Daily Archives: November 5, 2010

Pervez Musharraf: Butcher of democracy or architect of development?

The dismal situation today is feeding nostalgia for Musharraf. Was his rule worth it? Not for democracy-idealists like me! However, since many people can tolerate dictatorships if they deliver, I consider this question pragmatically. Even pragmatically, dictatorship cannot be a permanent feature in Pakistan—more polycentric than Africa where dictators rule forever— where it has a shelf life of 10 years due to external and internal pressures (even from army ranks). But dictators do have greater powers as they control ISI and can take decisions without worrying about vote banks or parliamentary strength. Thus, due to both reasons, it is not enough if dictatorships out-perform democracies during their tenure. They must effect structural changes which benefit the country in the long-term. This was the stated objective of all our dictators and actual contribution of Asian dictators, whose performance stokes much of our fondness for dictators. Thus, I judge Musharraf by his legacies and not character, intentions, efforts or even immediate results, which may be better than politicians. Viewed so, that things are so bad so soon after him is as much proof of his lack of legacies as of the incompetence of successors. However, let us take a deeper look to be fair to him. Continue reading

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Karachi: Time to call spade, a spade

We are posting this article by Rashid Aurakzai to kickstart a debate on Karachi’s recent mayhem. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of PTH and we would welcome other points of view. RR

Another tide of innocents’ blood-shed in Karachi. Count crosses 800 mark for this year with still two months to go. We too shall soon forget. For justice, they have to wait till doomsday. We torch, stone and rally when it happens in Gaza, Bosnia, Kashmir or Iraq but don’t bother when it comes to our own land. Hardly, are we moved or shocked as long as it happens to ‘others’. Exposed to frequent violence at home, we are deaf and dumb to our home-made vices, a part from blindness. Massacres no more take our breath. Like a Mexico or Bombay depicting movie, Amigos and ‘Bhai-Logs’ spraying bullets, police absent, shopkeepers pulling shutters down and women holding their children behind closed doors and windows. Another closure, 144 imposed, city lifeless and motionless. We in front of TV sets or monitors, enjoying an off-day in free. A day past and our memories formatted. Continue reading

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An Evaluation: Is the American Prosperity a Betrayal?

Dr. Tahir Rauf

In 1960’s, the American presidents Lyndon Johnson and then John F. Kennedy imaged the United States (US) to transform into a “Great Society”; create a prosperous country through new economic policy of major social programs, public education, healthcare, urban problems, transportation, eliminate poverty, eradicate injustice and meet severe financial and economic calamities. New immigration policyopened its doors for millions of immigrants with a common belief of a better life in a new homeland. At the end of the World War II, the US was the dominant force invirtually every industry and technology making it far richest country of the world. Continue reading

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