Post-floods assesment of Pakistan - Political implications

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ejazr, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Post-deluge Pakistan – The Acorn

    At the risk of being entirely wrong, here is an assessment of the political implications of floods in Pakistan.

    1. Fears of Pakistan ending up as a “failed state with nuclear weapons” are overblown. The disaster is unprecedented and the response understandably inadequate but it does not set off an explosive dynamic along political faultlines.

    2. Political changes are unlikely. The disaster has further cemented the army’s popularity, allowing it to claim credit for the government’s successes (for it is a part of the government) but avoid the blame for the failures (which accrue to the civilian political leadership). Given the immense challenge of rehabilitation and reconstruction that lies ahead, General Ashfaq Kayani would have to be a conceited fool–which so far at least, he has shown no signs of being–to want to countenance a change in the political set-up. A weak, powerless and unpopular President Asif Zardari is just what he needs. Nawaz Sharif’s hopes to become the prime minister are unlikely to fructify before the next election because he is popular, has political weight and could challenge General Kayani’s hold on power.

    3. Pakistan will not only receive debt waivers but also see a relaxation of conditions relating to financial assistance. While this will come as a relief for the government and the elite, it will weaken the endogenous factors that will aid recovery by delaying the implementation of important macro-economic reforms. It will also ensure the perpetuation of the current political setup because debt waivers and unconditional assistance will come much easier if there’s a facade of a democratic government. Furthermore, given that a significant part of the international assistance will be routed through international agencies and NGOs, it will not strengthen the Pakistani government’s civilian capacity.

    4. Jihadi militant organisations will become more powerful but will not be allowed to increase their political profiles. This disaster, like the 2005 earthquake, is being used by organisations like the Lashkar-e-Taiba to bolster their credentials as a providers of social services. However, to the extent that the Pakistani government will be dependent on international assistance–and it will become more so in the immediate future—the military establishment will not allow such organisations to make a direct play for power. Let’s not forget that the LeT is a surrogate of the Pakistani military establishment, which, if it wants to, can directly seize power in a coup.

    5. The military establishment will use the disaster as an alibi for downgrading its war against the Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan in North Waziristan and elsewhere. Engaging in disaster relief will draw on military resources from the battle against the taliban, but there are deeper reasons for the army’s unwillingness to sustain battle against them. How quickly and to what extent it will resume the fight depends almost entirely on how much the United States can coerce the army.

    6. Pakistan’s support for the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan will not be interrupted. The US will find it difficult in the coming months to press the Pakistan army to cooperate in counter-insurgency operations because of the alibi. The direction of the war in Afghanistan will therefore depend on the Obama administration’s political will and determination.

    7. Pakistan’s domestic stability is set to worsen. In the short-term, resettlement of internally displaced persons will complicate the ethnic and sectarian tensions in cities like Karachi, Hyderabad and Quetta. While this is likely to result in greater violence, it is unlikely to lead to collapse of the state. Instability will place an economic cost on Pakistan, damaging endogenous factors that can aid recovery.

    8. The insurgency in Balochistan is likely to be contained. To the extent that the army is willing to use brute force and targeted killings to keep the lid on the conflict, and to the extent that the Baloch lack outright political support internationally, the prospects of secession are dim.

    9. While radioactivity-leakage risks are low there is some risk to the security of nuclear plants, equipment and material. Such facilities are likely to have been built to withstand such contingencies. However, in the confusion that accompanies such events, there is a higher chance that physical security of nuclear installations can be breached. So far, there are no media reports flood waters affecting nuclear installations.

    10.Disaster relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation will be decently funded. Despite the slow start in fundraising, despite concerns over aid distribution, the international community is unlikely to ignore humanitarian needs during the relief phase. However, it is unclear if the Pakistani government has the inclination and capacity to use the funds and goodwill to sustain its efforts beyond the short-term relief phase into the medium-term rehabilitation & reconstruction phase.

    11. The US will make only small gains in popularity despite playing a leading role in relief and reconstruction. China and Saudi Arabia are likely to make disproportionately large gains. (In the short-term though, the situation is likely to be the opposite, because the narrative will be factual.)

    Tailpiece: Pakistani officials and commentators would do well to avoid using the “unless the world gives money Pakistan will become a nuclear-armed failed state” bogey as it has been used so many times by so many people that it reeks of a shakedown. The humanitarian tragedy is serious enough a reason for well-meaning people and governments around the world to help.
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    contrary to what the tailpiece claims take up any pakistani paper or official's statement basic theme you will find is that,"give us money or militant will take advantage of the disaster".Its the basic negotiating tactics of pakistani military/politico elites by holding gun to its own head,perfected into the art over the 6 decades.Everyone knows where will all this aid will end up.just for the perspective............
    [​IMG]
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    India hands over Rs 90-crore flood relief to Pakistan


    [​IMG]
    Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri (left), India's permanent Representative to the United Nations, hands over a cheque to the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon [ Images ]. Ambassador Abdullah Hossain Haroon (right), permanent Representative of Pakistan is also seen.

    India [ Images ] on Friday handed over a cheque of Rs 90 crore to United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon for relief and rehabilitation of flood-affected in Pakistan, after Islamabad's [ Images ] insistence that the aid be routed through the world body.


    Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Friday handed $20 million to Ban Ki-moon as India's contribution towards the 'Pakistan Emergency Response Plan.'

    The cheque was given to Ban at the UN Headquarters in New York in the presence of the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon.

    The Pakistan Emergency Response Plan has been launched by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The floods, which began in late July, are the worst disaster in living memory for the South Asian nation, resulting in the death of more than 1,000 people and leaving millions homeless.

    While handing over the check, Puri recalled the messages of solidarity, sympathy and support from Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh [ Images ] and the External Affairs Minister, S. M. Krishna to their Pakistani counterparts in the aftermath of the devastating floods that affected parts of Pakistan in August this year.

    "Natural disasters do not respect national boundaries. This is a small, but significant gesture from the highest levels of the Indian Government conveying the message that the people of India stand by the people of Pakistan in their hour of need," Puri said.

    UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said Thursday after a two-day visit to the flood-affected areas that the disaster is unprecedented.

    "Nobody was prepared for such a level of destruction and for such difficult conditions for the people affected," Guterres said.

    The cheque that India gave today is in addition to the $5 million that the Indian Government has already contributed to the World Food Programme for its relief efforts in Pakistan.
     

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