30
December

Human Evolution Government and Governance

Written By: Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais

What is modern political thought can be subject to lot of intellectual controversy. Nor can the issue of timing – when and how the modern thought progressed – can easily be settled. What is settled, however, is that there is a modern strands of political thought and they have greatly shaped the contemporary world of politics. Democracy, in many institutional forms and types of political arrangements, is the result of some powerful political ideas. Let us explore some of them and how they have influenced the evolution of contemporary world.

Some of the enlightenment ideas are at the root of modern thought. Chief among them is the reason – all men and women are endowed with reason, a distinctive faculty of human. In the evolution of political ideas it was emphasis on reason that enabled men of intellect and learning, and even ordinary folks to know what the natural law was. Thinkers relied heavily on reason and the law of nature to make an argument for freedom and equality. In other words, by the law of nature – that is the essence of pure human character – freedom is fundamental to our being full and complete persons. Equality of humans is a corollary of freedom. If we are free, he or she is equally free, no more or less than others. Lest you misunderstand this point, equality is in terms of equal rights, and should never be construed as equality of status, possession, power and influence. Actually, liberty results into inequality – the outcome of differential talents, motivations, social circumstances and opportunities. People being equal in rights may end up in unequal distribution of incomes, social status and power.

In a very traditional, hierarchical order in the post-renaissance period, freedom and equality were very radical ideas. Those who talked of freedom and equality were considered heretics. Why? These two ideas challenged the traditional authority, structures. Briefly, the traditional authority both in social and political spheres, was based on inherited status, not earned by but owed to parentage. Sons of feudal lords became feudal lords and sons of king, princes. In the traditional view of these arrangements, men had no power. God ordained everything, God distributed wealth, confirmed status, and appointed kings.

It was a part of religious belief that if men challenged authority of their lords, they would commit sin. Kings were shadow of God on earth, his Divine appointees, and Will of God himself. That logic worked for centuries to keep the old order in place. Practically fear and threat of brutality and violence along with use of tradition and religion kept the populations in check for centuries. Religion and tradition began to loosen their hold with post-renaissance man questioning their logic of power, authority and inequality. It was the beginning of modern age when individualism – the idea that each individual is free to determine his social path, religion; and is endowed with a right to have say who governs him – the making of political authority.

The movement for fundamental rights began to emerge over the social and political horizons of the West with the recognition of freedom. Even in the middle of 18th century, several parallel movements for rights gained strength and some rights got recognised, the political systems in most of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America remained monarchical. Old political orders built around monarchy and aristocratic class remained unchanged. Two revolutions in the last quarter of 18th century began to change the old order with people embracing radical ideas of freedom and equality. First it was the American Revolution in 1776, which was greatly influenced by the idea of rights of individuals and nations the national rights, the right to be free, independent and sovereign. John Locke's ideas of civil government and his concern with life, liberty and property had left great impression on the American leaders.

In the writing of the Declaration of Independence and later framing the American Constitution in 1787, Locke had left a deep mark. Americans were so impressed by Locke that they copied his words in verbatim in the Declaration of Independence. Locke, a 17th century English philosopher had made two serious arguments about nature and purpose of government. First, a government must be based on the consent of the people. Second, the purpose of the government is to benefit the people and not those who govern. Locke insisted that the government was under obligation to protect 'life, liberty and property” of people. The idea of property is more than material possession. For that reason, Thomas Jefferson and his committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence substituted “property” with “pursuit of happiness”.

The second revolution was the French revolution 1789-99, under which the old order broke down, plunging the country into turmoil and conflict. Three ideas shaped this revolution – liberty, equality and fraternity, meaning solidarity among people. In the 19th century freedom of thought and expression got recognised as fundamental rights in countries like Britain and United States where democracy had begun to take firm roots. Government was no longer seen as a Divine gift to chosen ones – the monarch and aristocracy – but an outcome of political process. The idea of consent of the governed defined the legitimacy of the government.

Popular sovereignty replaced the old notions of authority and sovereignty. What it basically means is that right to govern rests with the people and they transfer this right temporarily, for a specified period, to their representatives. The elected representatives don't have borrowed power of the people that they have to use only in the interest of their constituents. What if the representatives or the government elected by the people fails to govern in their interest? According to Locke, they have a right to rebel. Some of the American states have embodied this idea into a “recall” procedure under which a sitting governor of the state can be unseated by a referendum.

Overtime the idea of limited government found greater acceptance among the democratic thinkers and statesmen. Only a government, limited by law and constitution, could respect rights and freedoms of the individuals. Writing a constitution and defining the powers of the government, they thought, were keys to constraining the powers of government. Today, constitutionalism means precisely that, and more in a sense that the powers government exercises are given by the constitution made by men and not by another authority.

For centuries, concentration of powers in one institution, the monarchy has created tyranny. It is a question of common sense, if authority of the state is concentrated in a single institution or a person then, the power is more likely to be used for personal benefit and hurt people than when it is divided among different institutions. An 18th French philosopher Montesquieu made a strong argument for separating legislative, judicial and executive powers of the state.

These ideas and many more, that due to limit of space we cannot discuss, have shaped the modern political world of democracy, constitutional government and fundamental rights. Not every country or elites in every state have accepted every modern democratic idea for governance. The reason is simple; democratic transformations and transitions, in other words, implementation of modern ideas require a political struggle to defeat the vested interests that have stakes in establishing and maintaining non-democratic systems.

The writer is an eminent defence/political analyst and regularly contributes in print/electronic media. Presently he is Director General at 'Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad'. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
07
December

The Soulful Pakistani Music!

Written By:Sara Raza Khan

Pakistan’s music is rich and famous for its class, depth and impact. It is distinct and its identity is message of love, harmony and culture expressed through instruments like Sitar, Violin, Tabla, Bansuri, Rubab etc. Pakistani musical gharanaes and other artists have been successful in the past to create deep impact on regional music, too. Even today, Pakistani artist are producing such melodious music that it transcends the borders to reach the world. Pakistani music presents a soft image of Pakistan – the real Pakistan which is the land of love, beauty, peace and harmony!

Pakistan is truly an unmatched blessing with alluring seasons, breathtaking locations, numbers of cities having great historical importance, exceptionally rich culture and what not! Pakistan has it all – an enchanting melody, a mixture of haunting cords with beautifully dominating vocals that collectively make a promising artifact ‘music’. Among all other blessings and things of ornamentation: pearls, gold, diamonds; music is yet another blissful gift. Music is an international language which creates a huge impact without even using words; lyrics are an additional beauty. If a soulful voice is added to good lyrics, an instant hit of all times is created. Sufi saints often used this medium to spread their magical words all over the world. In short, divine lyrics, heart touching melody, and a passionate vocalist makes its way deep down in the hearts of music fans. It’s a strange way to reach hearts and the same happened in my case. I don’t really know when my songs and performances for international competitions touched the hearts of millions. Pakistan’s music is rich and famous for its class, depth and impact. It is distinct and its identity is message of love, harmony and culture expressed through instruments like Sitar, Violin, Tabla, Bansuri, Rubab etc. Pakistani musical gharanaes and other artists have been successful in the past to create deep impact on regional music, too. Even today, Pakistani artist are producing such melodious music that it transcends the borders to reach the world. Pakistani music presents a soft image of Pakistan – the real Pakistan which is the land of love, beauty, peace and harmony!

 

thesoufulpak.jpgIn the same context, let’s talk about why in today’s world my culturally enriched country and its artists are not working the way they used to in the past. Musicians are not getting the fame as before when we had prodigious musical legends like Madam Noor Jehan, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Aziz Mian, Sabri Brothers, Malika Pukhraj, Nayyara Noor, Zubaida Khanum, Reshma and so many others. The question is why did it come to a stop? Also we had so many reasons and festivals to celebrate with music. There used to be concerts for all age groups, classical mehfils, qawali nights in every city, overcrowded stadiums, and spring carnivals with oscillation of happiness everywhere. What got in the way of our happiness and celebrations? Are we scared of terrorism? Actually, we have won this war. A brave nation like ours can never surrender and let the enemies succeed in their mission. Moreover, I feel we have forgotten to find happiness and contentment within the circle of our family and friends. We are all so busy picking out flaws, weaknesses, imperfections of every single department and person that we have stopped thinking about how as an individual we can contribute to make our beautiful country exceptionally affluent in all aspects of life again.


In order to rediscover the wealth of music, we can take steps such as arranging music weeks on a smaller level as students of different genres depending on our choices from rock, pop, retro to ghazal or sufi etc. Also in our residential areas or housing schemes, we can arrange small competitions or occasional get-togethers to create more harmony. On a bigger scale, all Art Councils in every province should arrange music festivals, whether big or small, by engaging our local singers and musicians so that they may continue to learn the dying arts.


But one thing is extremely important that in all these musical events we should only invite genuine musicians and singers. We should not expect birds to swim and fishes to fly because that way we won’t be able to get quality and more legends like Madam Noor Jehan and others listed above. To prevent this and make it easier, we should at least have one national level board/organisation for music auditions where everyone can appear for an audition to become a musician. There’s no way any unskilled musician can represent us globally without being selected from the board. The same platform could provide an opportunity to the talented musicians so that they can showcase their talent. After getting selected from this organization, they should get training and the relevant department can then sponsor their audio albums and chain of concerts where their fans can enjoy “Pakistan-made musical stars”. This can thus help in presenting a softer positive image of Pakistan to the world.

 

The writer is a famous Pakistani singer who has won a national and international music/singing awards.

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30
December

Conflict Transformation by Pakistan Army: The Central Trade Corridor (CTC)

Written By: Col Ehsan Mehmood Khan

Pakistan Army has contributed a great deal towards nation building both in kinetic and non-kinetic realms. Inter alia, the socio-economic spheres such as education, health, communication and telephony, national logistics, infrastructural development, and disaster management including rescue, relief and rehabilitation activities in the aftermath of natural calamities are but a few to note. In line with its counterinsurgency strategy, Pakistan Army has made noteworthy contributions towards the development of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), especially the North and South Waziristan Agencies, and the Malakand Division including Swat, after successful conduct of Operation Rah-e-Rast and Operation Rah-e-Nijat. The socio-economic development provides for the third stage in the strategy: Clear-Hold-Build-Transfer. Viewed through the intellectual prism of Johan Galtung, who is known as the Father of Peace Studies, it can be aptly called the course of conflict transformation being pursued by the army in FATA and Malakand Division. The “BUILD” stage of the counterinsurgency is reflective of the transformational approach of Pakistan Army.

The transformation has marked a host of milestones in recent years: ranging from rehabilitation of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Swat and South Waziristan Agency to building of road networks, rebuilding of the schools destroyed by the terrorists to construction of new schools, and from agricultural development initiatives to trade enhancement projects. The construction of Central Trade Corridor (CTC) is another major step, which is nothing less than a miracle and no smaller a gift by the army to the people of a conflict-torn region. It is a socio-economic project that systematically nets together Pakistan and Afghanistan by acting as a meaningful link between the Indus Highway of Pakistan and the Afghan Ring Road. Built by the Pakistan Army and Frontier Works Organization (FWO) over the last few years, it is 714 kilometres long road network. For such projects, the Army has followed an institutional approach. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the ex COAS had pushed this development work in FATA. General Raheel Sharif, COAS, has also vowed to pursue the development works vigorously. Recently, during his interaction with the officers and men at Miranshah and Wana, he expressed satisfaction over the achievements of the Army towards bringing stability in the conflict zone through development projects. He affirmed that these projects were likely to contribute in the national effort for durable peace in the conflict hit areas, and showed his resolve to go on with these initiatives at a very high pace.

The Trade Routes and Corridors

The geographical contiguity of Pakistan and Afghanistan provides for numerous routes and corridors for regional trade across their borders and with other countries. The strategic trade routes and corridors are as follows: Pakistan Afghanistan

• Northern Trade Corridor: Karachi Port / Port Qasim – Sukkur (along the Indus Highway /Motorway / G.T. Road) – Rawalpindi – Peshawar – Torkham Jalalabad – Kabul and onward (1,889 km).

• Southern Trade Corridor: Karachi Port / Port Qasim (along RCD Highway) Khuzdar – Kalat / Gwadar Port (along N-85) Turbat – Panjgur – Kalat – Quetta Chaman – Kandhar and onward to Kabul and beyond (Kandhar: 926 km from Karachi Port and 1,150 km from Gwadar Port. Kabul: 1,423 km from Karachi Port and 1,647 km from Gwadar Port).

• Central Trade Corridor: Karachi Port / Port Qasim Sukkur (along Indus Highway) – Rajanpur – D.G. Khan D.I. Khan – Ghulam Khan / Angoor Adda – Afghan Ring Road – Kabul / Kandhar (Kabul: 1,580 km via Indus Highway in Pakistan and Kabul-Gardez Highway in Afghanistan. Kandhar: 1,898 km via Indus Highway in Pakistan and Afghan Ring Road in Afghanistan).

Afghanistan Iran and Central Asia

• Inter alia, Kabul and Kandahar are the major trade hubs in Afghanistan for the three trade corridors.

• Northern Trade Corridor (Afghanistan – Tajikistan): Kabul Eshkashem / Sher Khan Bandar (Eshkashem: 515 km along Saricha Road and 621 km along Asian Highway-76. Sher Khan Bandar: 410 km along Asian Highway-76) – onward to South-Eastern and South-Western Tajikistan.

• Southern Trade Corridor (Afghanistan – Iran): Kandhar Zaranj / Islam Qila (Zaranj – 456 km and Islam Qila – 682 km) – onward to Eastern Iran.

• Central Trade Corridor : - Afghanistan – Turkmenistan: Kandhar – Toraghandi / Aqina (Toraghandi: 670 km. Aqina: 1039 km) – onward to Turkmenistan.

• Afghanistan – Uzbekistan: Kabul – Hairatan (464 km) – onward to Uzbekistan.

The Significance of Waziristan Corridor

Trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been traditionally taking place through the Northern and Southern Corridors. In addition, there are countless frequented and unfrequented routes between the two countries across the volatile border passing over the rough and hard mountains. The North and South Waziristan Agencies are located adjacent to the eastern Afghan provinces like Khost, Paktia and thus provide for an appropriate link both with Kabul and Kandhar – two important trade hubs in Afghanistan. On the other hand, the Waziristan Corridor also connects the FATA, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab province. Thus, the CTC enjoys geographical, communicational and trade centrality not only in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, but on the larger map of South-Central-West Asia.

Why the Central Trade Corridor?

For centuries, Waziristan has been a corridor of convenience for the travellers, traders and invaders alike. Various routes moving in west-easternly direction matured into a corridor through a process of centuries. Alongside, it has had a history of turbulence, and thus violence. Thus, the area generally remained devoid of any significant blacktop roads over which the tangible attributes of progress and prosperity could travel to benefit the people living on both sides of Hindukush.

road tank 1Violence and poverty in FATA has heretofore had a chicken-egg or democracy-economy relationship. Violence inhibited development, and lack of development cultivated an environment conducive for violence. Situation is somewhat zero-sum. Increased development is expected to decrease the degree of violence. But progress and prosperity are not pedestrian anyway. They need roads to travel on. Education, health facilities, economic opportunities and civic services travel over the roads to reach the people of such remote regions. Due to various reasons, including the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan, violence and poverty are shared attributes of the tribes inhabiting both sides of border. They are co-dependent in socio-economic spheres. Thus, transformational measures can have concurrent effect on both sides. Generally, this has been the context of construction of Central Trade Corridor. It has already started paying dividends. The people of Waziristan have hailed the project.

The Expected Benefit

The CTC is likely to yield immediate socio-economic benefit for the people of North and South Waziristan Agencies, and Afghanistan's Khost, Paktia and Paktika provinces. Next, it would benefit Pakistan and Afghanistan, the conjoined twins referred to as by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan in March 2010. In the long run, the CTC is expected to play a part in enhancement of trade in the entire South-Central-West Region. The key benefits are as expected to be as follows:-

- Replacing the existing non-mettled roads with international standard blacktop highways.

- Shrinking the time distance between North-Western Pakistan and South-Eastern Afghanistan.

- Reducing intra-Waziristan distance through an integral road network.

- Building a socio-economic and communicational gateway between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

- Creating prospects for improved education and health facilities.

- Generating economic opportunities along the highways.

- Transforming the conflict environment so as to gradually and systematically defeat and diminish the appeal for violent extremism among the masses of Waziristan. This would reflect positively by perceptibly reducing the trail of terror.

It is often espoused by some that poverty and economic insecurity is not the reason or the core motivation for violence in FATA. True; there are other drivers and sources of motivation that far outweigh poverty or destitution as the cause of violence. However, international experience shows that Economic Opportunity Structure (EOS) does have a noteworthy effect on environment of conflict and conditions of violence. Going by this reality, the CTC is expected to reconstruct and revamp the EOS of Waziristan as well as the neighbouring Afghan provinces.

road tank 2Trade is the backbone of economic security of a state or society. It is the centrepiece in the chain of economy that links the sections of production and consumption. It has remained important all through the history of mankind at all levels – macro, meso, and micro. Like other regions and sub-regions of the world, the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, too, has a lot of prospects to move forward with regional trade as a means to peace and prosperity for the people of the two countries and the region at large. Certainly, trade, whether between individuals and communities or between the states, is carried out on mutually beneficial terms. But it has to have some sort of contiguity and realization of the reality between the trading partners. Pakistan and Afghanistan have both. A Positive Response from Afghanistan

Response on the CTC has been very positive from the government and people of Afghanistan. To note, a high level Afghan defence delegation, headed by the defence minister General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, visited Pakistan from January 27 to January 31, 2013. Amongst other areas of mutual cooperation, the CTC came under discussion to which both sides gave wider approval. According to official sources quoted in Dawn, “Afghans have recognised the centrality of Pakistan for peace and stability in their country not only in terms of kinetic military operations, but also with regard to socio-economic development of conflict zones.”

Today, 11 out of 34 Afghan provinces adjoin three federating units of Pakistan to include Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Ethnically, Pashtun population bestrides the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Besides hundreds of cattle-and-foot-tracks, there are dozens of vehicle-worthy roads and tracks crossing over the border. Some over 50,000 people from both sides cross the border daily using these frequented and unfrequented routes. Most of these routes are smuggling prone. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan agree to counteract, and to utilize all available routes and corridors in a mutually agreed and internationally legitimized manner. This is why the CTC is also listed among the routes of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). Conclusion

The construction of Central Trade Corridor is a step in the right direction. It would not only shorten the time distance between north-western Pakistan and south-eastern Afghanistan, but would also play a momentous role in conflict transformation on both sides of Hindukush. Pakistan Army has completed about 70 % of this 714-km stretch of road system linking various towns, important valleys and the Afghan Ring Road. It is tangible entity that acts as a link between various intangible attributes of Pakistan Army's counterinsurgency strategy.

The writer is a PhD (Peace and Conflict Studies) scholar and author of ‘Human Security in Pakistan’.
07
December

An Afternoon with a Khaki Abroad

Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti

Imet Major Uqbah from Pakistan Army at Kristiane Baker’s sufi-flavoured dinner in Central London where we were all introduced to Salman Sahib, the direct descendant of the great sufi saint of Ajmer Sharif, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. Subsequently, Major Uqbah invited my husband, Arsallah, my son, Ibrahim and myself to visit him at Sandhurst Military Academy, UK where he was based for two years.


Major Uqbah was the first ever Muslim and only Pakistani teaching at Sandhurst. At the station, Major Uqbah himself came to receive us in his smart Pakistan Army khaki uniform and green hat. The Pakistani flag badge on his uniform shirt glittered proudly on his chest. We drove off in his Mercedes car towards Sandhurst as he explained all the historical buildings and the very distinguished people who were at Sandhurst. Major Uqbah told there were many Pakistani students at Sandhurst Academy. Like Major Uqbah, I admired the English method of education and training which attracted so many students from around the world to its schools, universities and training centres.

 

anafternonnwith.jpgMajor Uqbah walked us through Sandhurst’s halls and corridors which were aligned with numerous pictures of soldiers and battles from the subcontinent. The pictures below show an array of officers, including those in battle.


One of the main entrances led to a large hall where the name “Waziristan” was engraved on one of the stained glass windows: a Pukhtun soldier stood proudly with his patkay and his rifle and looked straight into the eyes of the beholder. As a young girl I spent a few happy years in Waziristan as my father was posted as Political Agent in Wana and Tank areas of Waziristan. My childhood memories of playing with the children of local Wazirs who were always proud, friendly and helpful are still fresh.


In another room of Sandhurst accessible only to senior army officers, there were placed souvenirs from different countries: Pakistan had gifted a small bronze statue of a rider tent-pegging on a fast riding horse chasing his target.


In a time when Pakistan’s image abroad has not been most desirable in the media, I was impressed with the respect Major Uqbah received: English students and soldiers saluted him and even politely and respectfully stopped for him on their way. Major Uqbah always had a friendly greeting in return for each one of them. But Major Uqbah said he drew the line of loyalty. In the entrance hall, there was a striking large painting of Her Majesty the Queen and her family. Major Uqbah told that he did not take his oath at the feet of this painting. Perhaps, there was nothing personal against the royal family, but the oath taken under the Green Flag has always held deep meaning for a Pakistani soldier and nothing can subsitute that.


After a very ‘English lunch’ of fish and chips in the formal hall, and tea in the private rooms of the ‘officers only’, which reminded me of the formalities of Oxbridge Colleges, we visited the library.


Major Uqbah showed us the books he had donated on the Quaid-i-Azam, the founder of Pakistan, who was a lawyer trained in England and who had fought hard for the rights of minorities, which resulted in the second largest Muslim nation on earth, Pakistan. Maj Uqbah also showed us his name honoured under the title “Overseas Sword” along with the names of others.


In reciprocity, I donated our Centre’s peacebuilding textbooks to the library on Teaching Acceptance with the hope that young cadets will learn about an inter-disciplinary method of peace-building and also learn to fight for peace, not just by the sword, but with the more powerful tools of respect and empathy for other nations and peoples. It was a wonderful visit to Sandhurst Academy and the fact that Major Uqbah showed us around in the best possible manner-Pakistani hospitality made this trip very special for us all.

 

The author is a PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Presently she is Director at Centre for Dialogue and Action, FCCU, Lahore.

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