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Here’s Why Pakistan’s Governance System Is Flawed

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Mizbah Azam argues that the ‘corrupt’ politicians are supported by the powers-that-be when they toe their line, but when they start defying the power quarters, they are deemed corrupt. 

Veronica Anne Roth, an American novelist and short-story writer is known for her debut New York Times bestselling novel Divergent trilogy. The novel is a story about post-apocalyptic Chicago. After the devastating war, some powerful people and higher authorities converted the large part of the city of Chicago into a gated community surrounded by high walls but no doors, to experience a new model of governance.

According to this model, the population was divided into five factions:  Abnegation, the selfless – mostly scientists and scholars;  Amity, the peaceful – mostly farmers;  Candor, the honest – mostly lawyers, judges;  Dauntless, the brave, mostly the military personals; and Erudite, the intelligent – mostly lawmakers, politicians.

All sixteen-year-olds in the community were tested to determine which faction they were best suited for. However, they were allowed to select their own faction at the Choosing Ceremony. Those who do not complete initiation become ‘factionless’, living on the streets and were deprived of every necessity like education, jobs, etc. And had no contribution to society.  Those whose test results show that they had qualities of all five categories were called ‘divergents’.  The authorities consider them a threat to the society and their rule, and if found, they are secretly assassinated. The story revolves around a sixteen-year-old woman Beatrice Prior –  belongs to Abnegation family – who feels she does not actually belong in her family’s category.

When she was taken to the test, the administrator, Tori, found that she was a ‘divergent’, and she warned Beatrice never to reveal the truth.

The novel presented a unique autocratic model of governance, where the people are divided as per their capabilities, physical strengths, mental capabilities, ethical behaviors, and their choice to live a technology-free life. Later in the novel, the author revealed how such a system of governance, which was standing with the help of strict laws and dictatorial leadership, imploded when it was challenged from inside.

In the democracy-free countries, the dictators to large extent like to impose similar models in which the rulers decide to assign different jobs to different people and make sure that necessities like education, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom to open businesses, etc. will only be accessible to some ‘chosen’ people, while the masses would stay uneducated and ignorant so that they are willing to do anything that they are asked to do.

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution – commonly known as the ‘Cultural Revolution’ – was a socio-political movement in the People’s Republic of China, launched by Chairman of the Communist Party, Mao Zedong from 1966 until 1976 when Chairman Mao died.  The movement’s stated goal was to preserve Chinese Communism by purging the vestige of capitalist and traditional elements from the Chinese society.  During the first month – August-September 1966 – close to 1800 people, which included teachers, professors and principals of many schools, were killed by the Red Army.

Until 1976, when Mao Zedong dies and the new leadership in China took the power,  all the universities were closed to common people. However, only the privileged ones, who can prove their loyalties and support for the Communist Party could have those privileges. Young people were forced to get engaged in the work at shipyards, farms, factories, infrastructure, construction and other places where the labor forces were required.  This system was one real-world example that is close to the system of governance depicted in the novel and ‘Big Brother’ model presented by George Orwell in his 1949 novel, “1984”.

Mostly, this is what the dictators all over the world want. They talk about massacring thousands, depriving millions, wiping out all the dissent, and then create an ‘ideal’ social structure which is – in reality – only a pipe dream of an ultimate idiot. 

Successive dictators in Pakistan tried to use their carrot-and-stick technique and preached about the ideal society.  However, very soon they were seen injecting corruption in the system and creating a generation of incompetent and corrupt turncoats who influence the masses with their wealth, dynastic backgrounds and relied on masses’ ignorance to manipulate them.

To assure their loyalties, the rulers write-off their huge loans, and give their partners unfair advantages in their businesses. They even manipulate elections to remain in power. But the time these political figures turn against the the rulers they have to face court cases, disqualifications on corruption charges and even the murder charges. 

Raymon W. Baker, an American businessman, scholar, author, and the founder and president of Global Financial Integrity, research, and advocacy organization in Washington, DC, discussed in his 2005 book. ‘Capitalism’s Achilles Heel’, the political dynasties in Pakistan, which were created and largely empowered by the military dictators and their foul plays to grow their wealth at the expense of taxpayer money.

Recently, Federal Minister Faisal Vawda boasted that his vision is to massacre 5-6 thousand people to ‘clean up the country’.  Insiders claim that this is not the vision of Vawda, but he got the view from someone much higher in authority in Pakistan.

History shows that no matter how strong it seems, no matter how brutal it is, the autocratic power is brittle and hollow. Minor shock-wave destroys it to oblivion. Where are the tough guys like Tito, Pinochet, Hitler, Mussolini? Where are the tough men of Iraq and Iran? Even in Pakistan, where are all those self-declared messiahs like Ayub, Yahiya, Zia, Musharraf?  All were broken like dry sticks after 9-10 years of their rule.

The idea to give the power in the hands of weak civilian setup, with incompetent ‘elected’ people and then running the show from behind is clearly not working.  Now everyone must realise that Pakistan needs a flexible model of government.  That flexible model is a real democracy, media freedom, freedom of movement, freedom of speech and the biggest of all, freedom of governing the country which so far significantly lacks. 

As long as ‘patriots’ are created every ten years to install ‘good governance’, the vicious cycle will continue.



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Naya Daur