Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Pakistan: A Challenge for South Asians

A Challenge for South Asians


Context: Military Dictatorship in Pakistan
By Mohan Nepali, Kathmandu

Growing militarism is a common challenge for South Asians. Their governments, though unable to properly feed their citizens, buy US and other weapons worth billions. The international support to cope with militarism is as important as the people’s struggles at home. But the dual US foreign policy will not be very helpful to de-militarize this region. The world knows that the White House nourished General Pervez Musharraf. As the former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto writes in the New York Times of 7 November, the US Administration has given the Musharraf government an aid of over $10 billion since 2001. In the name of using the aid to destroy the Talibans and Al Quaedans, Musharraf consolidated his own military rule. Consequently, he launched another military coup through the declaration of State of Emergency on 3 November. The White House’s criticism against this declaration appears just ritual. How could General Musharraf, heavily dependent on the White House for ruling Pakistan, dare to launch this military coup without an implied consent of his bless-giver?

Neither White House-nurtured democracy nor fundamentalism-grown forces can relieve Pakistan of the existing political crisis. World realities have repeatedly proved that many undemocratic things can happen under the disguise of democracy. In this context, merely talking of or preaching democracy is not adequate. To base any democratic debate on people’s own perspectives, the question whose democracy requires much consideration.

As the political history of Pakistan proves, the Pakistanis have long been ruled by military dictators under the pretext of coping with crises. None of the dictatorships has ever reduced the level of Pakistanis’ suffering.

It is crystal clear that neither the democracy prescribed by the White House nor the one imposed by military rulers can serve the people. It has equally been clear that ruthless fundamentalists, ignoring the essence of humanity, cannot dignify people. These are some of the questions that the Pakistan’s justice-loving have to attend to. So do other South Asians.

So far the Pakistanis have tried to or are forced to depend on party individuals. But the solution does not lie in individuals. Unless the parties can re-orient themselves as per the timely requirements of overall political and socio-economic transformation, mere series of protests and negotiations will no do.

Power-mongers and authority abusers have always embezzled Pakistan. This is a story similar to that of Nepal. In this situation, it would not be wrong for the Pakistanis to seek a new political leadership with a new vision for Pakistan. A similar thing is happening in Nepal, ruled by feudals or their prescribed individuals for centuries. The Nepalis seek a new leadership with a new vision, and feudalist and status-quoist forces have been resisting the ongoing change process in covert and overt forms. When the Pakistanis make a similar effort for deeper changes in their country, resistance is a certain thing to face. In the process of cultivating a new leadership and a new vision for Pakistan, there can be no better decision-makers than the Pakistanis themselves.

A democracy founded on the universal principles of equality, fraternity and freedom is the common requirement of the majority of people, be they Pakistanis, Nepalis or others. A state run not by profit-mongering private entrepreneurs but by people themselves is a democratic state. Democracy is not a tool of exploitation or suppression. It is worthy only when it is utilized for public wellbeing. When private entrepreneurs or elites are given the final role to define, shape and implement democracy, no one can guarantee genuine democracy. In Nepal, one can see how private owners, who have often created stoppage in essential goods and services, have made the government work in their favor. Recent price hikes in petroleum products have tortured the Nepalis, having the lowest income status in the world. They have at least become clear that they cannot get relief from neither military rulers nor from phony democrats.

In reality, South Asians require a democracy that follows the principles of peaceful co-existence without having their national sovereignty humiliatingly stepped on by aggressors. A democracy that practically functions not to preserve and rejuvenate man-eat-man culture but to transform the political and socio-economic status of the majority of people is the South Asians’ common goal.

This common goal of political and socio-economic transformation in South Asia faces many barriers, and military rule is definitely one of them. Among the SAARC members, military rule is not always direct as in Pakistan. For example, Bhutan’s monarchy is a military rule combined with autocratic character. The Bhutanese security forces harshly suppressed and expelled the Bhutanese of Nepali origin because they asked for human and democratic rights. Sri Lanka has spent much of its time on war. There is a well-cultured militarism in the government. The Maldives has always been ruled by a person. The chief commander is always the same ‘evergreen’ president. Bangladesh is no exception to such a trend. Guns rule Indian states where violence is a chief method of politics. This is a form of militarism. Huge military budgets in such countries with millions of starving people do not indicate a firmer hold of democrats.

Nepal’s political forces have violated the mandate that the Nepalis gave them during the historic April uprising in 2006. Almost 10 million Nepalis, by having continuously defied the 19-day curfews, produced a common street verdict for immediately abolishing the monarchy. But the political forces did just the opposite: they declared the successors to the current monarch. Analysis shows Nepal’s political forces greatly fear the military control rooted in monarchy. Monarchy in Nepal does have military instincts. Yet, status-quoist political forces highly depend on the military mechanisms controlled by the king. This appears to be the primary reason why they have run counter to the Nepalis’ April mandate.

Thus, not only Pakistanis but all South Asians have to do two common things: combat militarism and develop a new political leadership with a new vision.

*********************

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Rightwing Populism Will Make You Sick—Really

The four countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 infections in the world are all led by rightwing populists: the US, India, Brazil, and Russia. Throw in the United Kingdom, which has the largest infection rate in Europe, and you have a common pattern. ... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Early Voting Is OK, If You Know Who To Vote For

Early voting is now open which is great for the 80% or so of the population whose vote does not change from one election to the next. They can go out and vote at their convenience without having to wait for election day. But for those who are yet even ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog