The other Pakistan: a powerful civil society asserts itself

March 14, 2009

Lawyers dressed in black suits scuffling with police, several dragged into police vans. Other marching, their arms linked, shouting slogans and holding placards in a peaceful campaign for justice. If you looked at the TV and still pictures of the “long march” launched by the lawyers in a two-year campaign to uphold the freedom and integrity of the judiciary, they seemed to show a vibrant democracy rather than a country teetering on the brink of failure. It’s a face of Pakistan that has all but got buried in recent months, M Reza Pirbhai, a professor of South Asian history at Louisiana University, wrote in Counterpunch.

“Turban-topped, gun-totting mountain men, stern military dictators and corrupt civilian politicians dominate the global media’s representations of Pakistan, from Washington to New Delhi best fitting the preferred image of the ‘most dangerous place on earth,” he said.

“The Pakistani press, however, provides equal coverage to a movement born in the populous, lowland cities, one that showcases this country of 160 million’s more representative, non-violent face. For the past two years, national commentators have been following ‘Men in Black’ – a reference to their black suits and ties – around the streets of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and every other major population centre.”

For two years the men, and indeed the women, have openly challenged the might of the state with rallies, demonstrations, strikes, boycotts of government institutions and sit-ins in public spaces. They want the supreme court judges dismissed by then President Pervez Musharraf reinstated and a crackdown on them has again begun as they march towards Islamabad.

Is such a protest possible in Afghanistan, the state that Pakistan increasingly finds itself compared to? Or even more tellingly, in any of the countries in the Middle East? Or even countries in southeast Asia such as Malaysia?

The Asian Human Rights Commission says throughout Asia there is no parallel to the Pakistani lawyers movement. It was largely because of this that an election took place last February after nine years of military rule.

The protests, for all the risks they hold for Pakistan’s fragile democracy, represent the power of a civil society, says Ijaz Shafi Gilani, a specialist in public opinion research, in an article in The News.

“An increasingly empowered and more cohesive society finds itself at odds with the authority of the state. Trust in state institutions has declined while trust in civil society institutions including independent media has risen,” he says.

Pakistan’s problem is not that it is a failing nation, he argues. The problem is the distrust between an increasing vibrant society and the state. “The year under the stewardship of  (President Asif Ali) Zardari can perhaps best be described as the one that produced a weaker state, stronger nation.”

Something to retrieve then from these protests?

[Photos of protests in Rawalpindi and Karachi]


My Incredible Indian Neighbors! Thought it might help you get a little fresh! ncredible-india-are-you-proud-to-be-an-i ndian/


Comparison of 2 Resume’s — Chief Executives of Pakistan & India
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Chief Executive of India

Title: Prime Minister
Name: Dr Manmohan Singh

EDUCATION /Qualification:
1950: Stood first in BA (Hons), Economics, Panjab University, Chandigarh ,
1952; Stood first in MA (Economics), Panjab University , Chandigarh,
1954; Wright’s Prize for distinguished performance at St John’s College,Cambridge,
1955 and 1957; Wrenbury scholar, University of Cambridge ,
1957; DPhil (Oxford), DLitt (Honoris Causa); PhD thesis on India’s export competitiveness

Working Experience [Teaching]
Professor (Senior lecturer, Economics, 1957-59;
Reader, Economics, 1959-63;
Professor, Economics, Panjab University, Chandigarh, 1963-65;
Professor, International Trade, Delhi School of Economics,Universit y of Delhi , 1969-71;
Honorary professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University,New Delhi, 1976 and Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi,1996 and Civil Servant

1966: Economic Affairs Officer
1966-69: Chief, financing for trade section, UNCTAD
1972-74: Deputy for India in IMF Committee of Twenty on International Monetary Reform
1977-79: Indian delegation to Aid-India Consortium Meetings
1980-82: Indo-Soviet joint planning group meeting
1982: Indo-Soviet monitoring group meeting
1993: Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Cyprus 1993: Human Rights World Conference, Vienna

Working Experience [Government Positions]:
1971-72: Economic advisor, ministry of foreign trade
1972-76: Chief economic advisor, ministry of finance
1976-80: – Director, Reserve Bank of India; Director, Industrial Development Bank of India;
– Alternate governor for India , Board of governors , Asian Development Bank;
– Alternate governor for India, Board of governors, IBRD
– November 1976 – April 1980: Secretary, ministry of finance (Department of economic affairs);
– Member, finance, Atomic Energy Commission ; Member,finance, Space Commission
April 1980 – September 15, 1982: Member-secretary, Planning Commission
1980-83: Chairman, India Committee of the Indo-Japan joint study committee
September 16, 1982 – January 14 , 1985: Governor, Reserve Bank of India..
1982-85: Alternate Governor for India, Board of governors, International Monetary Fund
1983-84: Member, economic advisory council to the Prime Minister
1985: President, Indian Economic Association
January 15 , 1985 – July 31, 1987: Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission
August 1, 1987 – November 10, 1990: Secretary-general and commissioner, south commission, Geneva
December 10 , 1990 – March 14, 1991: Advisor to the Prime Minister on economic affairs
March 15, 1991 – June 20, 1991: Chairman, UGC
June 21, 1991 – May 15, 1996: Union finance minister
October 1991: Elected to Rajya Sabha from Assam on Congress ticket
June 1995: Re-elected to Rajya Sabha
1996 onwards: Member, Consultative Committee for the ministry of finance
August 1, 1996 – December 4 , 1997: Chairman, Parliamentary standing committee on commerce
March 21, 1998 onwards: Leader of the Opposition, Rajya Sabha
June 5, 1998 onwards: Member, committee on finance
August 13, 1998 onwards: Member, committee on rules
Aug 1998-2001: Member, committee of privileges 2000 onwards: Member,
executive committee, Indian parliamentary group
June 2001: Re-elected to Rajya Sabha
Aug 2001 onwards: Member, general purposes committee
2004: Prime Minister of India

India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth -Clarendon Press, Oxford University , 1964;
also published a large number of articles in various economic journals .

Adam Smith Prize , University of Cambridge, 1956
Padma Vibhushan , 1987
Euro money Award, Finance Minister of the Year, 1993;
Asia money Award, Finance Minister of the Year for Asia , 1993 and 1994

Chief Executive of Pakistan

Title: President of Pakistan
Name: Asif Ali Zardari

EDUCATION /Qualification:
High School from Cadet College Petaro
Details of higher formal education not known; Claims graduation from London but not available to be verified. As per some account. His official biography says he attended a commercial college called Pedinton School . But a search of tertiary educational institutions in London showed no such school.

Working Experience:
Early days: Working at the family owned Bambino Cinema at Karachi . Some accuse Mr Zardari of small-time ticket frauds to steal money from the family business.
Up till 1987 (marriage to the future Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto): No record.
1988 to date: While no official record of any business exists, Mr Zardari is widely believed to be one of the (if not the) richest man in Pakistan . An unofficial list of family owned businesses, property and accounts exists but the completeness of the same cannot be verified. Mr Zardari has however been involved in various national and international cases relating to his businesses. The most significant European cases are a Swiss money-laundering inquiry and a British civil cases.

Working Experience [Politics]:
1988-1990: Husband of the Prime Minister
1993–1996: Minister of Environment during his wife’s second term as the Prime Minister
Un till 1999: Senator
30 December 2007: Appointed himself as the co-chairman of the PPP, along with his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
September 9, 2008: Zardari was elected president of Pakistan . Sworn in by Abdul Hameed Dogar, whose position as the Chiefe Justice of Pakistan remains a contested issue by an overwhelming majority of the Pakistani legal fraternity.

Working Experience [Other]:
Other experience of Mr Zardari includes his widely believed but not proven involvement in
- Several murders – most famously of his brother in law, possibly his wife
- Wrapping a bomb to the leg of a famous UK businessman to ask for money
- Embezzlement & looting of Billions of Pakistan’s wealth

None on record

Marrying the then future and now ex (RIP) Prime Minister of Pakistan
Only serving politician to have spent 10 years in Jail
Told the US VP Candidate that she is “gorgeous” and said : “Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you”. When the photographers asked the two to keep shaking hands, he replied : ” If he insists, I might hug you”. This was one day after the President delivered an emotional speech at the UN in new York waiving a photograph of his deceased wife only months after the murder of his wife.

Posted by anju2008 | Report as abusive

@Hi! I just came here after i found an incoming link to my blog site which has been mentioned here in few comments. I had to read all the thread and i wonder why my neighbors only believe in limited exposure to information. On the same Pro-Pakistan site you can find loads of such discussion about the true face of Indian hypocrisy.
- Posted by M Junaid Khan

Mr Khan:
I am the culprit for posting the link from your blog. I was posting in relation to the ongoing discussion and I wanted to give Pakistani POV on political instability. It appears Indian rhetoric is music to your ears. Now Mr. non-hypocritic Khan: I am not going to post each and irrlevant article on your blog. You are a true representation of intrusive-media of pakistan. Such a blasphemy on my part to post that link, but I am lucky not to be in Pakistan.

Now I saw the new link on India, You are working hard–keep it up. You exagerated some facts and missed some. Go find out. It is pity that you are begging to be cited and it does not work that way. If you curb your impatience and see some posts from Indian bloggers, you will find that Indian side has also been covered.

Presenting facts is one thing, but glorifying negatives of India, and getting satisfaction out of that, will take Pakistan down faster than it already is happening. Now for your reference India has many positives that offset these negatives and IMHO Pakistan is quite bankrupt that way.

Khuda Hafiz

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Mr. Junaid Khan,

I do agree with the article written in this link. In India we are dealing with these problems. We know there are a huge number of children malnurished in India. However, you cannot force people to NOT have children because there are too many already. I saw, last year, on You Tube a story of a Pakistani woman who walked infront of a train with her 2 children because she could not afford to feed them.

Yes, India spends a lot of money on defence projects. That is due to the threats we have from Pakistan (covert or otherwise) and Bangladesh. Kargil and Mumbai attacks are contributing factors.

However, you have to admit having a blog called pro pakistan and listing (correctly or otherwise) some of India’s problems does make it look like an inferiority complex is at work – or plain frustration that India is reguarded as a better place than Pakistan by the worlds media.

Bollywood movies are Bollywood movies. They are an escapism. People go to the movies to be entertained and not to have the realities that surround their everyday lives thrown in their faces.

Its as if you want to show how rosy, pretty, gentile Pakistan is by listing all things negative about India.

If Pakistan is so great then:
Stop begging the world for aid.
Remove all terrorism camps from Pakistan.
Sort out your economy.
($1 = 80.2 Pak Rupee)
($1 = 501.3 Ind Rupee)

If you do this then maybe, just maybe other nations will feel safe to come and play cricket and for tourism.
Maybe, just maybe foreigners from China, Poland, the UN and other countries will not be kidnapped and lose their heads.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

M Junaid Khan
“On the same Pro-Pakistan site you can find loads of such discussion about the true face of Indian hypocrisy.”

— The sources from which you’ve quoted are all Indian, wonder who qualifies as a hypocrite?

What’s most amusing is the response to the question posed by you on your pro-pakistan blogsite –
” Are you still proud to be an Indian?”
you- “I certainly am not…blah blah”

—who cares! we are already done with you guys way back in 1947,you’ll are no longer ‘Indian’can’t you’ll still digest this fact- layoff! & give those no-arm race sermons to your own people.
“We started a new series with the title of “Incredible India”
—Look!inspite of all it’s short-comings- even a India-hate-filled paki like you can’t think of anything better, with regards to this advanced, ancient & spiritual civilization called -India, but to term it as ‘Incredible India’.

Posted by anup | Report as abusive

India makes world’s cheapest car , Pakistan makes world’s cheapest terrorist

Posted by anju2008 | Report as abusive

why do i always find indians on anything related to pakistan?

this article was all about pakistan’s civil society yet again all the indians can wanna do it tell the world how great their own country is and how bad we are…

you know what… even if india was infact the best country in the world i would still rather choose to be a Pakistani!

stop telling the world that there is nothing wrong with India and everything is wrong with Pakistan…

get a life indians… and move on from Pakistan.. we are here to stay!

Posted by Danish | Report as abusive

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