Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hail Feudal Crown Prince Bilawal of Pakistan

In spite of its claims to the contrary, the Bhutto family's private jagir (property) of Pakistan People's Party has been instrumental in preserving the feudal system in Pakistan, through perpetuation of its feudal democracy, controlled by the largest landowners in Sind and Punjab.

Z.A. Bhutto's nationalization in the 1970s was the biggest culprit that stymied industrialization of Pakistan and the growth of the middle class, while it preserved the feudal system. Bhutto emasculated the industrialists who encouraged better education and skills development for workers for their industries, while feudal rulers continued to take their toll on the rural poor living on their lands who remain their slaves and reliably continue to vote their feudal lords into power in the name of democracy.

The Bhutto era nationalization has left such deep scars on the psyche of Pakistani industrialists that, to this day, these industrialists are not willing to make long-term investments in big industrial projects with long gestation periods.

To perpetuate the feudal system in the name of democracy, the PPP has a new prince, Prince Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He is being heavily used and abused to promote the interests of the current incompetent and corrupt leadership, and to ensure that PPP remains in power to serve the feudal elite under the guise of democracy.

Here are a couple of video clips of Prince Bilawal who spent part of his summer vacation in Pakistan stumping for the PPP:





The military governments have, in fact, been more pro-industrialization because the military elite benefits from the manufacturing sector as much much as it does from real estate and agriculture sectors.

I am disappointed that the military, particularly President Musharraf, did not dismantle and destroy the feudal system when they had a chance. Instead, to respond to external pressure from the West, the military dictators, including General Musharraf, bought off some of the PPP or PML feudals, held elections and created the facade of democracy. This allowed the feudals to continue to dominate Pakistan's political landscape under both military and civilian governments.

However, over the decades, Pakistani economy has consistently performed better and created a lot more jobs during military rule than under the PPP or the PML "democratic" governments. These new jobs have helped tens of millions in the rural areas with the option to leave the life of slavery on the farms to get jobs in cities in the industrial and services sectors of the economy.



Pakistan's average economic growth rate was 6.8% in the 60s (Gen. Ayub Khan), 4.5% in the 70s(Zulfikar Bhutto), 6.5% in the 80s (Gen. Zia ul-Haq), and 4.8% in the 90s (Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif). Growth picked up momentum in the 21st Century under General Musharraf, and from 2000-2007, Pakistan's economy grew at an average 7.5%, making it the third fastest growing economy in Asia after China and India. There were 2-3 million new jobs created each year from 2000-2007, which significantly enlarged the middle class, and helped millions escape poverty.

Related Links:

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Oxford

Biawal's Extracurricular Activities

Musharraf's Economic Legacy

Taliban Target Pakistan's Landed Elite

Pakistan's Feudal Democracy

Will Someone Hand Bilawal a Spliff?

Pakistan's Military-Industrial Complex

Pakistan: A Cradle of Civilization Breeds a New Nation

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8 Comments:

Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's BBC's Soutik Biswas's review of "India: A Portrait" by historian Patrick French arguing that India is becoming a hereditary monarchy:

Is India sliding into a pseudo monarchy of sorts? In his splendid new book, India: A Portrait, historian Patrick French dredges up some startling data on the stranglehold of family and lineage on Indian politics.

The research finds that though less than a third of India's parliamentarians had a hereditary connection, things get worse with the younger MPs. Consider this:

Every MP in the Lok Sabha or the lower house of the Indian parliament under the age of 30 had inherited a seat.
More than two thirds of the 66 MPs aged 40 or under are hereditary MPs.
Every Congress MP under the age of 35 was a hereditary MP.
Nearly 40% of the 66 ministers who are members of the Lok Sabha were hereditary members.
Nearly 70% of the women MPs have family connections.
Interestingly, for MPs over 50, the proportion with a father or relative in politics was a rather modest 17.9%. But when you looked at those aged 50 or under, this increased by more than two and a half times to nearly half, or 47.2%.

Also most of the younger hereditary MPs - and ministers - have not made a mark and sometimes have been shockingly conservative in their actions. A young MP from feudal Haryana, for example, was seen to be cosying up to extra-constitutional village councils in the state which were punishing couples for marrying outside their caste and clan.

"If the trend continued," concludes French, "it was possible that most members of the Indian Parliament would be there by heredity alone, and the nation would be back to where it had started before the freedom struggle, with rule by a hereditary monarch and assorted Indian princelings." He also worries the next Lok Sabha will be a "house of dynasts".

Most agree that growing nepotistic and lineage-based power in the world's largest democracy is a matter of concern. "The idea of India," political scientist Mahesh Rangarajan told me, "is rent apart by these two contradictory impulses."

But nepotism is a part of India life; and politics mirrors society. Power, wealth, land and status have hinged to a large extent on who your parents were, what they owned and where they stood in society. Most Indian businesses continue to be owned and run by families though the new economy is throwing up more first generation entrepreneurs. Bollywood, India's thriving film industry, is dominated by sons and daughters of famous actors and producers. Three members of one family - Nehru-Gandhi - have held the post of prime minister. If the Congress party wins the next elections and PM Manmohan Singh steps down, there is a likelihood of the dynast Rahul Gandhi becoming India's next prime minister. (It is no surprise that 37% of the MPs - 78 of 208 - in Congress are hereditary compared to only 19% hereditary MPs - 22 of the 116 - in the main opposition BJP.)

Despite French's troubling data, all may not be lost. "Please remember," Dr Rangarajan told me, "the MPs have lineage as a huge plus, but the posts are not hereditary." In other words, if they fail to deliver, they will be voted out of power. Merit triumphed over dynasty in the recent elections in dirt-poor Bihar. So though lineage remains a key factor in politics, remind analysts, it can only give a headstart, and nothing more. Thank democracy for that.

January 18, 2011 at 6:48 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from Salman Taseer's book "Bhutto: A Political Biography", as quoted by Dawn columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee:

"After the conflict was over, Bhutto commissioned a report on the entire Bangladesh episode from Mr Justice Hamoodur Rahman, Chief Justice of Pakistan, and himself a Bengali. Bhutto testified before the commission whose sessions were held in camera throughout, but he never published the final report, arguing some parts of it could embarrass Pakistan in its conduct of foreign that some parts of it could embarrass Pakistan in the conduct of foreign relations. His detractors preferred to suggest that Bhutto never dated issue the report because he was so heavily implicated in the political chicanery and blundering that preceded the country's break-up. That may be so. But it is equally likely that the Hamoodur Rahman commission report was by no means the final word on political responsibility for the catastrophe that overcame Pakistan. Considering the circumstances in which the commission worked, its final report may even have erred in Bhutto's favour.

"Blame can never be satisfactorily or finally apportioned to the major players in this grisly drama, but that Bhutto, Mujibur Rahman and Yahya Khan share responsibility there can be no doubt. Many, indeed, are inclined to the view that Bhutto, as the most sure-footed politician of the three and thus the best equipped to assess the consequences of his actions, must accept the lion's share of the blame. Argument on this point will remain one of the central themes of Pakistani politics, perhaps for decades."

Comments on Bhutto's political nature:

"After the election the situation changed drastically. Bhutto now saw that Mujibur Rahman with his majority of seats could form a government even without support from West Pakistan. And yet he was not the man to play second fiddle. With control of only two provincial governments out of five, he saw his position as far from assured." [As for playing second fiddle, I myself have heard him say: 'I'd rather be the top dog of half of Pakistan than an underdog of the whole of Pakistan.']

"Perhaps another politician with more moral scruple and with greater respect for democracy would have bowed before the will of the majority and quietly entered the Constituent Assembly to debate the future of Pakistan. Bhutto, however, possessed none of these gentle characteristics. He never had much faith in the parliamentary process."

"There was another danger in convening the Assembly. It was quite possible that a number of elected members from West Pakistan would give way to the Awami League's dominant position and compromise with them, enabling Mujibur Rahman to get the two-thirds majority needed to pass the constitution. Bhutto could not trust his own party, which consisted of a motley group of individuals, some of whom he barely knew and who had been swept into power on a wave of pro-Bhutto feeling."

On Bhutto's speech made on February 28, 1971, at public meeting at Lahore, where he offered Mujibur Rahman a carrot in the form of three alternatives - agreement on three of the Six Points, or postponement of the National Assembly meeting, or a waiving of the Legislative Framework Order.

"After the carrot, he them threatened the stick. The latter part of his speech was possibly the most belligerent he had ever made. He threatened a strike from the Khyber Pass to Karachi - 'not a single shope would be allowed to remain open.' He promised that the people of Pakistan would take full revenge from anybody who attended the Assembly session when they returned from Dacca, or, as he expressed himself, he 'would break their legs'. In spite of Bhutto's three alternative conditions, Sheikh mujibur Rahman refused to budge."

April 5, 2011 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

India, too, belongs in this discussion because it was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who played a huge role in precipitating both 1965 and 1971 wars with India.

In 1965, it was ZAB who urged Ayub to wage a limited war in Kashmir. But he miscalculated badly and India turned it into a full scale war by crossing the international border in to Lahore and Sialkot on Sept 6, 1965.

Then again, in 1971, ZAB welcomed the army operation in East Pakistan by saying "Thank God, Pakistan is saved" on the day the military started its action in East Pakistan....knowing full well that it would invite an Indian invasion as it did.

ZAB was the closest thing to America's Benedict Arnold in Pakistani context.

April 9, 2011 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

A 1979 Time magazine report said the following:

A message by Bhutto, smuggled out of prison before the Supreme Court ruling, warned that "my sons will not be my sons if they do not drink the blood of those who shed my blood."

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,912367,00.html#ixzz1KJysTc7P

April 22, 2011 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

All the pretensions of western style institutions make little sense to most inhabitants of India and Pakistan and other former colonies.

The colonial legacy of parliamentary democracy and British style rule of law are alien concepts in South Asia and never touch the lives of over 90% of the population.

With few exceptions, the disputes and conflicts are resolved using traditional rules set and adjudicated by local village councils (panchayats and jirgas) which are at odds with the laws passed by the national and provincial legislatures and implemented by the governments' justice system.

June 28, 2011 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Economic Times story on the wealth of Balochistan ministers:

A provincial minister in Pakistan owns a tract of land that equals a small town - 24,338 acres to be precise. Another wears diamond-studded Rolex watches while a lawmaker runs seven mines and owns 300 guns.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Khan Raisani drives a luxury sport utility vehicle Hummer H2 that was gifted to him and a Harley Davidson motorcycle brought to Pakistan after a waiver on customs duty, showed statement of assets and liabilities submitted to the Election Commission for 2010-11.

Besides owning a safety and security firm, he also has a mining company with a capital investment of Rs.106.5 million, the Dawn newspaper reported.

But, he is easily overshadowed by his Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs, Mir Zafar Ullah Khan.

Khan owns a staggering 24,338 acres of land, most of which he has inherited. He has Rs.51 million in two bank accounts.

Building Minister Agha Irfan Karim owns four properties, including a farm house, 150 acres of agricultural land and a house in Quetta.

Karim also two diamond-studded Rolex wrist watches, two more with gold and silver, 10 diamond-studded cufflinks and 200 tola of gold.

Pir Abdul Qadir Algilani, a lawmaker, too has a generous land holding.

He owns 3,200 acres of land and an under-construction farm spread over 400 acres.

That's not all.

Algilani's other properties include two coal mines, three manganese mines, one copper mine and one iron ore mine in his own and his wife's name.


http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/et-cetera/a-pakistani-minister-mir-zafar-owns-almost-a-town/articleshow/12368249.cms

March 22, 2012 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a recent Khatmandu speech by Pak social scientist Arif Hasan:

.. ...In my city, Karachi, anyone my age will similarly tell you how wonderful Karachi used to be...the calm that we enjoyed was really like the peace of the dead. It was a kind of peace made possible by the feudal system.
------------
I asked an elder from the taluka whom I had met in 1983, now much older, “Sahib, did you have honour killings before?”

He said, “Yes, we used to have one in perhaps ten years. It was a rare occurrence, and we would discuss one for ten years until another happened.”

“Then why it is happening now with such regularity?”

He said, “Now, everyone has become shameless, without honour, so honour killings are taking place.”

I asked, “Why is there no honour today?”

He responded, “The young people, they’ve gone to the city, and they’ve done all the wrong things. The girls have learned how to read and write, they’ve gone to school, some of them have gone to university as well. They have no morals left, so this is bound to happen.”

“You mean this is going to continue like this forever?”

“No, no, it will stop!”

“How and when will it stop?”

His reply was educative: “The honour killings will stop when everyone becomes shameless, then it will end.” Then he added, “But I hope that I die before that day.”

He was a man of the old, feudal rural culture, with its own pattern of behaviour and way of thinking. He was part of it, and it was dying, so he wished to die with it.

In 1992, the applications for court marriages in Karachi amounted to about 10 or 15, mainly applications from couples who were seeking the protection of the court for wedlock without familial consent. By 2006, we were seeing more than 250 applications for court marriages per day in Karachi. Significantly, more than half of the couples seeking court recognition of their betrothal came from rural areas of Sindh. This is yet another indication of how the entire feudal system and its values are in rapid collapse.

This collapse is also heralded by the advances in women’s education. According to 2006 figures, fully 72 percent of the University of Karachi student body is today female. Among medical students, 87 percent are women, and the figure for architecture and planning is as high as 92 percent. In fact, our vice chancellor was so concerned that he suggested a quota for men. I used to teach a class with one boy and 15 girls. That has changed a little now as we have tried to even it out. But the reason is simply that women do better on the entrance tests. There’s no other reason for it.

In 1971, I started working in low-income settlements in Karachi, and a decade later I joined the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP). The settlements that we worked in at that time were primarily working-class, and when we went over we were met by older men who were mostly illiterate. They spoke to us in very formal, feudal language – janaab, huzoor, sahib, miyan, “We are all your children and need your protection,” and all that. At that time, in the 1980s, the women hardly worked. Things are entirely different when you go to the OPP today; it’s not what you would call a shanty settlement. It’s mostly the younger generation who will meet you, and they will address you as ‘uncle’ rather than ‘sahib’. The people you meet are bank managers, school teachers, professionals working in the service sector of Karachi.
-----------
... The recent shooting of Malala Yusufzhai has shown what Pakistani society really feels and how it thinks on issues. For the first time the Pakistani establishment – the army as well as the three major political parties – have all condemned the Taliban for the shooting. The people have spoken in the huge rallies, in Karachi and elsewhere. ...


http://himalmag.com/component/content/article/5126-the-eclipse-of-feudalism-in-pakistan.html

December 14, 2012 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Washington Post report on feudal power in Pak elections:

GUJJAR GARHI, Pakistan — Winning a grass-roots political campaign in Pakistan or anywhere else depends on having committed, hardworking volunteers. Iftikhar Ali Mashwani, an aspiring provincial lawmaker, has come to realize that his supporters are neither.

“When I go into the villages and the fields, I should see my flags on the roadsides and rooftops. I should see my posters. And I don’t,” Mashwani, a 35-year-old furniture salesman, chided followers gathered in his small lumberyard in northwestern Pakistan. “This campaign is not up to the mark!”

Mashwani, running on the Movement for Justice ticket headed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, is learning tough lessons as he scrabbles for votes against well-established foes in this largely rural area. On May 11, Pakistanis will choose the next prime minister in an election hailed as a landmark of democratic progress for a country ruled by the military for nearly half its 65-year history. Yet decades of tradition dictate why democracy has remained more of a concept than a reality.

Even as Pakistan prepares to witness its first democratic transition of power, elite political families, powerful landholders and pervasive patronage and corruption undermine the prospects of a truly representational democracy, political analysts say. The dominant Pakistan People’s Party and its rival, the Pakistan Muslim League-N, have the money, experience and connections that Mashwani does not as a novice contender from an upstart party.

As in the United States, Pakistan has what amounts to an entrenched two-party system, but even less space exists here for reformers and newcomers from lower classes. For decades, critics say, the parties have been run like insular family businesses whose only goal is to perpetuate their power and plunder national resources.

The Pakistani military, by contrast, is well respected by the public and not afraid to muscle into politics. It has overthrown weak governments three times with general public support. During periods of civilian rule, the army also wields great influence behind the scenes, adding to evidence that Pakistan has never been more than a Potemkin democracy.

Over the years, U.S. officials have seen only diminishing returns in their democracy-promoting efforts. The upcoming election, while historic, will not necessarily solve anything. Pakistan remains under siege by insurgents and shot through with corruption — and it is still a beggar nation seemingly always on the brink of collapse.

Most analysts predict the election will result in a fractured Parliament dominated by a coalition of old-guard politicians, with Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-N and a two-time prime minister, likely to reclaim the job 14 years after he was ousted in a coup.

“I see elections not bringing change,” said Shamshad Ahmad, a former Pakistani foreign secretary under Sharif. “Without a change in the system there will be the same feudalized, elitist hierarchy that remains in power.

“Let’s hope a new culture is being born that civilians must take responsibility and take the reins in their hands,” said Ahmad, who remains a Sharif backer. “When our rulers show their ability to take good decisions, the army will stay in its space.”...


http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-pakistan-novice-takes-on-entrenched-parties-in-election/2013/04/30/8786d7ee-b00a-11e2-9fb1-62de9581c946_story.html

April 30, 2013 at 8:27 AM  

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