Tuesday, 17 May 2011

"Feudalism" & Discretion being the worst part of governance

 Kashmala Tariq of PML  fame (now like minded group), quipped once, that the Pakistan Muslim League consisted off "Legharis, Mazaris and bazaaris". She probably has a point (note she sided with half of faction three), but her urban Lahori self was also taking a dig at the oldest bogeyman in Pakistan. No not the military establishment that has ruled (sic) the country for much of its existence. The greatest evil of them all, worse then RAW, worse then MOSSAD/CIA ..the Feudals! Still in the spirit of there being no smoke without fire..

From 1947 to 1970, 75 per cent of the members of our parliaments were feudals and the remaining 25 per cent who owed their parliamentary career to their place and position in the services and professions, had also come from a feudal background. The feudal families which had been discarded by the electorate in the impartial elections held in 1970 by General Yahya Khan returned to the assemblies in  the non-party basis elections held by General Zia in 1985. Landowners captured 117 seats out of 219 contested seats while 42 went to businessmen.
 The Enigma of Military Rule in Pakistan  By Dr. Ahmad Faruqui

 I don't know the stats for the 1988 to 2008 parliaments but I suspect they would show a gradual shift towards a more urbanised, nouveau riche set of politicians. These are the predominantly Punjab based "the "class of 1985" (those elected in Zias 1985 partyless elections) and the 2001 Musharraf local governments election. The former group is now fading away, there are only a handful examples of this left in this Parliament. The best examples are Yusuf Raza Gilani, Hashmi and Chaudhry Nisar. The latter generation is best exemplified by Azam Swati, Amir Muqam and Mustafa Kamal. The first two are an example of "business mullahs" and the last rehabilitated the MQMs reputation.

You would imagine these changes would be good for Pakistani society, but this new class of politicians has not destroyed the old system. It has supplanted the old system, they have many authoritarian aspects and dispense patronage like the old generation "feudals". The effects the overall quality of debate in parliament...which leads me to my next excerpt

FAFEN also documents the actual time spent on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. In contrast to the relatively high levels of participation observed, Members’ attendance was low throughout the Session. An average of only 60 Members were present at the beginning of each sitting, and 71 at the adjournment of each sitting.The Prime Minister attended all but one sitting, being present for a total of 762 minutes, or only 23% of the total session time.The Leader of the Opposition was absent during six sittings, being present for 905 minutes or 27% of the total session time. The Deputy Speaker chaired the proceedings for 88% of the session time, while the remaining 12% of session time was presided over Members of the Panel of Chairpersons. The Speaker, on the other hand, was absent during the entire session. The MMAP’s Parliamentary Leader did not attend the any of the sittings. The Parliamentary Leader of the PPPS attended 18 sittings, or nearly all of the session’s sittings; the Parliamentary Leader of the NPP attended 13 sittings, the PML’s five sittings, and the MQM’s four sittings.The Parliamentary Leaders of the ANP and PMLF attended only three sittings each.
                                                                                          - FAFEN Feb 6 2011

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