The greedy political entrepreneurs of India and Pakistan

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by JAISWAL, Aug 26, 2014.


    JAISWAL Senior Member Senior Member

    Mar 13, 2010
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    The greedy political entrepreneurs of India and Pakistan

    Imran Khan and Arvind Kejriwal made utopian politics respectable again. They fell flat when confronted with the realities of governance


    Let us give credit where credit is due. Imran Khan just showed us the real strength of Indian democracy. Much like Khan, our own political adventurer Arvind Kejriwal began (and continues) his political journey, trying to be a disruptive force. Both professed commitment to a good cause, made several naïve voters believe they are sincere and different from other politicians, and when given a chance to prove their worth, threw it away because matching actions with rhetoric is always tough. The crucial difference, however, is that Khan is in a position to cause real damage to Pakistan while the strength of India’s democracy can accommodate and ignore the antics Kejriwal indulged in his 49 days in power. More than a year after Pakistan’s national elections, Khan is yet to reconcile himself with its results and like a child who will not listen to reason, insists that the country’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif resign, all because of his whim. On 14 August, Pakistan’s Independence Day, Khan began his protest march from Lahore towards Islamabad. In the last one year, Khan has spent more time protesting against the election results which made Sharif the prime minister than doing anything meaningful for the development of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province where his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is in power. Funnily, his claims of election rigging are not directed towards the province where he won. Maybe some superior, unbiased electoral machinery operates there. Khan’s statements in the last two weeks have ranged from the bizarre to deeply worrying. Here are three of the most remarkable ones: 1) He has asked citizens to stop paying taxes and bills. He is wantonly advocating mass civil disobedience for his narrow political objectives. 2) He has said he will get married in Naya Pakistan (yes, he feels a new Sharif-free Pakistan would be conducive to his getting married). 3) From issuing ultimatums to the prime minister to resign every two days, he has gone on to demand that he resign for a period of 30 days. Khan proposes that during this time, an independent judicial commission ascertain whether elections were indeed rigged and if they find this to be false, Sharif can go back to being the prime minister as if nothing has happened. As far as political experiments go, the last one takes the cake. It also makes it most obvious that Khan is either genuinely dim to believe that asking a duly elected Prime Minister to take a leave of absence is normal or that his obsession to become the prime minister has clouded his judgment. Hard to decide which is the lesser evil here. For, if by some miraculous happenstance, Khan does become the prime minister of Pakistan one day, it can’t be ruled out that throwing whims and fits will be his way of governing Pakistan, one of the most difficult places in the world. For a country which has just started a difficult journey towards making democracy a norm rather than exception, Khan is very bad news. His antics have made Sharif lean on the army. This, of course, comes at a price: the army wants more power sharing between the civilian government and the military. The tragedy of Pakistan is that a civilian government has to depend on the military to ensure its longevity. Trying to make a difference In all democracies, there exists a gap between what citizens want and what governments deliver. There is no novelty in claiming that one can bridge this gap. That is what all politicians do. Both Khan and Kejriwal have been successful in taking this claim to utopian levels, packaging it in terms of selfless service to the masses, making it believable and then falling flat on their faces when confronted with the realities of providing governance. The reason? They were no different from other politicians to begin with. They were probably worse. A regular politician knows the limits of what a government can do. Khan and Kejriwal think a government can do anything defying political and economic sense. Like most who join politics, all they ever wanted was a share in the power pie. Which is why Kejriwal gave up chiefministership of Delhi in the hopes of becoming the prime minister and Khan is ignoring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the hope of unseating Sharif. Fortunately, there are no shortcuts to success, even in politics of rousing masses to a high pitch. When the likes of Khan and Kejriwal fall from grace, the fall is steeper because their claims of being different were that much more exaggerated. Foresight and persistence are the markers of a good leader. The political “disruptors” of India and Pakistan are far from such practical ideas. Global Roaming runs every Tuesday to take stock of international events and trends from a political and economic perspective.

    Read more at: The greedy political entrepreneurs of India and Pakistan - Livemint

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