Flaws in US perceptions of Pakistan’s ‘democracy’

Published: July 13, 2011

The writer is a member of the MQM’s Rabita Committee and was nazim of Karachi from 2005-10

In the past five years, time and again, the armed forces of Pakistan and the US administration have both said that they are committed to supporting democracy in Pakistan. And, according to them, the current regime and the political system in Pakistan does fulfil democratic norms. In order to support and encourage the current so-called democratic system, the US has provided $1 billion over and above the $1.5 billion that is to be given to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar Bill (of course, this is notwithstanding the current suspension of $800 million in military aid).

A rationale for releasing this aid is that the US president has to certify every year that all the attributes of democracy exist in Pakistan. One should not have any doubt about the good intentions of both the Pakistani establishment and the US administration for democracy in Pakistan, but allow me to differ very respectfully from the concept of democracy which the US has about Pakistan.

Democracy in Pakistan is not of the people, by the people or for the people. On the contrary, it has been dominated for the last 63 years by 35-40 feudal families, big landowners and industrialist families. Pakistan’s political parties are mostly dynastic in nature and only family members make it to parliament, or become ministers or attain the post of prime minister. And, in most cases, the situation of ordinary people in their constituencies does not change for the better.

Mr Altaf Hussain (founder and leader of the party that I am a member of) calls this a game of musical chairs, and argues that this should not be mistaken for democracy. This rotten and corrupt political system will again cultivate dictatorship in the country, so much so that people will get tired of it and welcome any change, even if it is unconstitutional. The US seems to be happy with what is clearly a shallow and unreformed democracy in Pakistan.

Can the honourable US President Barack Hussein Obama imagine cities being run without any elected local government in his democratic country? Can he imagine his democratic country having rulers who take billions from banks and don’t ever return the money, and yet claim to be loyal leaders of the people?

Can he ask the rulers of so-called democratic Pakistan whether they know anything about the problems faced by the general public regarding the delivery and provision of basic services and civic facilities? Or how so-called democratic rulers have allowed the holding of elections in some parts of the country where women, by agreement of all main political parties in that area, are forbidden from casting their votes? Can Mr Obama imagine a federal government that does not delegate its powers and authority to the states or local counties/districts in a democratic country?

As for the military, General Kayani’s efforts to restore democracy and support the current regime for the last three-plus years is well-known. However, the current military leadership is not going to last forever. The circumstances that Pakistan presently finds itself in could give rise to a situation where the military may have no choice but to intervene. And, assuming that the intervention takes place, what if the military general has a mindset and ambitions like General Zia? One can only imagine the impact that this would have on Pakistan and on the world.

To prevent this from happening, we need to listen to what Mr Altaf Hussain is saying, in particular his call for the abolition of feudalism through drastic land reforms in Pakistan and a system where ordinary Pakistanis can hope to be elected to parliament. Complete autonomy should be given to the provinces without any interference from the federal government, and each province should have full rights to its wealth and full financial and administrative powers. This system should also be put in place in Fata.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2011.

Reader Comments (60)

  • Alsahdiq
    Jul 13, 2011 - 9:09PM

    Nothing will change for the people until and unless people themselves will be prepared to come forward to install a new and just system, which is ‘peoples’ democracy’. Such a system can be evolved only by the participation of people by means of organising ‘co-operative collectives’ in every locality. This is the only way people can organise the means to have ‘true and effective representation’.
    By coming together people will be able to be vigilant and observant of how their hard-earned tax money is being used or misused. Peoples’ power thus gained through thousands of ‘co-operative collectives’ all over the country will ensure that the people can take corrective actions through their representatives and avoid any adversity to the interests of people at large.
    Charity begins at home. So the initiative to organise co-operative collectives has to come from the people at large from the localities where they live.
    If people fail to make a move in this direction they will certainly remain slaves of the few, as people do throughout the world. The so-called democracy, so much lauded and propagated is in fact a sophisticated method of enforcing slavery upon the people through their own votes.
    So the solution to all the problems faced by the people is in fact in their own collective hands. If they will ever be prepared to come forward to come together, they will certainly start solving those problems, but if on the other hand, they want to leave it for others to do it for them, then it is very likely that it will never happen. It never happened in the last six decades.
    We have tried all the failed systems. What we all hesitate to try is the tried and tested system. The system which is guarnteed to make people , collectively winners. Do people want to be winners?

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  • Jul 13, 2011 - 9:10PM

    Dear Mr. Mayor… you probably did not discuss the US perception at all… you did not quote any US statements or referred to any at all.

    Your article does not state what US should do… It’s good when you say we don’t want dynastic politics… but you did not mention what you want US to consider in this regard.

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  • ghazni
    Jul 13, 2011 - 9:36PM

    I agree with you that democracy in Pakistan is not strong. You have excellently elaborated the fact but failed to discuss its main reasons. Why will not be democracy weak in a state where Political Parties are quick to resort to violence, rather than to dialogue, when they find themselves in political wilderness, to make a case for their petty interests. Situation in Karachi is right before.

    Why will not be democracy weak in a sates where political parties dance to the tune of democracy, even if it does not like it, when it is in government and starts asking for military intervention when it is ousted due to certain solid reasons. Along with that if we take into perspective talk shows debates of our political leaders then the picture becomes even more bleak. Our leader demonstrating utter disregard for morality and democratic principles come on abusing each other when they are called to act before camera.

    Being a western trained and progressive non-feudal political leader I hope you will struggle on your part from your party platform to extricate the weaknesses. It will be a great leap forward towards democracy. Thanks

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  • Husein Ali Khan
    Jul 13, 2011 - 9:50PM

    I tend to agree with the views of the ex-mayor.
    Democracy in Pakistan is flawed

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  • Cautious
    Jul 13, 2011 - 9:58PM

    Despite the common belief in Pakistan — American’s are not idiots and probably know more about what kind of govt Pakistan has and who actually controls it than most Pakistani’s. The issue is whether you get a chance to vote or not. The unfortunate reality is that you vote for the same corrupt and inept people every time and allow your political, military, and religious leaders to keep you focused on the “boogeyman” rather than resolving your own problems. If you don’t demand good and effective govt why should anyone else?

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  • Imran
    Jul 13, 2011 - 10:23PM

    Dear mayour, why you submitted this column after your party completely out of government alliance

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  • ali
    Jul 13, 2011 - 11:16PM

    What about the parties killing innocent people in kararachi?are they democrativ?
    Mr mayor altaf hussein has many brilliand ideas on how should democracy work in pakistan but he couldnt stop ethnic cleansing in karachi? Feudalism is a menace accepted bit killing in the name of democracy is also not a lesser crime. Us should also take that fact into account.

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  • Jul 13, 2011 - 11:41PM

    Good pitch for local governance institutions in Pakistan. Some of the differences between US democracy and Pakistani democracy are very well highlighted, but I fail to see any substantive connection between feudal domination of Pakistan and the political situation of rural areas in terms of access and endowment.
    The notion of a future military high command having a Zia-ist perception is a potently terrifying one at that; I fell out of my seat at that one…

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  • Shahid Khan
    Jul 13, 2011 - 11:46PM

    Shehla Raza, Faisal Abaidi, Jahangir Badar, Maula Bakhsh Chandio, …I can go on with 1000 names of top PPP leaders who still do not own their own house or a car. Which world do you live Mr. Mayor? You are a local council level leader, better do not get involved in international politics and policy affairs of state, Sir.

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  • Fahad Raza
    Jul 13, 2011 - 11:51PM

    @Muhammad Yasin:
    I think what been said in the first para is the gist for what you are searching for that American are OK with only just face change when it comes to Pakistani Politics. If lets say What if religious parties come in to power will American support for democracy remain..???
    No is the answer whether you like it or not.
    Its has been seen in the 1997- 1999 they were reluctant to be interested or assist in fact they stopped the delivery of Jets we paid for and gave Wheat instead. before many years earlier even if we were ally in cold war during 1970s the supported Zia regime not Bhutto’s even if he was a popular public leader.
    American are only interested for their own. Not for the people of Pakistan in general.
    Former Mayor is Right in his assessment .Americans also brokered the deal of NRO b/w Musharraf and PPP for continuation of their designed policies for Pakistanis that’s why we got landed with a convict after a commando.

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  • shahid Kinnare
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:16AM

    Niece article from member of Gangster of Karachi. They are trying to become mainstream, good omen.

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  • perpetual sucker
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:32AM

    All politicians, Democratic or not always harp on what the US has given Pakistan. If it was all that much we would see it. All we see is weapons, spies and lawyers. I guess the army is right. Most of 800 million $ cut-off was salaries of the FIRED trainers.

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  • Grace
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:41AM

    Maybe you need to refresh yourself Mr. Ex Mayor and remind yourself that your leader Mr. Altaf Hussain is worse than the feudals and others since he is a wanted criminal living in the UK. Moreover, your leader has openly spoken against Pakistan when he visited India saying that his followers made a mistake of moving to Pakistan. If that is what Mr. Altaf and you believe, why do you bother with Pakistani politics at all?

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  • Zulfiqar Ahmed
    Jul 14, 2011 - 1:45AM

    I do agree on most of the issues you mentioned in your article, however change is not going to come overnight just because your leader (i also agree with him) said so. Your were part of this government and the previous government yet you failed to achieve anything significant in terms of political and social reforms in Pakistan.
    Another issue (probable) with your party is the roots where it grew up. Your party came into existence on the pretext of ethnicity (mohajirs) and even though the party has changed its stance, that label has not been washed away from your party. Personally I don’t give a damn, who comes to power in Pakistan, as long as they are loyal to our country and are not corrupt. For this MQM has to go a long way to educate and make people aware of this. It always take a long time for a change to take over but it will eventually come in Pakistan (inshallah).

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  • Adnan
    Jul 14, 2011 - 1:51AM

    @Grace

    Your comment shows how little you know about Altaf Hussain and feudals in general. While Altaf Hussain may be an unsavory character, feudals are a cancerous disease to Pakistan, and it is because of them the same animals keep on getting voted into power.

    @Cautious

    Reading a Pakistani newspaper doesn’t make you an expert in all things Pakistan, and your comment reflects that.

    As to Americans knowing more than Pakistanis about the type of govt in Pak, this part of your comment is laughable. Yes the policy makers might know more, but that’s because they know that supporting such a corrupt govt is in their interests (recall the wikileaks file where an American official was stated saying that Zardari was a ‘fool’ but that was an advantage for them…unlike Musharraf, who was seen as a threat and was forced to allow BB and Nawaz in the country to contest the elections).

    As for the general American populace, it’s not far-fetched to say that a majority thinks the world revolves around them and hence don’t really care about other countries (to be fair, that could go for any other country, which is why i find your post condescending).

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  • Salman Orangiwala
    Jul 14, 2011 - 1:58AM

    @Shahid Khan who are you trying to make a fool out of ?

    Shehla Raza owns one of the priciest apartment ( the one in Gulshan she used to live )
    in Karachi , this is just the one we are aware of . You forgo to mention her husband ( a rural Sindh PPP Wadera ).

    So correct your aparture .

    @ Grace , oh such a non-graceful comment .

    If Altaf Hussain is a “criminal ” then hpw come the most literat lot from this city of Karachi votes for him ? Please eschew to publish your distorted viewpoint and if so sincere , try talking into the Baloch Rebels who not only are openly demanding for a separate home land , and ,but also have taken up arms for the purpose .

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  • Bilal
    Jul 14, 2011 - 2:24AM

    Respected mayor,
    So when is mr altaf hussain coming to Pakistan to face criminal and murder charges

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  • Jul 14, 2011 - 3:42AM

    Some points to consider before even beginning to think your opinion is worth counting:
    1) What are the perceptions of US regarding Pakistan’s democracy?
    2) If politics is dominated by handful of feudals by past 63 years, do you think that Governor-Generalship of Jinnah, Nazimuddin, Ghulam Mohammed and Mirza were also dominated by the same faction? If not, why emotionally blackmail by painting the whole history as bleak?
    3) Is democracy only limited to US? Why not compare with democracies of, let’s say UK, eastern and western European nations, Malaysia, South Africa, Indonesia etc?
    4) Is your general public perception limited to Karachi and Hyderabad?
    5) Three provinces in Pakistan had immediately opted for Commissionaire system and Sindh did not because of MQMs opposition. Do you think Sindh is more developed than Punjab? If local government system was so effective, why would three provinces right away choose to revert back to the British leftover system that you consider corrupt and ineffective?
    6) Last but not the least, why this opinion came AFTER MQM left the same so-called Democracy? If it was such a sham, why join it in the first place?

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  • asma riaz@london
    Jul 14, 2011 - 4:28AM

    Mr Kamal, so finally you did address your masters in frustration!! Wah! wah! It was you and your party that was working hand in hand with the dictator Musharraff, it was you and your party that was in Power on 12 May when so many citizens were brutally killed on the streets of karachi and whilst you were in power your government laid back and did nothing to catch the murderers. You seemed so childish and desperate when you were heard on tape telling Bill Clinton that Nawaz Sharif has a beard in his stomach! That’s cheap man. Mr Kamal your party is a mourning party, like an infant-the moment milk bottle is put in the infant’s mouth he/she stops crying!! By the way it would be a blessing, honestly, if America does not sanction any money, it’ll give us a chance to stand on our own feet!! I’m not being emotional but pragmatic. Except for the part where he said that ‘they came lutay putay’ the rest of the speech was perrrrrrfect.

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  • Jim Beam
    Jul 14, 2011 - 5:53AM

    Errrr democracy doesn’t just spring out of thin air, it is a gradual process taking decades sometimes centennials, to strengthen institutions to the point where one could say it is a ‘fair’ democracy representing the peoples interests. And you cannot compare American democracy to Pakistani democracy Mr ex-Mayor due to the vast differences in the history of the two nations. Don’t forget we just got out of the clutches of colonialism just 6 decades ago, and we’ve spent half of that under an undemocratic system. It will take another 6 decades to strengthen our institutions – it just doesn’t happen overnight and the only things that do happen overnight are usually flimsy and unsustainable steps forward followed by two steps backward. Hence, trust democracy; try to create awareness among the general populace of the problems we as a nation face and any party that provides the right solutions will eventually attract the most voters – but for that to happen, we need successive democratic governments – and then some more democratic governments!

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  • ashwin
    Jul 14, 2011 - 6:21AM

    Why America or for that matter any country worry about Pakistan’s plight, if it’s not in their interest.Sir you as a leader of Pakistan should be in a position to lead your people into a better future.

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  • My Name is Khan
    Jul 14, 2011 - 7:37AM

    While the MQM certainly has its flaws, and don’t get me wrong, my family is from Peshawar and not Mohajirs, I do think it is the only party not riddled with support for terrorists and the one that has the most educated membership. There are certain unacceptable things that the MQM has done and it has to be realistic that it cannot keep a stronghold on Karachi forever given the massive influx of Pashtuns but it has some valid points.

    The former mayor makes a good point. Our democracy is a farce. It’s comical to see the author talk about Gen. Kiyani’s “support for democracy”. If this is the armed forces’ most pro-democracy person, I shudder to think of the depths Pakistan has yet to plunge into. I thought it can’t get any worse!

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  • Analyzer
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:15AM

    Does Mr. Kamal WANT the army to take over now that his party is out of the government? If democracy is so flawed and skewed, why were these defenders of democracy part of the government all these years? I respect and appreciate all the work Mr. Kamal has done for Karachi, but sadly this seems like a case of sour grapes.

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  • Ammar
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:26AM

    @Adnan:

    If you are an MQM sympathizer, and at the same time an anti American, and if you really think that America considered Musharraf as an enemy and forced him to allow fools like BB and Sharif back to Pakistan then there are contradictions, because your leader (Ex-mayor) is trying to seek help from Amreeka Bahdur and trying desperately to make it understand that MQM is the only hope for them to keep a good control over Pakistan.

    Try and be clearer in your views, because if you support a fascist party then you can not criticize a democracy dominated by feudal, since feudalism is a mindset and it ultimately transforms into Fascism. It is an excellent suggestion for America to suspend civilian aid because that will push the state to collect utility bills from your leaders and bring vast retail sector in the tax net.

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  • Nasser
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:40AM

    What is this new obbsession of MQM against US? Mayor Sahib, I am sorry to say that it took 10 years for your party to rebuild its image, but unfortunately, it is lapsing back to what it was in the 1990s.

    I remember your great campaign of ‘I Own Karachi,’ but sir, MQM today is setting fire to the same city.

    First get your own house in order before pointing fingers at the US.

    Thanks. Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:57AM

    @ Syed Mustapha Kamal, When you speak I feel that someone with sense of responsibility
    and with power of reasoning has spoken.Many a times I think of you as a misfit in any political party that thrives on ethnic provocation.The cold war changed the american thinking
    on democracy in the developing nations.In their struggle against Socialism in order to keep
    Capitalism alive they propagated the word Democracy without any sense of integrity. To them a single strong leader who will sign any documented presented by them blindly is the
    true democratic leader of that nation in the Third World. Understand as long as President Zardari plays his cards according to the rules set by the poker committee in WashingtonDC?
    No General of Pakistan will be incited by State Department nor Bush Center to march with butt and bayonet towards the Parliament or Presidency. This time if orders are given to the
    troops it would be on urgent request of the ordinary public being used as fodder by political
    leaders.

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  • ishaq
    Jul 14, 2011 - 11:12AM

    you should bring democracy in MQM first

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  • Safeer
    Jul 14, 2011 - 11:39AM

    Just a simple question… why bother about US perception… is Democracy in Pakistan a US problem, or OURS…. It is our problem, and you should direct such writings at the people of Pakistan, instead of the US President. Do we need Obama’s nod for democracy in Pakistan?

    And it is interesting to hear about dictatorships and fuedals from YOU… MQM remained an ally of the dictator just recently, and then it allied itself with PPP (with political dynasty). MQM enjoyed the fruits of being allies of ruling party. After leaving the ruling coalition, it has suddenly dawned upon you that democracy is not perfect in Pakistan.
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  • abbas
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:00PM

    Good one Mustafa, this is wht we expect from an educated politician, creating public awareness is the key to revolution we all look forward to. A few suggestions though:

    Considering MQM is going through initial generation of leaders, ensure you guys do not start following the same practice of family politics in Pakistan. Keep going the way you are. This is one distinction you have from others and ensure you hold back to it what ever happens.
    Join hands with others like you. Imran Khan is one example a bit crazy but relatively honest and a self made person.
    Keep working at the grass root level atleast in Karachi / Hyderabad and urban areas of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Blithe
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:12PM

    Why is this being addressed to the US?
    How low can one get!!!

    Do you know that the US was the biggest
    supporter of Musharraf?

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  • mazen
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:18PM

    This is an indisputable fact, no one would disagree that the standard of democracy in Pakistan is not at par as compare to western countries. This kind of democracy is in Americas best national interest. America wants dictator more than a prevalence of democracy, US is supporting dictators in more than dozens of countries that is a plausible evidence enough to corroborate my argument. To bring the culture of democracy in Pakistan and anywhere else also is not a revolutionary, but an evolutionary process, no one can bring the culture of democracy in 5 or 6 year or more. The writer rightly said about the reasons of our undemocratic culture and allege feudalism for this quandary, but MQM only stress in on eradication of feudalism, but don’t quote the condition of education and economy of Pakistan.

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  • FactCheck
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:23PM

    Everything in Pakistan is controlled by Feudal families and the militray hence, the country is in pathetic shape.

    Keep on doing the same things over and over expecting different result. All you do is blame US, India and rest of the world except your all weather friend China for all your troubles.

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  • parvez
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:41PM

    You have to realise that you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

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  • s.g. Jilanee
    Jul 14, 2011 - 1:27PM

    @Shahid Khan:
    Faisal Abedi without a home or a car? Which planet are you from? How then does Mr. Abedi manage to festoon all electric poles, and put up large hoardings all over the city in Karachi with religious slogans. Sure that costs a fair packet of money which a homeless and car-less person cannot afford

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  • saeed
    Jul 14, 2011 - 2:04PM

    @Shahid Khan…seriously tell me are you living in this world ..mean are you living in Pakistan…how on earth can you lie like that about the assets of people you have mentioned from PPP…faisal abadi the personal chamchaa of zardari has a very big house in karachi with big business..for the last 1 and half year he is living in PC hotel Islamabad..and says that he gives the rent from his own pocket..if you want I can send you his interview..I dont know may be you are from that executive class of PPP who enjoys from there or corruption ro you are just an ignorant jiyala…shame on you for such lies…all the names you mentioned are the richest in there class..thats another thing that now days all the politicians don’t name there houses, cars and other properties majority keep them on the names of there front agents or relatives..who you fooling mister..people know every thing…

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  • grinz09
    Jul 14, 2011 - 4:10PM

    @shahid Kinnare:
    Sour grapes!

    @asma riaz@london:
    You seem to forget the carnage and Mayhem in Karachi and all over the country when BB was murdered on 27, 28, 29 December. In Karachi itself over 150 were killed. How very convenient!!! Very pragmatic!!

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  • salman
    Jul 14, 2011 - 5:21PM

    desperate cry of a man dying to get his seat back. i can feel for you

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  • Hmmm
    Jul 14, 2011 - 5:30PM

    who write it? I found no abuse – cant be Musatafa Kamal himself

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  • Abbas from the US
    Jul 14, 2011 - 6:24PM

    I started reading the article with a completely open mind. I am out of touch with current political personalities on a local level, and was not aware that Mr Mustapha Kemal has earlier been the mayor of Karachi. Although I was born in Karachi before partition and with a Gujrati mother tongue, if I was in karachi today would I be able to relate to the fascist impulses that the MQM has demonstrated thru the last several decades including the May 12 tragedy? Probably not.
    As Jim Beam in his comment says that democracy to flourish sometimes takes decades and sometimes centuries. The process of attempts at democracy is off and on in Pakistan for the last several decades. As for families dominating the democratic process,even an evolved democracy like America has its own share of the Bushes, Clintons, the ex speaker of the congress Nancy Polesi (whose father was a mayor in Baltimore) or the ex Governer of California who was married to a neice of the Kennedy’s, a political family in its own right, to name a few. So when the US adminstration speaks about democracy and Pakistan they are well aware of the limitations, of an evolving democratic process. That in turn is derailed again and again by the military mullah convergence of interests. Even the Judicial process is evolving and the balance between the executive branches and judicial activism is in needs of checks.
    So what is the superior democratic process that Mr Mustapha Kemal is trying to lay claim to? Or is it simply a cry in the wilderness of one’s own choosing?

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  • Abbas
    Jul 14, 2011 - 6:51PM

    I like Mustafa Kamal but I hate his political Party. People please stop supporting MQM. If Mustafa Kamal is no honest then he should leave MQM as well. Recommend

  • Jul 14, 2011 - 6:59PM

    why so much talk of the armed forces from the speeches of MQM, these days? Whats happening, whats the stage being prepared for?

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  • lida
    Jul 14, 2011 - 7:38PM

    @parvez:
    who is baking cake????
    And why wasn’t I invited???

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  • lida
    Jul 14, 2011 - 7:41PM

    @salman:
    He proved himself to be an excellent mayor.
    So no one can dispute that.

    man was regarded as one of the best mayors by FP magazine.
    give him credit for wha the did .

    We cant be maligning people like Edhi, Imran Khan, Quaid-e-Azam , Mustafa kamal just because we can make political statement.

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  • lida
    Jul 14, 2011 - 7:42PM

    @Imran:
    whats wrong with writing an article after your party resigns????

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  • Nasir
    Jul 14, 2011 - 8:04PM

    surprised….terrorist talk democracy

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  • Waseem
    Jul 14, 2011 - 8:06PM

    Good Article Mustafa Kamal,
    I agree but as you may notice some of the comments, Pakistani people do not like to see an honest man, reason being because they themselves are corrupt, they want to have slaves (poor people) working for them, they want to committ crime and pay the police to get out, they want zardari’s and nawaz sharifs and shujaats.. They want to be called names as long as they get money and as long as they have power within their mind.

    I am not MQM member or anything but i have to salute you guys for having an ordinary mans voice in the parliment. You know in one hadith hazoor pbuh said that “Jaisey quoam ho ge waisa leader” therefore they deserve zardari and nawaz .. they don’t deserve a good leader.

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  • fahad ullah dar
    Jul 14, 2011 - 9:33PM

    Frankly speaking in ma oponion the flaws are not in US perception ,infact the harsh reality which we as a nation hardly accept is that there are some serious problems with our own political system and parties,criminal incompetence,lack of capability,and last but not the least lack of tolerance among political players is our biggest problem and hurdle in running democracy.The writer seems to be lacking de understanding of US policy towards Pak which has nothing to do with democracy as it has always been based on their(USA) own intrests.They supported ZIA against USSR and then another dictator Gen mushraf whom MQM served for almost 8 years.Instead of giving Obama few adices i would like to ask Mr Kamal only only question Can they both PPP and MQM make peace in Karachi leaving aside their petty politics ? ? ?.Lastly his comments on Feudal political system and his fears about returning of another gen like ZIA ,with all due respect to him It was Altaf bahi himself who nominated Zardari as president,it is ur Party who has been in power in this system for last 15 years and if my memory allows me again it is your own party MQM ready for another ”Nikkah” with the political Childrens of ZIA the Noon Leauge….So whom to blame ? ? ? ?

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  • Jul 15, 2011 - 1:54AM

    Niece article from member of Gangster of Karachi. They are trying to become mainstream, good omen.

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  • Sayda
    Jul 15, 2011 - 4:07PM

    You’re asking us all to listen to what an extortionist has to say about democracy?

    This is a perfect example of the irony in Pakistan. Our politicians say good things (I agree with what you’re saying Mr Kamal) yet they are the biggest violators of the rights of their people i.e Altaf Hussain. They use real-politik and play silly games.

    Yesterday for example, when the MQM had ‘their city’ up in flames, as retailiation for Zulfiqar Mirza’s comments, who suffered the most? People who couldn’t go to work, people who use the public transport system, people who live in the areas around Mr Mirza’s house. And then Mr Hussain (at 8 pm out time, not London time) told the people to stop this madness, making him look like a hero of course. Why didn’t he say something earlier?

    Politicians, all of you, just manipulate your people. The only institutions I would even consider building my trust in is the health and education sector, because it would be easier to weed out corruption in those sectors, and Pakistanis would benefit greatly from them.

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  • Usman
    Jul 15, 2011 - 7:18PM

    This is hypocrisy, Altaf Hussain calls it “musical chairs”, then why on earth was he a party to this system for so long? for money or for power? Also if feudalism is bad because feudals oppress people and make their lives difficult then we all know what MQM gets up to in Karachi every now and then. Stop fooling us Pakistanis, our silence does not mean we are stupid….

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  • mkd
    Jul 15, 2011 - 7:45PM

    Democracy cannot flourish let alone survive in a society where collectivism rules.
    Every one and every thing that’s different from us is “H……..”

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  • Jul 15, 2011 - 8:17PM

    Does democracy really exists in Pakistan at all? Our govt all performs one man show and not a democratic entity, that’s why the people of Pakistan look for Army and then all the mess starts and leaves Pakistan i an abyss of chaos and hopelessness.

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  • Ali
    Jul 15, 2011 - 8:35PM

    “US has provided $1 billion over and above the $1.5 billion that is to be given to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar Bill “

    Pakistan got $178 million last year, not 1 billion. America wants to force pakistan into cutting education budjet and increasing military spending, so that it call fill the vaccum to create its own properganda schools and NGOs.Aid to pakistan is all through American NGOS with 80% over heads.so pakistan gets hardly any aid

    as for the issue of local governance, that is a domestic issue not one for America to dictate

    “autonomy should be given to the provinces “

    The 18th amendment has already done that, so stop complaining . Your attemps to make Karachi a City State will not work

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  • Askari
    Jul 16, 2011 - 4:31AM

    I agree with you Mr Kamal. Pakistani nation’s mind is under the command of feudal lords and these so called democratic parties and we can see this in the comments of people under your article. These feudal lords continuously fooling the people of Pakistan and our innocent people are still in having faith in these Spawns of Satan. And the worst thing is that people are criticising MQM without knowing you people. I slut Mr Altaf Hussain on his endless effort for the people of Pakistan. I wish people do research before criticising anyone.

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  • Sayda
    Jul 16, 2011 - 1:49PM

    Ah yes, how will democracy flourish when we don’t give education enough importance. I think we need to secure our borders by befriending all our neighbours, so that there isn’t such a huge security threat all the time. Maybe in that case we’d be able to allocate money to where its most needed, the education and health sector.

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  • Adnan
    Jul 16, 2011 - 1:55PM

    After reading the comment that people of Pakistan has written my belief that we are getting what we deserve is getting more stronger because we are still defending feudal system, political parties whom we know are corrupt and doesn’t represent common public. This behavior is the root cause of our deterioration we are getting from bad to worse and still bashing each other. I am not a keen supporter of any political party but I like some political leaders like Javed Hashmi, Mustafa Kamal, Imran Khan but they are not in majority in their respective party except Imran Khan but he is not tested yet. I give you an example of my office colleague who is a PPP supporter and I asked him why he support this party he said because their local leader have given us a tractor from govt scheme which I don’t think they deserve as they are a well of family and also they have got Watan card for flood victims despite they are not the victims of flood, it proves the point that we prefer self interest over national or larger interest of society and act for our own vested interest which in the end damage us at macro level which we don’t care about it. We have to accept collective responsibilty for this embarrassing situation of Pakistan because we are not concerned about Pakistan we are more concerned what we will get and if it continue in future than I am afraid we will no longer be recognized as one nation?????????

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  • Sana Imran
    Jul 16, 2011 - 2:07PM

    @Salman Orangiwala:
    I agree with what you said…I somehow know Jahangir badar well…. Recommend

  • fauzia kazi shah
    Jul 17, 2011 - 10:27PM

    Mustafa Kamal Pasha should be the next prime minister of Pakistan and he must establish a real democratic system like the US with equal rights and opportunities, with checks and balances and with responsibilities and accountabilities.

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  • fauzia kazi shah
    Jul 17, 2011 - 11:17PM

    All i can say, “Thank God I don’t live in Pakistan!”

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  • Fahim
    Jul 18, 2011 - 10:19AM

    I totally agree with writer, the democracy is just dream in Pakistan. The current scenario all biggest and other parties in assembly except MQM has all family members or family friends. Specially PPP and PMLN.

    I hope that MQM will move in Punjab and get successes in Punjab to make change and bring up the real leadership for Pakistan.

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