Democracy in parties

The letter was published in Daily Dawn on 11 January 2008

THIS is apropos of Shahid Javed Burki’s article, ‘The obligation of political parties’ (Jan 8).

Mr Burki said he had given a presentation to the President-General (at that time) Pervez Musharraf about the implementation of a code of conduct drafted by himself and Mohammad Waseem.

I do not agree with his claim that the codes should be implemented by a person who has derailed the democratic process in Pakistan forcefully.

Further, if you state that democracy in political parties should come first, then I should add that there has always been democracy in the political parties of Pakistan as the Central Executive Committee of the Pakistan People’s Party has reposed their full confidence in its new chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Please don’t always blame the political structure of Pakistan.

Let democracy reign in the country, and see that the other two forces – capital accumulation and human development for economic progress and modernisation – will also develop.



Warm hospitality

The letter was published in Daily Dawn on 21 December 2010

IN May 2008 China’s provinces Gansu and Sichuan had a devastating earthquake. The government of Pakistan had helped its brothers and sisters in China to overcome the miseries of that disaster.

To compliment Pakistanis, the Gansu province of China renamed their annual international sister city cultural exchange programme to cultural exchange programme. The programme was meant to invite the youth of different countries to see the Gansu province and the culture and traditions of Chinese society.

I was one of the Pakistani delegates who represented Pakistan in Gansu’s 2008 cultural exchange programme. I still remember the warm hospitality extended to the delegates by the government of Gansu, especially to Pakistani delegates.

Now when the prime minister of China visited Pakistan the other day, I would thank the people of Pakistan for extending their warmest hospitality
and would like to advise both the governments of China and Pakistan to work on such exchange programmes to groom agriculturalists, students, scientists, engineers, doctors, businessmen, military, etc.


Threat to the king

The letter was published in Daily Dawn on 12 December 2007

BAIRAM Khan, the Iranian noble, played a very important role in establishing Akbar’s rule in India during his early years in power. He asked the king to execute Hemu which Akbar refused and he himself went and decapitated Hemu.

This act posed a challenge to the king’s authority. He asked Bairam to go for Haj. Bairam Khan was executed on his way to Makkah.

This is one example when anybody who posed to be a threat to the king’s authority was given a chance to go for Haj and then disappeared.

The news of the Saudi ambassador meeting deposed chief justice Iftikhar, who declined a Haj invitation, sounds much like Bairam Khan’s story. It seems that we as a nation have not been able to come out from the primitive ages.

Today when we call the doffing of Musharraf’s uniform a ‘big step’, only God knows how many centuries it would take to get out of the authoritarian rule and bring true democracy where people will be allowed to decide and not be persecuted for belonging to different schools of thoughts.


Qualification of an electoral candidate

It is being proposed by many people that the electoral candidates should be educated to master’s degree level. These people conveniently forget that Pakistan has a very low literacy rate compared to other South Asian countries. With such literacy rate we cannot expect to have many master’s degree holders. Any attempt by the Election Commission to implement such condition for contesting elections would leave only a handful of people who were fortunate to have been educated in a university to contest election. This will be unjust decision because still more than fifteen percent children had never been enrolled in any educational facility according to the Pakistan Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011. If this demand of graduate candidates is fulfilled than later it will be demanded that since people with university education can take better decisions, therefore they should be the only ones casting votes. This will negate a basic rule of democracy which says “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”. The rule that the electoral candidate should be a graduate or postgraduate has not even been suggested in the most developed countries where every child is given equal right to education.