Showing posts from 2017

Designing Democracy and what is the PM term?

With Adnan Rasool 
‘Tenure of the government’ is a term that is being liberally used these days. It is contended that no PM finished his term in Pakistan’s history. An exaggeration. Some resigned, while others were either removed by the President constitutionally (at that time) or more recently by the Supreme Court.
Is the PM term fixed at 5 years in a Parliamentary democracy?
Be that as it may, in most parliamentary democracies, there is no real specified term. UK government that we follow has a 5-year outer limit but a vote of no confidence could undo a government till 2011. In 2011, they enacted a five-year fixed term but even then, May felt that Brexit required her to “refresh her mandate.”
Yet big events in Pakistan like terrorism, dysfunctional parliament, opposition in streets, charges of corruption and mismanagement, nothing forces our politicians to ‘refresh their mandate.’ How odd!
Most parliamentary governments allow for an early exit. Of the 88 governments in UK, only 34 have…

Why do politicians hate technocrats?

Whenever ‘elected’ dynastic governments start to unravel the myth of a technocratic government backed by the army is rolled out by politicians and sympathizers of their misrule.
Myths about ‘technocrats’ 1.‘Technocrat’ is anyone “not in bureaucracy or army, not in politics and somewhat educated.” In an age of specialization, all semi-well clad, reasonably well-read people who are outside the governmentare regarded as power hungry connivers looking for an in with the army. All retired bureaucrats or army generals are technocrats as are all businessmen even if their own businesses are not growing or successful.
This definition is very different from what the rest of the world thinks. Technocrats is more or less an obsolete term used to describe technically capable people who could provide research, managerial, and other technical skills towards the making of a better society and government. The emphasis was on the need for specialized skills in areas such as the management and developme…

Pakistan’s reform moment missed again

Pakistan is again in the news with the dismissal of the Prime Minister by the Supreme court. The international media is calling it a manipulation of the Pakistan army.
Yet experience shows that democratic governments reveal incompetence and corruption within a year of taking oath. The polity starts bubbling with rumors of misgovernance and corruption. The opposition which is always marginalized finds street protests preferable to parliament. Why? Part of the answer lies in the fact that Pakistan hastily adopted the UK constitution, which is an unwritten set of norms and rules embedded in British history and culture. No serious attempts have been made to adapt it to local environment and culture
For example, election process and party system has never been properly defined. Every election is considered to be rigged and all parties are virtual personality cults with no internal process, management, policy development capacity or clear membership.
Elections are mere selection of dynasties a…