Pakistan: an alternative democracy

Published: November 2, 2012
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The writer is former federal minister of science & technology and former chairman of the Higher Education Commission

The writer is former federal minister of science & technology and former chairman of the Higher Education Commission

In Pakistan, we have witnessed the complete failure of democracy, so much so that many now doubt if the country can survive if the present governance system continues for another few years. The national debt has more than doubled during a short period of five years, bringing the country to its knees. The inflow of foreign funds from expatriates settled abroad has barely saved us from bankruptcy. The corruption, however, continues at an unprecedented rate and national institutions are crumbling before our very eyes.

Some argue that the reason democracy has failed in Pakistan is that it was not given a chance to evolve and flourish due to interventions of military rule. There could be nothing farther from the truth. Military interventions were forced by the rampant corruption and misgovernance that brought the country to the brink of disaster each time. Take the case of the energy sector, for example. Pakistan has ample sources of energy, rivers flowing across the country, one of the largest coal deposits in the world and wind zones in the Gharo, Katti Bander, the Hyderabad triangles in Sindh and the coastal areas of Balochistan that have the potential of producing 50,000 MW of electricity.

As a result of sensible energy policies in the 1960s and 1970s, we invested in hydroelectric power. Construction of the Mangla Dam, an earth-filled dam on the Jhelum river, started in 1962 and was completed in 1967. It has a capacity of producing 1,000 MW of electricity. Construction of the Tarbela Dam started in 1968 and was completed in 1976. It is the largest earth and rock filled dam in the world, located on the Indus River about 50 miles northwest of Islamabad. It has a capacity of 3,478 MW of electricity and a water storage capacity of about 11 million acre feet (MAF). This had a tremendous impact at the time on boosting the agricultural and industrial output of Pakistan. With the construction of these two dams, affordable electricity was made available and in 1984, the energy mix was about 60 per cent hydel and 40 per cent thermal. In 1980, the electricity production capacity had reached 3,000 MW. We should have continued on this path and gradually replaced imported oil-based thermal plants by our own indigenous coal-based power plants. That is, alas, when corrupt leaders who came into power plundered the country — they decided to opt for imported oil as the main source of power for Pakistan. Experts have confided that the World Bank played a very negative role by exerting pressure on the government, presumably driven by ‘foreign masters’, to go for imported oil- based plants. The Asian Development Bank has recently also refused to fund power plants based on coal, although the form of coal present in Thar (lignite) is used in many countries in the world for power generation, including Germany. These agencies are influenced by foreign influences who do not wish for Pakistan to develop. We may find that China is our only true long-term friend.

In 1986, a project was proposed under which the Lakhra Coal Mine was to be developed by the private sector while the corresponding Lakhra Power Generation Plant was to be operated by Wapda. However, in 1988, the government banned Wapda or any other public sector organisation from setting up oil-based thermal power plants, allowing such plants to be established only by the private sector, opening the door to huge corruption. This was done ostensibly under the pressure of the World Bank and proved to be the death knell for future industrial development in Pakistan. Corrupt leaders entered into contracts with foreign private companies and the cost of energy production rose sharply, crippling industry and commerce, while huge kickbacks were taken by those in power. Some of the rental power plants are producing electricity today at the preposterous rate of Rs50 or even higher per unit — the devastation that has followed in the industrial sector due to the criminal acts of a few has destroyed the very fabric of this country.

Pakistan should have expanded its hydroelectric power which has a potential of 46,000 MW and increased coal-based power plants. Coal contributes only about 7.3 per cent in the primary energy mix whereas in India, about 68 per cent of electricity is based on indigenous coal fired power plants. In China, 79 per cent and in South Africa, 93 per cent of electricity is from coal-based power plants. The criminal acts witnessed in the power sector have almost destroyed the country. The obsolete rental power plants acquired more recently are the most recent example. The growth of nuclear power plants has also fallen prey to international pressures. The power sector is only one of several that have been systematically destroyed.

It has been shown over and over again that the present form of democracy just cannot function in a country where corrupt feudal landlords come into parliament and then into the cabinet. The result is that we spend only 1.7 per cent of our GDP on education, shamefully placing us among the bottom seven countries of the world. This ensures that about half the Pakistanis are illiterate and of the remaining half, most can barely sign their names. This ensures that feudal landlords can continue to come into power as the serfs under them are subjugated and illiterate. They then dance to the tunes of foreign powers in order to safeguard their vested interests and capital abroad.

What, then, is the answer? Surely, military rule is not. The parliamentary system of democracy can also not work in a country where the feudal system has its stranglehold on national politics. The problem with the parliamentary system is that powerful landlords spend hundreds of millions of rupees in the election process to come into power. Once in parliament, or better, in the cabinet, the ‘investment’ made in the election process is recovered by corrupt practices in major national projects. I advocate major changes in the Constitution that will result in a presidential system of democracy so that the best person is elected as president, as in the US, France and other countries. He then selects his own team of professionals in the cabinet. Members of parliament or Senate should be confined to lawmaking and oversight and they cannot become federal or provincial ministers. All persons contesting any election should be required to be approved by a “Judicial Council of Elders” on the basis of their eminence, honesty and competence for the positions.

Pakistan has tremendous potential. Over 50 per cent of our population is below the age of 19 and our children are among the brightest in the world. However, in order to migrate from the trap of a low value added agricultural economy and establish a knowledge economy, we must first get rid of the corrupt system of leadership before we can stand up with pride and dignity in the comity of nations.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (43)

  • Nadir
    Nov 2, 2012 - 10:49PM

    Well duh! Someone like the good doctor who benefited from the largesses of the recent military dictator will sing yarns to their praise. Ofocurse! How could they be at fault! Magical how you link the lack of resources being allocated to develop a knowledge economy to political corruption as the deep whole of military expenditure has no relevance.

    Please stick to talking about HAARP etc and pie and the sky holistic thinking.

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  • Ghazanfar Raza
    Nov 2, 2012 - 11:01PM

    In order to migrate from the trap of a low value added agricultural economy and establish a knowledge economy, we must first get rid of the corrupt system of leadership before we can stand up with pride and dignity in the comity of nations.

    This is the need of time, but how to achieve it, Allah knows better, we as a nation are not ready to move forward.

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  • Lala Gee
    Nov 2, 2012 - 11:31PM

    @Author:

    “In Pakistan, we have witnessed the complete failure of democracy, so much so that many now doubt if the country can survive if the present governance system continues for another few years. The national debt has more than doubled during a short period of five years, bringing the country to its knees. The inflow of foreign funds from expatriates settled abroad has barely saved us from bankruptcy. The corruption, however, continues at an unprecedented rate and national institutions are crumbling before our very eyes.”

    I have been saying the same thing in my comments all along. I am myself fully in favor of Presidential system, but the biggest problem is how to make these changes, and who will do that. There is no constitutional way to implement the Presidential system, and you cannot expect any good from the very same people who are responsible for the current miserable state of affairs in the country.

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  • adnan ihsan
    Nov 3, 2012 - 12:52AM

    the islami system is best in pakistan.tha exp. of egypt

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  • Jahangir Mari
    Nov 3, 2012 - 1:11AM

    Finally, a sincere voice for the future of Pakistan. Ah Pakistan, how you have been stunted & then plundered. Is the intellectual General in Rawalpindi reading this? Last year of service. Perhaps, the most auspicious time to render the most important service to the nation & country. Much higher than just ensuring disentanglement of spooks from the 2008 elections.

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  • Arshid Jamil
    Nov 3, 2012 - 1:12AM

    There is not an iota of doubt that the need of the hour is a presidential system, but as is evident from the narrations above no one seems to figure out how to do it.

    Well, in my opinion we are not prepared to take the bull by the horns, like Mr. Raza says ‘Allah only knows’ we have to change our stance, true “Allah knows’ but Allah also says He helps those who help themselves. In my humble opinion the corruption is steeped too deep into our culture to expect any change under the current situation. A drastic action is needed.

    We need a strong military intervention that disregards any movement by the populace against it and enforces the change, ‘Laton kay bhoot baton say nahin mantay’. We will not be able to totally eliminate the advent of feudals into politics but they can be curbed. As Mr. Rehman says:’Members of parliament or Senate should be confined to lawmaking and oversight and they cannot become federal or provincial ministers. All persons contesting any election should be required to be approved by a “Judicial Council of Elders” on the basis of their eminence, honesty and competence for the positions’.
    A similar containment is also required for our ‘mullahs’. Self professed “alams’ are the problem. They need to be ‘educated’ about real Islam. A strong and competent Islamic University needs to be established and only graduates from there should allowed to preach and lead the prayers.
    My ramblings may sound drastic, but I feel drastic situations require drastic measures.

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  • Ali Zain Kara
    Nov 3, 2012 - 1:46AM

    To say that this article is well-written would be an understatement. Brilliantly written, and right on target! Tackles the social issues and problems with fact rather than beating around the bush, and recognized the need for a new system solely based on the reason that the existing one has failed miserably rather than on pure whim (as we are used to in this country).

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  • Arifq
    Nov 3, 2012 - 2:11AM

    Presidential form of government is also prone to corruption, corruption of power being concentrated in “one” person who can assume powers of a dictator. Honorable Doctor believes Presidential form will allow the “best person” to be elected! Dear Sir, that can only happen when ideological parties have internal elections that cultivates a culture of merit as compared to money and elitism. This can also be achieved in a Parliamentary form of governance, why change something that was never given a chance to grow. Finally, we should not forget our state, fragile federation of multiple ethnicity’s hanging by the thread.

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  • AllahRukha
    Nov 3, 2012 - 3:05AM

    @Nadir:
    Cite the reasons of your differences. A mere rant is what politicians do.

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  • Karachite
    Nov 3, 2012 - 4:47AM

    As always a solution oriented Dr Ata ur Rehman! Very well articulated and with solutions, as oppose to the useless rant we see from the libidinal egos we see here on ET.

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  • Something Clever
    Nov 3, 2012 - 5:05AM

    I prefer the presidential system out of all existing choices. But, Pakistan certainly has a huge problem in switching to it. The cleanest way involves the people who are actively benefiting from the current to give it up in support of the change. That basically means you’ll have to take it away from them while they kick and scream. That’s hard to pull off peacefully.
    Yeah, I’m no help.
    But, it just means it’ll take more cooperation and thought than an article and comments section will provide. It’s just as well, though. If even getting people together to lay that simple part of the ground work is too much trouble the idea is dead before it takes its first breath anyways.

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  • Nov 3, 2012 - 6:15AM

    Excellent article! Pakistani people including all intellectuals should ask for the formation of a REFORM COMMISSION whose members are eminent University professors only. This commission should rewrite the constitution and reforms all governing systems.

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  • NA
    Nov 3, 2012 - 7:41AM

    Agree with Dr. Attaurhaman.
    Pakistan cannot afford corrupt parliamentary system of government,I think this system has corrupted this society more than enyone else in the world.

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  • Concerned786
    Nov 3, 2012 - 8:26AM

    good one. Presential form was somewhat reflected in Musharraf’s govt. see the positive changes he brought except that his Finance minister manipulated the stock market with the help of top brokers. But we were busy in removing him on the basis of attack on pure judges, killing of innocents of lal masjid or who created unrest in Balochistan. Atleast people were scared of doing corruption but now its open

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  • mahmood
    Nov 3, 2012 - 9:24AM

    In 1958 when the self-proclaimed field martial took over, were the trains not running on time? Was there back breaking corruption? Were we close to collapse? The real motive behind every army take over has been greed for power and money. This is the primary reason Pakistan is on its knees. The author sings praises for the visible infrastructure projects of 1960’s completely ignoring the invisible cancer caused by the army: the decimation of state institutions (judiciary, legislature) – which caused the breakup of the country.

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  • Sunny
    Nov 3, 2012 - 10:10AM

    You are very naive…

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  • mahmood
    Nov 3, 2012 - 11:08AM

    The good doctor’s benefactor – General Musharraf – was given a blank check by SC to ammend the constitution. Why did he not change it into a presidential form of document, why did he not outlaw the feudals, why did he not write into the consitution that henceforth there will be only one education system in the country, why did he not strike down ammendments made by Zia? Imagine, a free hand for 3 years to unilaterally change the constitution of a 180m strong nation. This was the equivalent of the fairy tale coming true in which a jinn comes out of the bottle and fulfills the wishes of the owner.Recommend

  • abc
    Nov 3, 2012 - 12:01PM

    Second the proposal

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  • Raza Khan
    Nov 3, 2012 - 12:07PM

    Presidential form of government is the best for the country! Pakistan has only progressed under Presidential form of government by getting the experts in respective fields instead of raw people who have no knowledge of their fields.

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  • Nov 3, 2012 - 12:20PM

    The article has deliberately omitted certain facts . doubling the debt alone is not the problem. in last four years GDP also doubled from Rs. 10 trillion to Rs. 20 trillion which rather kept the total debt to GDP ratio reduced from 61% to 56%.
    Energy production through fossil fuel is very costly and hence subsidized . in last four years Rs1440 billion is paid by way of subsidy on power. . During FY 2012 this subsidy stands at Rs. 1.27 billion per day . Alternate cheaper source of energy is a must to explore else economy will receive further set back.
    But certainly democracy which is a system for governance can not be blamed. If public at large chooses the wrong person to represent them the system itself can not be blamed . Choosing wrong person is possible in presidential system too. to mitigate corruption a cheek and balance method are to be introduced.

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  • Dr Imran Muhammad
    Nov 3, 2012 - 12:34PM

    I respect Dr sb as a scientist/researcher and appreciate his commitments to higher education in Pakistan. But I am not sure why a scientist is preaching a social science topic (especially political science and sociology etc) in his articles. I am not sure about his readings and research on types of govt. and democracy system (topic of this article), whether he published good research articles on the political science journals? If not then he should … and then he would realised that he is totally on wrong path of thinking.

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  • Aijaz Haider
    Nov 3, 2012 - 1:13PM

    Democracy has not failed in Pakistan. Military rule has failed in fact. The present fragile democratic government is stronger that Zia’s and Musharaf’s regimes and the judiciary is doing fine in the democratic era. Zia and Musharaf could not get rid of corruption in their decade-long eras; what can the weak demoratic system do? The revelations of corruption by generals puts them at par with the politicians, if not ahead. We must be optimistic. Future democratic governments will InshaAllah be better than the present one, which is the stepping stone for a future Islamic welfare state envisaged by Quaid-e-Azam.
    Regards.

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  • Toticalling
    Nov 3, 2012 - 1:39PM

    Democracy has not born fruit the way we expected. That is a correct statement. But democracy does not deliver if it is under constant threat of survival. Pakistan has not seen the system work properly and for longer period. It was always ‘others’ who interfered.
    It is true that dictatorships deliver quickly if those running the show are honest people and want to change things. Let us see China. It has changed under communist regime which helped reduced poverty levels considerably. Thomas Friedman, a columnist at the New York Times, said once that China’s authoritarianism looked more appealing than America’s dysfunctional democracy. “One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks,” Mr Friedman allowed. “But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.”
    The sad story about Pakistan is that it has had many dictators, but none were interested in doing what China’s leaders did. In fact they harmed Pakistan more than help. I say let this faulty democracy work; it can only improve if given a chance, uninterrupted.

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  • ali
    Nov 3, 2012 - 1:47PM

    Good article by a well reputed person. Just few point I want to raise sir. Firstly, all the corruption pointed out by you in energy sector is done by PPP governments alone. It was PPP which diverted our power generation direction just for their corruptions and kickbacks. Secondly, it doesn’t matter whether its parliamentary system or presidential system, same people will come in the power. As in US presidential elections are party based, its Republican and Democratic parties which at grass root level contest the presidential elections. Same will happen in Pakistan that political parties will contest elections and we will see same faces. Thirdly, failure of democracy in Pakistan is not only due to hegemony of landlords and lack of education, but there exist multiple reasons. As in case of Karachi, there are no landlord and also literacy rate in Karachi is also very high as compared to other parts of country.Recommend

  • sabi
    Nov 3, 2012 - 2:40PM

    This analysis has really disappointed me at every line.What conntradictions. what a confusion of thoughts.

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  • Manoj Joshi India
    Nov 3, 2012 - 3:02PM

    Blaming democracy alone would not be appropriate because corruption and feudal stranglehold have been the major cause behind the failure of democracy in Pakistan. Corruption is what needs to be rooted out and the feudal system or mindset wherein girls are not allowed to get educated and the religious fundamentalists are controlling a major portion of the society. Military dictators no doubt have damaged democracy in Pakistan but the major reason has been corruption and feudal mindset of society.

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  • A Chaudhry
    Nov 3, 2012 - 3:28PM

    I agree with Doctor sb, but would propose a trilateral system of government.

    A parlimentary system of governement producing a PM to run the governament and a President who is elected directly by the people rather then the corrupt MPAs and MNAs to act as the Head of State – having power of the Armed Forces. Both should have adequate bifercation of powers. The third power should be the Local Bodies, here also we should only have city and district Nazams directly elected by the people.

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  • Rao Amjad Ali
    Nov 3, 2012 - 3:56PM

    Which history book(s) have you been reading because your comments are simply shocking, doctor?

    President Iskandar Mirza, who worked as a front-desk manager at a hotel in London after he was forced into exile by FM Ayub Khan was corrupt? Zia-ul-Haq hung Prime Minister Bhutto because he was corrupt? Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was tried and declared corrupt by a competent legal authority and so the man from whose coattails you hung for the longest time, General Musharraf, decided to sack him? You remember well how your benefactor-in-chief had raped the country’s constitution, sending 60 judges of the superior courts packing with a stroke of a pen. In a sober moment you might want to consider the fact that the largest chunk of the national budget goes to defense, whose accounts as you may or may not know are not subject to an audit by the relevant committee of the parliament.

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  • Ammar
    Nov 3, 2012 - 5:15PM

    Come on doctor sahib, you can’t become a president in, let’s say, 10-20 years. All you can get is a place in his handpicked cabinet :) I am sure you know when that usually happens :D

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  • faheema
    Nov 3, 2012 - 5:22PM

    Dr. Sahib, thanks for valuable suggestions about thermal power, Wish these suggestion had decade back translated into reality when you were minister of Science and Technology under the most competent and honest leadership of Musharraf. Musharraf was free to choose his team, he choose best what his team delivered is in the notice of even a laymen. However you were one of the good choices he made, we are thankful to him for this. Let’s hope some positive change.

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  • Blithe
    Nov 3, 2012 - 6:29PM

    We need central planning for energy .
    And Kalabagh must be made.
    18 th amendment was a dusaster !!

    But where is the correlation Dr.?
    Musharraf didn’t add a single MW .

    You are confusing topics..

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  • BayQaida
    Nov 3, 2012 - 6:31PM

    Doctor sahib, this piece shows ur political naivity. Pls stick to popular education of science & chemistry. Wish you could have given this piece a second reading, if not re-writing. Your arguement that Pakistan’s problem is ‘developmental’ & not political shows the shallowness of your insight. Between the lines, what I hear you say is that bring Musharraf (or a bloke of his ilk) back through highly regulated & skewed process of sham elections, where only Zia ul Haq’s ‘sadiq & amin’ could contest elections who you conveniently assume would act ‘honest’, albeit unaccountable. Pls have heart. Think more and you might figure that out of the box solutions are best resorted to when the box’s been fully explored. The mention of khaki’s role in bringing us (economically, socially, politically & developmentally) where we are is conspicuous by its absence in your article.

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  • Al
    Nov 3, 2012 - 6:51PM

    Can you explain how the ‘best person’ will be elected as a President? Who will constitute the Judicial Council of Elders? If money is spent on the election campaign in parliamentary democracy you had better check the expenditures of the upcoming US elections as an example of the money spent in that type of system. Or are you implying we cut the election crap because it costs too much and is the cause of post-election corruption? Maybe you will have a better opportunity to end up serving as a minister under that kind of a President selected by the Judiciary or Judicial elders or whatever you like to call them

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  • Azeem Khalid
    Nov 3, 2012 - 7:03PM

    Well sir! all analysis are refleflecting ur true intellect and insight. Here, only one thing stands odd, that presidential system would not guarantee the well being of of the leadership on the top. Educating masses and illiterate youth by giving them the sense of choosing the right leadership for them will result in some acceptable situation. in situation like ours. i m sorry to say we ll elect more corrupts and then these corrupts will gather a company of more corrupts and more corruption and more disasters and more plundering will be results. only solution is EDUCATION>>>>…..

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  • Aslam
    Nov 3, 2012 - 7:14PM

    Agreed sir, we need the people like you to run the country and its institutions professionally as you did as a minister. I hope if Imran Khan comes to power, he should get benefited by your abilities and you should be given a good place in his government for the betterment of Pakistan.

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  • hamza khan
    Nov 3, 2012 - 7:14PM

    @Nadir:

    sour grapes? the recent military ‘dictator’ freed the media, gave vast sweeping powers to the electorate, opened the country for investment, and fostered staggering growth in education and science. the HEC was signaled out in many educational journals as leading the way for the developing world in terms of its practices and methods of increasing scientific research. preisdent musharraf did immensely better as president than this horrible government could even imagine. let him come back inshallah. idiots like you will see that the vast majority of sensible people care about their livelihoods, and not what uniform their leaders wore in the past. he will be popular once again, God willing!

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  • Singh
    Nov 3, 2012 - 8:07PM

    China has invited former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to teach at the prestigious Peking University here, offering him a lab of his choice to work with the students.
    It is difference between Indian President & Pakistan President.

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  • FaiselH
    Nov 3, 2012 - 11:21PM

    Pakistan’s salvation is in a Presidential form of Government, where the candidate for the highest office stands for a direct election.
    This ‘Westminster’ version, which sends to the assemblies candidates winning from a few thousand votes from some captive constituencies, will always help the collations of the Incompetent & Corrupt to indirectly ‘elect’ persons of the caliber of Asif Ali Zardari and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to the highest offices.

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  • gp65
    Nov 4, 2012 - 3:35AM

    In theory, a heroic individual should be able to win a Presidential form of government without support of an organized party. In practice this has never been seen in US. The other expectation is that in a Presidential form of government, competent technocrats can lead key ministries even though such technocrats may not have the ability to win an election. Manmohan Singh as a FInance Minister in the Narsimha Rao cabinet and Nandan Nilekani in a cabinet level post in the present UPA dispensation are 2 examples where technocrats CAN lead key ministries without being electable. Finally in a parliamentary system, the executive and legislature are much more likely to be better aligned compared to the Presidential system where legislative gridlock often arises when the COngress is of the opposite party to the President.

    In the end both the American system and the Westminster system have well defined checks and balance between executive, judiciary and legislature. One should not assign the flaws of implementation to the design itself. The focus should be as the Americans say to make a ‘more perfect union’ recognizing that perfection – the desired goal can never be achieved in reality but persisting in our human endeavour to achieve that goal anyway.

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  • Adnan Khan
    Nov 4, 2012 - 10:01AM

    Nobody can disagree with the honest, straight-forward historical facts, which have been laid out by Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman. I feel for the guy. In his time HEC was created and hundreds of deserving Pakistani students went abroad and returned with higher qualifications. Now, students are having to cut-short their studies because they don’t have money to eat. Without notice, this Govt just cut their funding and left them hanging in the wind.
    .
    While I think Dr. Sahab has chosen a wise, middle choice, I myself, would vote for an Ata-Turk model. Because we need wholesale removal of corrupt elite, who are now busy grooming their spawns (new & improved models), to continue to leech like parasites on the masses, in perpetuity.
    .
    Pakistan cannot take-off with these fat-cat leeches hanging on to us. They’ve got to go. Ata-Turk style.

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  • Lala Gee
    Nov 4, 2012 - 11:05AM

    @Al:

    “Can you explain how the ‘best person’ will be elected as a President? Who will constitute the Judicial Council of Elders? …. a President selected by the Judiciary or Judicial elders or whatever you like to call them.”

    Please read the comment of @FaiselH who very rationally highlighted the shortcomings of the current system. To address your concerns regarding Presidential system, an electoral role can be created by registering, 1) all graduates (including PhD., Masters, Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers etc.) of HEC recognized universities, 2) all tax payers. This way, the chances of electing wrong person will be minimal and the election costs will also be a fraction of the current costs. And as a bonus, this will encourage the people to get higher education and pay tax in order to be considered honorable.

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  • Al
    Nov 4, 2012 - 6:34PM

    @Lala Gee:
    Being highly educated does not mean one is the best person to govern. PHd doctors are supposed to do research in their respective fields, doctors are supposed to work as doctors and engineers are supposed to work as engineers. This technocracy doesn’t work very well, had it worked well Shaukat Aziz wouldn’t have left the economy in a mess. A technocrat unlike a politician is not attached to the people. Where is Shaukat Aziz nowadays? suntanning in Bahamas??

    Everyone is supposed to pay tax, it is not something that unable to do so will make you dishonorable, it will make you criminal. So this point is quite invalid. And FYI Salman Taseer was the highest tax payer in Pakistan and I guess you wouldn’t have wanted him to become the President.

    Anyway, if parliamentary democracy is working fine in countries as diverse as Britain and India, it sure would work in Pakistan. And invoking feudal society as a case against democracy is naive. Pakistan is not feudal anymore, there is just vestigial feudalism remaining and that will be totally diminished once the free market economy is allowed to work.
    Indirectly electing leader of the government is how representative democracy works. You can’t possibly hold a referendum for the whole population over every single resolution. You choose your representative to do so, and if you don’t agree with him you choose a different representative. That’s pretty much how democracy works everywhere

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  • Nov 5, 2012 - 6:21AM

    ” I myself, would vote for an Ata-Turk model.”

    @Adnan Khan: Ataturk’s regime was liberating for a while but ultimately became very oppressive when generals imprisoned and tortured Communists, Islamists, and liberal democrats alike. Can’t Pakistan do better?

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