Political Rulers Bring Neither Democracy Nor Development to Pakistan

“Na Khuda hi mila, na visaal-e-sanam/Na udhar kay rahay, na idhar kay rahe (I found neither faith, nor union with my lover/And now I belong neither there nor here).”

Pakistan's quest for democracy under civilian rule has produced neither democracy nor development in the Islamic country of over 180 million people. Currently, Pakistan is experiencing 6th consecutive year of  stagnant economy and human development under an elected but highly corrupt "democratic" government run by the Sharif family and their cronies for their own benefit.

Is it a Democracy?

Can one call it a rule-of-law or democracy when the Sharifs illegally order the Lahore police to attack the home of Allama Tahir ul Qadri, kill over a dozen unarmed civilians including women, and then refuse to file a report  (FIR) of the incident at the local police station?  Can you call it constitutional rule when the ruling politicians openly defy the Supreme Court orders to hold local government elections under Article 140 (A) of the Pakistan constitution? Is it democracy when all of the most powerful government positions are held a few members of the Sharif family and their close friends?

Is it Development?

Is it development when Pakistan's human development progress is the slowest in decades? Is it development when Pakistan faces another lost decade like the decade of 1990s under PPP and PMLN rule? Is it development when Pakistan continues to drop in world rankings on social indicators included in the UNDP's HDI index?

Pakistan's HDI grew an average rate of 2.7% per year under President Musharraf from 2000 to 2007, and then its pace slowed to 0.7% per year in 2008 to 2012 under elected politicians, according to the 2013 Human Development Report titled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”.

Source: Human Development Report 2013-Pakistan



History of Human Development in Pakistan: 

At 0.515, Pakistan's HDI is lower than the average HDI value of 0.558 for South Asia which is the second lowest among the various regions of the world tracked by UNDP. Between 2000 and 2012, the region registered annual growth of 1.43% in HDI value, which is the highest of the regions. Afghanistan achieved the fastest growth (3.9%), followed by Pakistan (1.7%) and India (1.5%), according to the United Nations Development Program.

Overall, Pakistan's human development score rose by 18.9% during Musharraf years and increased just 3.4% under elected leadership since 2008. The news on the human development front got even worse in the last three years, with HDI growth slowing down as low as 0.59% — a paltry average annual increase of under 0.20 per cent.

 Who's to blame for this dramatic slowdown in the nation's human development?  Who gave it a low priority? Zardari? Peoples' Party? Sharif brothers? PML (N)? PML (Q)? Awami National Party? Muttahida Qaumi Movement?  The answer is: All of them. They were all part of the government. In fact, the biggest share of the blame must be assigned to PML (N).

Sharif brothers weren't part of the ruling coalition at the center. So why should the PML (N) share the blame for falling growth in the nation's HDI? They must accept a large part of the blame because education and health, the biggest contributors to human development, are both provincial subjects and PML(N) was responsible for education and health care of more than half of Pakistan's population.

Source: The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World
Source: The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World

Going further back to the  decade of 1990s when the civilian leadership of the country alternated between PML (N) and PPP,  the increase in Pakistan's HDI was 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf's watch from 2000 to 2007.



Acceleration of HDI growth during Musharraf years was not an accident.  Not only did Musharraf's policies accelerate economic growth, helped create 13 million new jobs, cut poverty in half and halved the country's total debt burden in the period from 2000 to 2007, his government also ensured significant investment and focus on education and health care. The annual budget for higher education increased from only Rs 500 million in 2000 to Rs 28 billion in 2008, to lay the foundations of the development of a strong knowledge economy, according to former education minister Dr. Ata ur Rehman. Student enrollment in universities increased from 270,000 to 900,000 and the number of universities and degree awarding institutions increased from 57 in 2000 to 137 by 2008. In 2011, a Pakistani government commission on education found that public funding for education has been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2007 to just 1.5% - less than the annual subsidy given to the various PSUs including Pakistan Steel and PIA, both of which  continue to sustain huge losses due to patronage-based hiring.

Source: Pew Surveys in Pakistan


Looking at examples of nations such as the Asian Tigers which have achieved great success in the last few decades, the basic ingredient in each case has been large social sector investments they have made. It will be extremely difficult for Pakistan to catch up unless similar investments are made by Pakistani leaders.



Summary:

Civilian rule in Pakistan has delivered neither democracy nor development. The country stands at a crucial juncture with highly energized Pakistanis staging a historic massive sit-in in Islamabad since August 14, 2014. They have shaken up the ruling Sharif family and forced them to seek Pakistani military's help to save themselves from the wrath of the people. Any decisions made by Pakistan's military and politicians now will have long term impact on the health of the country. Let's hope these decisions bring about changes which help accelerate socio-economic development while making Pakistan's rulers more accountable and responsive to the people for their actions.

Here's a video discussion on the current political crisis in Pakistan:

http://vimeo.com/104722439

http://youtu.be/r66ep0WghZU


Pakistan PM Invites Army Intervention; Can Army Chief Save Nawaz Sharif Govt? from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Another Lost Decade in Pakistan?

Pakistan Military's Role in Current Crisis

Civilian "Democracy" Vs Military "Dictatorship" Debate in Pakistan

Saving Pakistan's Education

Political Patronage Trumps Public Policy in Pakistan

Dr. Ata-ur-Rehman Defends Pakistan's Higher Education Reforms

Twelve Years Since Musharraf's Coup

Musharraf's Legacy

Pakistan's Economic Performance 2008-2010

Role of Politics in Pakistan Economy

India and Pakistan Compared in 2011

Musharraf's Coup Revived Pakistan's Economy

What If Musharraf Had Said No?

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
The post 18th Amendment federal budget exercise remains the same, however, with no changes made to make it clear to the people that most of their concerns and questions regarding what impact the budget will have on their lives should be put to the provincial capitals and not to Islamabad. If the provincial assemblies are unable to respond to the needs of the people then what was the point in devolving power to the provinces?

Today the federal government has fewer resources as well as less authority in social sectors yet the post-budget analysis remains focused on their role. It is odd that when Pakistan’s progress on the Millennium Development Goals is reviewed as a whole it is not the provinces who are asked to explain why these goals have not been met. The point that the communications strategy of the federal government as well as the post-budget analysis has failed to get across is that if there is rampant inflation, lawlessness or a lack of everyday facilities such as drinking water and sanitary services, it is solely the failure of provincial administrations.

For the first time after the 18th Amendment local bodies elections have been conducted in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa only; it is now imperative that budgetary allocations of these two provinces reflect funds for the local bodies. Only this can ensure development to be people-centric and the fruits of democracy to benefit people at the grass-roots level.

The most used phrase in post-budget analysis is undoubtedly ‘pro-poor’; however this term is more relevant for provincial budgets rather than the federal budget. In order to gauge how the country and its people are faring it is imperative that the budgets of the provinces are scrutinised as minutely as the federal budget. Not only should the provinces be generating their own revenues to undertake projects for the wellbeing of the people but also improving their capacity to implement these projects as well as their election promises.

All seven budgets that are presented annually must be prepared after extensive stakeholder consultations so that the allocations reflect the needs of the people in different sectors and districts. Transparency is required not only in the allocation of funds, but also in their utilisation and in order to measure how much of a difference has been made to the lives of ordinary people. The provincial budgets should be presented with as much fanfare as the federal budget and must be scrutinised more than the federal budget.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1188260/big-things-in-small-packages
Riaz Haq said…
Departing UNDP Official on Pakistan:

1 Pakistan's Progress on Development Isn't Fast Enough
Mr. Franche is quoted as saying he is frustrated that a country full of “capable and intelligent” people isn’t making more progress on reducing poverty and modernizing the state. “The fact that even in 2016, Pakistan has 38% poverty; it has districts that live like sub-Saharan Africa; that the basic human rights of minorities, women and the people of FATA [tribal regions in the northwest] are not respected; that this country has not been able to get its act together and hold a census; or that it has not been able to push for reforms in FATA, an area that is institutionally living in 17th century. It is extremely preoccupying,” he said.

2 The Country's Political Class 'Uses Its Power to Enrich Itself'
The UNDP official said the country’s elites needed to change their lives to help Pakistan. “You cannot have a political class in this country that uses its power to enrich itself, and to favor its friends and families. This fundamental flaw needs to be corrected if Pakistan is to transform into a modern, progressive developed country,” he is quoted as saying.

He said elites take advantage of cheap labor while partying in London, shopping in Dubai and investing in property abroad: “The elite needs to decide, do they want a country or not,” he is quoted as saying.

Mr. Franche also had a word for the propertied classes. “I have visited some very large landowners, who have exploited the land for centuries, paid nearly zero money for the water, and how they almost sometimes hold people in bondage. And then they come to the United Nations or other agencies and ask us to invest in water, sanitation, and education for the people in their district. I find that quite embarrassing,” he is quoted as sayin
3 Local Governments Need Real Power
Mr. Franche said provincial governments in Pakistan don’t have enough power. “Only KP [the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province] has a decent law that gives real power and real money to the local government. Local government does not mean that you just elect them and deny them fiscal resources or power,” he said.


4 Pakistan's Media Is 'Manipulated'
He also said the media should be one of the pillars of democracy, but “unfortunately, the level of dependence of the government on military authorities, and the degree by which a lot of media in this country is manipulated by powerful sources, are sources of erosion of democracy and erosion of the institutions that are the foundations of this country.”
5 Country Needs More Opportunities
“The apartheid of opportunities in Pakistan is horrible, which is why so many young people are trying to leave the country,” Mr. Franche is quoted as saying.

“Pakistan will not be able to survive with gated communities where you are completely isolated from the societies, where you are creating ghettos at one end and big huge malls for the rich at the other end. It is not the kind of society you want your kids to live in.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2016/08/30/5-criticisms-un-official-made-of-pakistan/
Riaz Haq said…
World Bank: #PTI governed #KP tops in human development in #Pakistan, #PPP led #Sindh at bottom. #ImranKhan #HDI https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/164287-KP-progressed-in-human-development-says-WB-report …

The World Bank (WB) has categorised the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on top among all four federating units of Pakistan for making progress in different areas of human development.

“Pakistan’s provinces have experienced very different levels of progress in human development over the last decade. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa seems to have made the most progress in a number of areas,” the WB’s report titled “Pakistan Development Update” states.

According to the WB, the gross primary enrolment rate in the KP increased three percentage points between 2010 and 2015, in a period when other provinces were deteriorating. The child immunisation rate in KP increased from 40 percent in 2005 to 53 percent in 2013 and 58 percent in 2015, the largest increase of all provinces over that time period.

Sindh, on the other hand, appears to be flat-lining across the same indicators. Child immunisation was lower in 2015 than it was in 2005 (45 and 46 percent respectively) and the gross primary enrolment rate also fell from 82 percent in 2010 to 79 percent in 2015.

Stunting in Sindh also remains very high. Sindh continues to face large differences in urban and rural outcomes, which are most stark in water and sanitation where only 31 percent of rural households have a flushing toilet compared with 97 percent of urban households. Only 23 percent of Sindh schools are equipped with basic facilities compared with 93 percent in Punjab, 44 percent in KP and 26 percent in Balochistan.

Punjab has had mixed success while Balochistan has struggled. The data suggests that Punjab is also stagnant in some of the social outcomes over recent years. Its improvement falls between Sindh and KP, having made steady progress on child malnutrition (particularly stunting), as well as child immunisation and rural sanitation while making little or no progress on enrolment rates and the quality of learning outcomes.

Balochistan has struggled to increase its particularly poor outcomes, seeing deterioration in learning outcomes (only 33 percent of year 5 children could read a story in 2014) and child immunisation. Gender equality is improving somewhat – from a low base – in education and the workforce progress on women’s empowerment is also mixed. While gender inequalities persist, women are slowly participating more in education and work. Female labour force participation is slowly increasing, albeit from a low base (from 19.3 percent in 2005 to 24.8 percent in 2014) and more girls are completing lower secondary.

The ratio of female to male literacy is steadily improving, with seven literate women for every 10 literate men in 2015. This ratio differs wildly across provinces, however, with Balochistan exhibiting only four literate women for every 10 literate men.

Population growth is a key challenge for service delivery. Looking forward, population growth presents a key challenge for all areas of human development. Systems are not expanding quickly enough to increase access and coverage to Pakistan’s fast-growing population. Service delivery strategies will need to take a long-term view if services are to capture a greater share of a growing population while also improving quality, the report concluded.
Riaz Haq said…
Uzair Baloch spills the beans about #PPP top leaders' corruption & backing of #crime, violence in #Karachi #Pakistan

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1526890/uzair-baloch-spills-beans/

In his confessional statement, dated April 29, 2016, Uzair testified that he joined a gang led by Abdul Rehman alias Rehman Dakait in 2003 and was incarcerated in the Central Jail, Karachi where he was appointed incharge of the prisoners belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on the recommendation of then jail superintendent Nusrat Mangan and PPP leader Faisal Raza Abedi.

In the statement available with The Express Tribune, Uzair disclosed that he assumed full-fledged command of the gang after Dakait was killed in an encounter in 2008 and formed an ‘armed terrorist’ group under the name of the Peoples Aman Committee (PAC) and became its chairperson.

He confessed to have collected Rs20 million extortion from different persons and departments every month, adding that the fisheries department would pay Rs2 million.

He also disclosed that PPP MNA Faryal Talpur, sister of party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, was given Rs10 million extortion every month. According to the alleged gangster, Dr Saeed Baloch and Nisar Morai were posted to the fisheries department on his recommendation.

“I maintained a friendly relationship with the [then] Karachi Capital City Police Officer Waseem Ahmed, SSP Farooq Awan and his brother Shahadat Awan [a lawyer and currently posted as prosecutor general of Sindh],” Uzair disclosed, adding he had done several favours for them, including helping Farooq and Shahadat encroach land in Malir. He also got Farooq to collect Rs150,000 to Rs200,000 in extortion every month.

The incarcerated gangster disclosed that on the insistence of Senator Yousuf Baloch he met the then chief minister Qaim Ali Shah and Talpur and asked them to get the head money and cases against him withdrawn, which was eventually done by Talpur and Zardari.


In his statement, Uzair disclosed that after the Karachi operation was intensified he was called through Qadir Patel and Senator Yousuf by Talpur to her Defence residence, where Sharjeel Inam Memon and Morai were also present. According to him, Talpur discussed various issues the including Lyari gang war, and offered to hide his personal arms and explosives and have Sharjeel and Morai handle his financial affairs and Yousuf and Patel handle affairs in Lyari if he wanted to flee the country.

He testified to have done various illegal works for the party, including helping Patel encroach land and providing 500 jobs to criminals on Yousuf’s insistence. He also admitted to have helped Owais Muzaffar Tapi, Zardari’s foster brother, illegally occupy 14 sugar mills that were later purchased at lower prices.

Uzair also claimed to have sent 20 of his men to harass residents around Bilawal House on Zardari’s instructions and force them to sell 30 to 40 bungalows to Zardari at lower prices. The gangster said he came to know about a plan to kill him while in police custody, so he pleaded to have his custody transferred to the Rangers.

The former Lyari kingpin had also requested complete protection, apprehending that he and his family members could be killed after these revelations, as he expected revenge from Zardari and other politicians he named in his statement.

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