadly Media has lost this trust as well.

    It proves masses are intelligent the few leaders are the handicap.

  • rhea |

    friendly reminder.. none of our leaders has ever been in touch with the people.. blogs? in a country where electricity has never been self-produced and retained? in a country where IT literacy is a luxury and computers a rarity in villages and small towns? just like these solutions aren't possible overnight, these issues weren't created overnight or by one rule of the PPP or Zardari. this coalition was for democracy and the survival of law and Pakistan. Instead of a child denied his favorite candy, Sharif could've been more sober than he has by pulling apart the entire govt and pitting Pakistanis against each other. worse still, people are expected to die in these marches and he still won't stop crying about what happened to him!

  • The People |

    Bangladesh is known as Democratic Country But as per article ( section ) 70 of the constitution of Bangladesh all power lies or centralize within single hand that is the Party Chief.

    Second one is very age old or left over British Colonial laws and Judicial System for ruling the people.

    Due to which hard earned cash money of common people are spend behind thousands and lacs of pending suits or litigation in the court which may not be settled even in life time not to speak off any certainty of result

    Now the question- who are direct beneficiaries for such Colonial laws which takes away valuable times of active life of both the contesting parties

    Trillions of Dollars are spent to conduct these long pending suits or litigation in the courts of Bangladesh every year .

    ARE THESE PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES ?

    If not why the colonial laws and legal system are not changes yet ?

    Experts are in opinion that in no way Bangladesh can face the current trend of advancement of Science and Technology like other Asian countries nearby Bangladesh

    Even Bangladesh will not be able to dream the face of digital world with existing Colonial Laws and Legal Patterns

    Third point which is most significant and important is the lack of accountability in every stage of life for people or for Government Personal / Officials

  • The Peoples |

    Bangladesh is known as democratic country

    But as per article ( section ) 70 of Bangladesh Constitution , only key person or party chief. can take decision none the else

    Second one is very age old or left over colonial laws and judicial system for ruling the people.

    Due to which billions of hard earned cash money of common people are spend in conducting these pending suits or litigation in the court which may not be settled even in life time nor have any certainty of any specific results

    Now the question- who are direct beneficiaries ?

    Contesting parties are compelled to spend money in addition to valuable times of their active life, year after year

    ARE THESE PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES ?

    If not why such colonial laws and legal system are not changes ?

    Peoples are in opinion that Bangladesh can not face the advancement of Science and Technology like other Asian Countries nearby Bangladesh

    Even Bangladesh will not be able to dream the face of digital world with existing colonial laws and legal system .

    But it is good for providing money to a group of people involved in conducting present legal process / system who have no rule in productive activities to change the face of poverty of the country .

    Third point which is most significant and important are the lack of accountability in every stage of life for people or Government Personal / Officials

    It will be wise to reform / replace the concerned ministry with expert of political sciences / social welfares and expert from relevant subjects of science and technology. like medicine , engineering , agricultural sciences , business and commerce etc ?

  • The People |

    Land Survey by settlement office of Bangladesh

    When Government has fixed up high rate of Taxes and fees for Registration of Land at the time of transfer of ownership,

    But unfortunately the Land Survey are conducted by Settlement Office of each District and Thana level and DLR Office , Dhaka jointly in different time . .

    Survey Official during completing their job adopts several stage operations for fixing up land ownership.

    .

    And in most cases the title ownership are changed recording new holding number , and ownerships , thus deprived the actual land owner of his title right ,

    These are done for personal interest or illegal gain ignoring the Title Right of actual owner ,

    Government have decided that the wrong made by Land Survey Official should be ratified by the Court of each District .

    The intention of Government is good , but actual facts are different , In whole life correction may not be possible

    The actual Title owner became undone and help less , can neither transfer his Land nor he can sell the land to meet emergency expenditure like education cost of children or matrimonial ceremony etc

    Will the Ministry of Law and Land Ministry of Bangladesh please take immediate steps to protect the interest of such Land Owner . or Declare that these land based o actual Title Deed may be transferred or sell .

    The People