Posted on August 1, 2007
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Politics, Society
62 Comments
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62 responses to “ANP-PkMAP Alliance and the Rise of Regional Politics in Pakistan”

  1. Watan Aziz says:

    Tip O’Neil, the legendary Speaker from Boston, famously said, ‘all politics is local’.

    And local also means ethnic. And there is nothing wrong with ethnic politics.

    No matter what you will say, anthropologist will tell you, that the flavor of region changes about every 40 to 70 miles. The people, the language, the clothing, the food. It is fact of humanity, accept it and work with it.

    It is also difficult to compare Pakistan with any other country, because of its size, population density and the (lack of ) infrastructure. Especially, with a developed country.

    What compounds the problems are bad models of governance. Good governance in a democracy is a three part problem. Effective and efficient administrative units. Informed electorate and good leadership.

    The effective administration in Pakistan is hampered by top down control instead of bottom up mandate. Power at each level is amassed and concentrated and is inherently subject to over-rule by the superior level. One telephone call can change the outcome of the file. Too many people go to the top to arrange that phone call. A recipe for corruption.

    Additionally, the local ethnic balance needs an effective oversight by a national mechanism.

    Provincial Civil Service (PCS) was a good idea run into ground by Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP). Where the PCS should have been ascendant, the CSP took over the slots. And then they ran it like viceroys, their personal domains. And even after the “reforms of 1973”, the core level continues to function as it did before the reorganization. The break up into various administrative units was just a change in the process, not the control nor the mind set.

    What should have happened is that PCS system runs the local show and CSP system would augment that the national goals and objectives work effectively. Thus the local tehsildar or thanaydar does not create his own fiefdom or an enclave. The top slots in each of the provinces and at each level should have never been with CSP, but PCS officers. In reality, the reverse.

    This is why it is so critical to improve the local courts and at the same time, take the federal and provincial system down to the local level. Create tiers of administrative units, local, provincial and federal.

    Sultan Musharraf missed the opportunity to fix this. He came close but did not understand the complexity of the system because he was trained in the top-down system. Or perhaps did not have the desire to fix it. He needed the cronies to keep him in power.

    If the administrative units and systems are laid out properly, then the political process is not has only one mandate: to carry out the will of the people. The two go hand in hand.

    The second part of the problem, the informed public is a serious issue. Take the bill for the 18th amendment, approved by the NA and pending approval by Senate. I have not been able to find an complete copy of the bill anywhere.

    Worse, the press banner lines are at best misleading. The News has the worst headline. And I suspect most people are commenting on things they have not read.

    Amazingly, in this proposed amendment, there is a provision of Right to Information. And yet, this very information about the proposed amendment is not available. So much for the rule of law.

    People in Pakistan are kept in the dark. Media, both print and electronic, a willing accomplice.

    Finally, the leadership. Well, that is process of trial and error as well as the diversity of resources. Pakistan keeps getting stunted on the trial and error process. Not enough errors of trials have sunk in because of the gaps. People like muscles, lose ability to remember the errors with lack of flexing. And diversity will come where there are more points of entry into the process.

    Miles to go before we sleep.

  2. Owais Mughal says:

    Usman thanks for your comments here.