Growing Democracy Amidst Tribal Politics In Pakistan

[Yasmeen is a frequent contributor to this site simply, because she is a national asset of Pakistan.  Pakistan needs hundreds and thousands of dedicated patriots just like her to give Pakistanis a chance to establish true democracy and overcome the tribal politics and international intrigues arrayed against them.  The author decries the minority-dominated politics that prevent national unity, but from my perspective, this is a problem which all open democracies must face and deal with equitably.  Our history is much the same, with extremes of political parties running the gamut, even including a national political party based solely upon racial hatred--the Ku Klux Klan.  We overcame all of that and so will Pakistan, as long as there are people willing to devote the time towards saving their nation from the forces of chaos.  Whenever the issues of minorities are dealt with by coalitions, finding the common paths that both sides tread in every issue, political issues become sorted-out into plus or minus opinion groups.  This is the two-party system, arrived at only through dedication to pragmatism, everybody cooperating on everything, at some level .

Good luck.]

Needed: Democratic Infra structural Changes in Pakistan

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: Yasmeen Ali    

Since it’s inception in 1947, Pakistan has been riddled with the question of finding a system of governance tailor made for her needs. In the quest,Pakistan has had affairs with Parliamentary System, Presidential System, semi-Presidential System…..but has been unable so far, to determine what suits her best.

All shades of governments and rulers came and went. Democracy was replaced by Dictatorship and Dictatorship by Democracy. Governments formed, mostly in coalition by the winning party joining hands with one winning provincially to form a majority and set up government.

If we look at the 2008 General Elections results, it provides an enlightening picture. Pakistan Peoples Party won a total of 94 seats excluding 4 for minorities and 23 reserved for women, bringing the score up to 130 seats. Pakistan Muslim League- N bagged 95 seats, including 3 for minorities and 17 reserved for women. Pakistan Muslim League-Q secured 55 seats including 2 for minorities and 10 reserved for women. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) walked away with 26 seats, including 1 for minorities and 5 for women. Pakistan Muslim League-Fazlur Rehman Group nabbed 5 seats including one reserved for women. Pakistan Peoples Party –Sherpao Group took 1 seat as did the National Peoples Party. Baluchistan National Party-Awami, bagged a whooping 18 seats .

Thereby, a total of 226 seats were contested for and won by various parties in elections, 60 reserved for women, 10 reserved for minorities, bringing the total to 336. Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam (F) did not contest.

The picture becomes clear as the mist clears by figures quoted.

Collaboration and partnership of Muttahida Qaumi Movement becomes mandatory if the party bagging most votes needs to set up a government in Sindh. Once done,there are the constant tantrums thrown, and the provincial party, following in the footsteps of  a film heroin, falls out with her lover, then is  cajoled with sweets, flowers, and more expensive offerings. There are situations leading to a near complete break up of the love-hate relationship, only to realize, by both, near the brink ,how important the partnership is,managing to pull back and embrace- letting bygones be bygones- till the same cycle happens all over again!

Likewise, in Baluchistan, the active support of Baluchistan National Party (BNP) is mandatory to form government in province.

In Peshawar, it was Awami National Party that won 13 seats, but none from Hazara. To form government, support by ANP to the party forming the provincial government is needed.

What clearly emerges from the above scenario was that no single party is, across the board acceptable to the people of Pakistan. PPP emerges as the only party with representation in all four provinces securing half the seats in Sindh, one-third of seats in the Punjab, and roughly 30 per cent seats in NWFP and Baluchistan. PML-N, the second largest party is routed to Punjab only, with no representation in Sindh and Baluchistan, and, in NWFP, secured seats only in the non-Pushto speaking Hazara area.  Ethnicity has started playing a big role in electing candidates-a dangerous trend.

The net result of this scenario is the following of an Appeasement Policy in dealing with the parties on board by the ruling party-whichever party is in the steering position, the 2008 General Elections results used as an example only. Instead of focusing on issues that should be focused on, time , energy, funds and  resources are misdirected towards keeping the coalition partners happy and willing to keep government intact. Good governance suffers. It becomes relegated to the back burner. Insults are hurled at each other, accusations, counter accusations hold the day. Then miraculously, a ministry here, a promise there, and the sun comes out, bright and clear, till the next round!

The interests of these small pockets of seats won by local parties may,and do, differ widely on issues from that of the ruling party. In the long run, it may be the national interest that is sacrificed at the alter of Appeasement!

Who is to be blamed? The smaller parties? The ruling party? Or both?

I think it is the wrong system that is to be held responsible. So long there are smaller parties nibbling in the pie, demanding a slice, good governance will continue to suffer.

Pakistan must seriously look at changing over to a Two Party System rather than a Multi-Party System it presently is. This is something we have never tried. Something so basically, glaringly wrong in our whole approach to democracy, that that it has effected governance by whomsoever government has been in power.

Yes! It is time for those democratic infra structural changes in Pakistan.

(Yasmeen Ali is a lawyer based in Lahore. She also teaches in a University and moderates her blog Pakpotpourri2).

March 14 Rally In Beirut Seemed Like a Party

March 14 Thanks its Supporters: You Were Victorious against Arms’ Oppression and Intimidation
The March 14 General Secretariat voiced on Monday its appreciation and gratitude for the Lebanese people “who renewed their revolution aimed at achieving sovereignty, freedom, independence, and justice.”
It said in a statement: “Your commitment to these goals and your peaceful civil action has become the example adopted by Arab people in their revolts.”

“On Sunday, you were victorious against the weapons’ oppression and the policy of intimidation and terrorization,” it added.

“Lebanon after March 14, 2011 will not be the same as it was before it,” the general secretariat stressed.

“With the renewal of the Lebanese revolution, we vow to remain up to you expectations without making any concessions over them,” the statement continued.

Hundreds of thousands of March 14 supporters gathered at Beirut’s Martyrs Square on Sunday at a rally aimed at sending a message to the Hizbullah-led alliance about the people’s rejection of the party’s weapons.

Islam’s Replacement Religion–Wahhabism

The Shia genocide in Bahrain shows Islam’s replacement by Wahhabism

Related articles: LUBP Archive on Bahrain

Saudi Arabia’s army enters Bahrain to crush pro-democracy protesters

Wahhabism: The heart of darkness

By Omar Khattab

It is not the first time that the Shias of Bahrain have been subjected to untold miseries. However, it is for the first time that it appears that the ruling royal family of Bahrain, cheered and supported by the Wahhabi House of Saud of Saudi Arabia, is serious about launching a Shia holocaust in Bahrain where the Shias are in majority.

The West led by the United States has condemned human rights violations in Libya. Hillary Clinton is upset with the killing of a hundred of so Libyans, but the uncounted corpses of Shia protestors have evoked no response from the White House or the State Department. But I do not blame the United States. It operates on the principle of self-interest and the security of Israel. What is worth noting is the attitude of non-Shia Muslims all over the world. From Indonesia from one end of the world to Morocco to the other, there is no condemnation of the Shia genocide in Bahrain. The only fault of the Shias is that they are demanding their human and natural rights. They are more than 70 percent of the population of Bahrain and yet have no say in the affairs of the government. They have been reduced to the status of third-class citizens in their own country.

The overwhelming number of Bahraini soldiers and policemen are outsiders. They are comprised of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and African mercenaries who have been given Bahraini citizenship in order to reduce the Shia majority and kill those Shias who dare demand their rights. These mercenaries on their part are the kind of people who will be willing to commit any inhuman act for money.

It is not money, however, which is the main motive behind these mercenaries killing unarmed Shia men, women, and children. There is something else going on here. If you look at the politicians, human rights campaigners, journalists, and anchor persons in the Muslim world, you will find that they are either completely indifferent to the Shias of Bahrain (and elsewhere), or supporting their killers and tormentors by suppressing the facts about their plight. Why is this so? The answer is: Wahabi money. The Wahhabi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has corrupted these people through money and anti-Shia hate materials (money is involved here too). In a country like Pakistan where one Palestinian or Kashmiri killed results in mad clamoring for jihad, not a single, yes a single, voice has been raised for the Shias of Bahrain. Pakistanis in general cry hoarse claiming that Islam is the religion of peace and yet are complicit in every unimaginable and unspeakable crime. Their reaction to Salman Taseer’s assassination (and martyrdom) at the hands of an Islamofascist is one instance. The Wahabi petro-dollars have crushed Islam and now what we have is Wahabism which stands for all that is evil and vile in human nature and societal functioning.

Before his martyrdom, Imam Hussain (AS) asked: “Is there anyone on my side [i.e., on the side of truth]? Today, the Shias blood in Bahrain is asking the same question to the Sunnis of Pakistan and elsewhere. Will they show character by standing up for them?

Post Published: 22 February 2011
Author: Omar Khattab

Saudi Troops Enter Bahrain To Stop a Shia Wave of Democracy

Saudi Arabia’s army enters Bahrain to crush pro-democracy protesters

Related article: The Shia genocide in Bahrain shows Islam’s replacement by Wahhabism – by Omar Khattab

LUBP Archive on Bahrain

Pakistan army exports new mercenaries to kill Bahraini protesters

About 1,000 Saudi Arabian soldiers have reportedly entered Bahrain at the invitation of the Bahraini royal authorities in order to quell protests that have been raging there for a month.

A Saudi military source has confirmed the development to Reuters. The Saudis are reportedly in Bahrain to protect government facilities.

“About 1,000 Saudi soldiers have entered Bahrain early on Monday morning through the causeway to Bahrain,” the source told Reuters.
“They are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) force that would guard the government installations”.

The GCC is a six-member regional bloc which includes both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Reportedly, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s crown prince, formally requested the Saudi intervention.

Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Attiya, the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said that “safeguarding security and stability in one [GCC] country is a collective responsibility.”

Bahraini officials have also confirmed the story.

“Forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council have arrived in Bahrain to maintain order and security,” Nabeel al-Hamer, a former information minister and adviser to the royal court, said on his Twitter feed late on Sunday, according to Reuters.

“GCC forces will arrive in Bahrain today to take part in maintaining law and order,” wrote the Gulf Daily News, which is linked to Bahrain’s prime minister.

“Their mission will be limited to protecting vital facilities, such as oil, electricity and water installations, and financial and banking facilities.”
Bahrain’s ruling Sunni minority elite has faced relentless calls from the country’s Shiite majority to institute massive political reforms. It would appear that Bahrain’s rulers have had enough of the continuing civil disorders.

On Sunday, dozens of Bahrainis were injured after protesters shoved back police and barricaded roads.

Already, a parliament bloc appealed the king of Bahrain to impose martial law in the tiny kingdom.

The parliament bloc’s statement requested a three-month declaration of martial law and alleged that “extremist movements” were trying to disrupt the country and push it toward civil war.

The appeal also seeks a curfew and the dispatch of military units around the kingdom.

The opposition forces in Bahrain say the presence of foreign troops on its soil is tantamount to an occupation.

The Khalifa dynasty of Bahrain is close allies of the ruling al-Saud family of Saudi Arabia

Source

………

Reports emerged on March 14 that forces from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will enter Bahrain to help the Bahraini regime quell unrest. The report was published by Bahraini Alyam Newspaper (known for its close links with the ruling al-Khalifa family), and came one day after clashes occurred between Shiite protesters and police in the capital, Manama. Troops from United Arab Emirates are reportedly expected to arrive in Bahrain March 14. Al Arabiya reported that Saudi forces have already entered Bahrain, but these claims have yet to be officially confirmed by the Bahraini regime. The only announcement so far came from Nabil al-Hamar, the former information minister and adviser to the royal family, who has written on Twitter that the Arab forces arrived in Bahrain.

An unnamed Saudi official also said on March 14 that more than 1,000 Saudi troops from the Shield of Island entered Bahrain on late March 13, al-Quds reported, citing AFP. Meanwhile, Bahraini State News Agency reported that The Independent Bloc (a parliamentary bloc of the Bahraini parliament) asked Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to enforce martial law to contain the unrest.

These reports suggest foreign intervention in Bahrain, or at least the possibility that the Bahraini military is taking over the security reins. Such moves mean the regime is getting increasingly concerned with Shiite unrest, which does not seem to be subsiding despite dialogue calls from Bahraini Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa. The ongoing unrest is exacerbated by the split between Bahrain’s Shiite movement, which became clearer during protests on March 11. The more hardline faction of the Shiite movement, led by the Wafa and al-Haq blocs, has been increasing the tension on the streets in the hopes of stalling the talks between the Shiite al-Wefaq-led coalition’s negotiations with the regime. Military intervention from GCC countries means the situation is increasingly untenable for the regime. The paradox the Bahraini regime faces is that it cannot contain the unrest while trying to kick off talks with al-Wefaq. Al-Wefaq finds itself in a difficult position, since it risks losing ground against hardliners if it appears too close to the regime while Shiite protesters are beaten by the police.

The Bahraini regime has used a military option before. On Feb 17, the military deployed immediately after a police crackdown in Manama’s Pearl Roundabout and was able to calm down the situation for a while by encircling the area with tanks. If Bahrain indeed has called Saudi intervention this time, the implication is that the Bahraini military is not confident in its ability to contain the unrest now. Riyadh’s decision to send forces to Manama could be taken to this end, since wider spread of Shiite unrest from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia would aggravate the already existing protests among Saudi Arabia’s own Shiite population. Saudi military intervention in Bahrain is not unprecedented. Saudi Arabia sent troops to Bahrain in 1994 when Riyadh determined that Shiite unrest threatened the al-Khalifa regime.

Regional implications of the unrest in Bahrain became more obvious when U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Manama on March 12 and urged the Bahraini regime to implement bold reforms. Gates said Iranian interference would become a greater possibility if Bahrain fails to do so. While Bahrain and Saudi Arabia seem to be coordinating to avoid that possibility, it is not without risks. Leader of hardliner al-Haq movement, Hassan Mushaima, who is believed to be increasing the Shiite unrest in Bahrain by Iranian support, said on Feb. 28 that Saudi intervention in Bahrain would give Iran the same right to intervene as well. A scenario of regional Sunni Arab forces cracking down on Shia would apply pressure on Iran to respond more overtly, but its military ability is limited and it is a very risky option given the U.S. 5th fleet is stationed in Bahrain. As of this writing, there is no sign that Iranian military is taking steps toward that end, however, the situation on the ground could escalate if Shia in Bahrain ramp up demonstrations.

Source: Stratfor, March 14, 2011

Bahrain opposition: Gulf move is war declaration

By REUTERS, Mar 14, 2011

MANAMA: Bahraini opposition groups including the largest Shiite Muslim party Wefaq said on Monday that any intervention by Gulf Arab forces on the Gulf island is a declaration of war and occupation.

The comments came in response to reports that Bahrain had called in forces from Gulf neighbors to put down unrest by the Shiite majority protesting over what they say is discrimination by the royal family.

Source: Arab News

Good morning World, Time for Our Wake-Up Call

Good morning World…

“They lie to make money (profit motive) for themselves and/or their corporate and military pals, who (in turn) return the favor (give support) in some form or other. They lie to not alarm the public, especially in instances wherein not much can be done to stop some form of damage. They lie to push forward an agenda wherein they don’t care about whatever happens to some group of people (i.e., ones in coal mining communities, near nuclear plants and gas fracking operations, in war zones near oil fields, etc.) as long as the corpocrats who own the businesses can, literally and figuratively, make a killing on behalf of self-enriching economic gains. … Some of these people, of course, love the power and control affiliated with such operations while others consider the loss experienced by some (such as those near nuclear plants) a reasonable exchange for some good (i.e., electricity provision) for the social whole. … For example, what would happen if the American people were told that they need to cut back on energy use (of which around 78 % is provided by fossil fuels), not use oil and so on? … If the public were told the truth about nuclear energy and nuclear bombs, the resultant backlash would be considerable. So it’s better, from the power elites’ point of view, to keep everyone dumb and ignorant for the most part. … No amount of radiation is safe. It is a ticking time bomb in all of us. Yet some people are more prone to cancers, etc., than others. For example, some of the babies born in DU laden ME are okay or, seemingly, okay at birth. … Some people survived (until old age) being somewhat near Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and other nuclear troubles while others did not. … Imagine what would happen were the Japanese government to tell everyone to leave Japan from Tokyo northward? Where would they go? How would they be evacuated? What about food and water? What about insurance for irradiated properties and loss of businesses? What would be the effect on the worldwide economy? (Many major businesses are closed in Japan now, such as the worldwide main Toyota plant that was somewhat near one of the hydrogen blast points.) … Imagine the pandemonium and assorted impacts if the U.S. west coast people were told the truth about their nuclear plants on fault lines or about a coming radiation cloud from Japan? … So the governments lie and lie again. Big business lies and lies again. The public is just fodder and always has been. .. It is, in large measure, a way to keep everything (including their plans and policies) going as usal. Nothing should, according to the corpocratic rulers, disrupt overall economic and social agendas except as minimally as possible.”

Peace and hugs,

E.