Lessons Pakistan can learn from Turkey and Egypt

In  recent years, and decades, the Islamic world has seen various military interventions in the political affairs of Muslim countries. Pakistan, Algeria, Turkey and the recent events in Egypt are just a few of the many. This highlights one thing: democracy hasn’t taken roots in most of these countries. In Islamic countries, democratic GOVT are toppled frequently, reasons presented are sometimes their incompetence (even if popular) and in some case their lack of popularity and support (even if competent). Following is a list of things that Pakistan can learn from the recent coup in Egypt and the mass protest against the authoritarian rule of Erdogan in Turkey.

  1. Never celebrate a coup: while most of us would remember the images of ignorant Pakistanis distributing Mithai (sweets), when elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had two third majority in parliament, was sacked by general Musharraf. In Egypt only few thousands cheered the sacking of Morsi and even better, thousands made it to the streets to support him and raise their voice against the unlawful coup by the army.
  2. Believe in democracy: people of Egypt got a very short opportunity to taste democracy, though not in the best form, but still there they are standing up for their leader and condemning the people who intend to sabotage it.
  3. Few would have thought that Nawaz Sharif will make a comeback in the country’s mainstream politics, but here he is the third time prime minister, and the only one in the country to hold this record. How? Because of democracy.
  4. Democratic leaders have to take tough decision, yet it’s imperative that they don’t lose their popularity.
  5. One big problem faced by countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey and Algeria is the civil-military power imbalance. Obviously if the GOVT is corrupt, not making the right decisions, instead of improving the economic conditions in the country it degrades it, not able to solve problems but instead adds to the problems, it will ultimately lose the support of its people. If the GOVT wants to stay in power and shift the civil-military power imbalance in its favor, there is one only way of doing that: solve critical problems that are crippling the country and spur economic development. This will not only help GOVTs stabilize its own position but will also restore the faith of people in its GOVT and indirectly in democracy.  This is what exactly happened in the case of Turkey. Just like Pakistan, their armies had frequent interventions in their political affairs, but since Erdogan has spurred economic growth and was also able to solve key problems; he is able to look everybody in the eye and is holding the office for the third consecutive time.
  6. Democracy doesn’t take routes and solves problems in just one year (or a few years for that matter). It is a process that slowly but persistently results in the development of a country. As a wise person said once, “democracy needs four consecutive elections, after every GOVT completing its term”.

Politics 2.0: Imran Khan’s triumph through the social media

2012 is fast approaching. Everything is changing fast, at the speed of light and politics is no exception. Gone are the days when political parties and candidates used to communicate with their potential voters only through public gatherings, because now is the time of Social media.

What we have seen in the previous couple of years is a real change in the way politics are done in Pakistan.  Now presence of almost all the major parties and its candidates can be observed on twitter, Facebook and Youtube. What it shows is a change in the mindset of the political parties. there is a complete paradigm shift in politics, now the political parties realize that the voter in Pakistan is far more politically aware than let’s say what they were a couple of decades back.

Use of social media in politics is not unprecedented, the recent uprising in the Arab world started from the social media and perhaps the same is happening in Pakistan. Although the movement and uprising, in Pakistan, might not be as troublesome as it was in the Arab world. A common perception was that advocates of various issues and causes on the social media would hardly do anything for the same issues on the ground, but recent developments proved otherwise.

Couple of months back PTI and Imran Khan launched a social media movement Jaag Utho, which means Wake up, on various platforms like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. The basic purpose of starting this movement was to interact with and mobilize the youth of Pakistan, and PTI is very successful in achieving its goal.  The recent public gatherings of PTI in Lahore and Karachi clearly show the penetration Imran Khan and his party has achieved, to a great deal, through the social media. What social media does is, it leverages interaction, and that’s what PTI has done. It has interacted successfully with the public and especially with the youth of Pakistan. It shows the start of a new phenomenon, Politics 2.0 which means that now politics would be done online through social media, instead of spending billions on promotions and demonstrations fewer bucks would be spent on social media to achieve greater results.

Others are also following in the footsteps of PTI in launching their own social media movements and that clearly shows the power of social media. After the successful public gathering in Lahore and Karachi compelled the Sharifs and Co. to start taking the social media seriously and not overrule its role. The current trend would bring almost all the parties to follow and that would do one thing, only concise and clear messages would bring in more followers. So in the coming future, for the projection of ideas, we would see the parties giving more importance to the social media and more money would be spent on online political activities.

Our tainted Politicians

Daily I think about the politicians of our country, the pain and emotion that they bring in their speeches and discussions make them top class actors in my opinion. Even actors like Al Pacino and jack Nicholson can’t compete with them when it comes to be emotional and to be emphatic.

Like the character of a Hollywood copied Indian movie, the people of our country also forget things very quickly. If am not wrong Nawaz Sharif is the same person who signed a deal with Musharraf to be allowed comfortable life in Saudi Arab, he is the same person who attacked Supreme court and whatever he did to Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah is not hidden, he is the same person who looted nation’s money by the ” karz utharo mulk sanwaro” scheme. It amazes me to look at this fact that our people forget these things so quickly. These are some of the un-washable stains on Nawaz Sharif’s very neat and clean clothes.

The persona that Nawaz Sharif is portraying and the paragon that he is showing is only a facade. I don’t think Nawaz Sharif is sleepless at nights because of the poor state of our country.

One person who really disappointed me is “Imran Khan”, i thought he can be the next ZAB (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) in some areas and that he will be able to strengthen his party at the grass root level and then will be in a position to bring about some kind of change but to me that is very unlikely to happen. Imran Khan is also now a part of right wing politicians. I do not see any difference between other right wing politicians and Imran Khan. Together all these right wing hypocrites are trying to hold this country in abeyance.

I am a strong supporter of a strong and free judiciary but not at cost of a Martial Law. It has been only one year that we have gotten rid of the Martial Law and these Selfish and bigot politicians are again pushing this country to the acme of agitation and lawlessness.  There can be a peaceful solution to this whole drama instead of playing for themselves and damaging the country. At least they should realize that if this country exist only then can they play these gimmicks and play politics.

Our hoggish politicians’ didn’t learn anything from the sagas of 1971, 1977 and 1999. The reinstatement of judges looks more like a political gimmick rather than a fight for morality.

Alas! our politicians always rubbed their hands after doing disastrous damages to Pakistan, we can only hope that it doesn’t happen again.

In hope of “Change”

Change, a slogan as we heard it and read it everywhere. Everybody is hoping for change whether an American national or we Pakistani who are directly affected by any step taken by the American administration. hope is imperative for living. That’s why we should hope.

Obama who is carrying a plethora of crisis and problems on his shoulder, inherited from the Bush’s administration will face a daunting task after he has assumed the office of American President. First things that he has do it is to change the people’s perception about America, the image which is continuously sinking and shattering.

Obama has to re brand his nation. Change has to be brought in America’s image, it should be portrayed and believed as a peace loving and peace believing country. Policies regarding Muslim countries has to be reviewed. America is right now involved in killing of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, people in Pakistan’s tribal belt through drone attacks and the killing of innocent people by it nearest and dearest ally Israel.

A change can be felt keeping in mind his first few decisions. Now we can hope that he brings change in the real sense instead of limiting this slogan to only words.

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