Sunday, April 20, 2014

In Pakistan, the state is the problem!

In Pakistan, the state is the problem: How and Why? See the two pictures below; there are many a such happening daily:



[The News, Lahore: April 9, 2014]

Monday, April 14, 2014

Senators or free-riders

Here is what the upper house of the Pakistani parliament is interested in:

Greener pastures
Senators seek equal share in foreign trips


See the The Express Tribune of April 14, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My new book, "Pakistan's Democratic Impasse: Analysis and the Way Forward" published / released

Here is the media release:


Media Release:

New book - “Pakistan’s Democratic Impasse” published

The book indicts politicians as the main culprit for failing the state of Pakistan

The book falsifies the myth of blaming the Pakistan Army for the ills Pakistanis facing

Author argues constitution authorizes politicians to rule, not the Army

Lahore April 8, 2014: Alternate Solutions Institute released today Dr. Khalil Ahmad's new book, Pakistan’s Democratic Impasse – Analysis and the Way Forward. Already this in 2012 and this February, he has published three books, "Pakistan Mein Riyasti Ashrafiya Ka Urooj" (The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan, February 2012), “Siyasi Partian Ya Siyasi Bandobast: Pakistani Siyasat Ke Pech-o-Khum Ka Falsafiyani Muhakma” (Political Parties Or Political Arrangements: A Philosophical Critique of the Intricacies of Pakistani Politics, July 2012), and, Pakistani Kashakash: Tehleel-O-Tadeel aur Aagay Barhany ka Rasta (Pakistani Armageddon: Analysis, Resolution and the Way Forward, February 2014).

The book elaborates the above-stated position which the author took in three of his books and in a number of articles already published in newspapers and on his blog (www.NotesFromPakistan.blogspot.com). He holds that after so many stumbles through the 65 years of its existence, Pakistan has finally come to be: a government of the criminals, by the criminals, for the criminals. He singles out politicians as the main and the lone culprit not only for failing the citizens of Pakistan, but betraying their trust also.

The author says his book derives its rationale and insight from a reading of the constitution of Pakistan which considers the fundamental rights and the articles protecting these rights and freedoms as the core value of the constitution. His book looks beyond those articles and books, or that specific approach, which analyzes the democratic failure of Pakistan in a historical, sociological, economic, or political perspective only or in a way combining them all, and tries to see the history, sociology, economics and politics of Pakistan with an eye focused on the scheme of things the constitution of the country put in place to run the state of Pakistan.

Also, the author has tried to see the past, present and future role of politicians or political parties and Pakistan Army through the lens of the constitution, and thus his standpoint which is unprecedented and goes against the prevailing wisdom of putting the responsibility for the failure democratizing the society of Pakistan wholly and solely on the shoulders of Pakistan Army, may seem pleading the innocence of those Generals who imposed Martial Laws and disfigured the constitution; however, this book in addition to castigating the anti-constitutional acts of the Generals of the Pakistan Army holds that it is the inherent inability of the political civilian governments which did not prosecute and punish them, and in that sense vehemently censures
that approach of absolving the politicians totally as unconstitutional and derisive to the constitutional manner of bringing order in a society.

The author concludes that his book not only sees bits of an already delayed indictment of the Pakistani politicians, but an opportunity also to conduct, on the basis of the same book, a thorough political audit of the performance of the political leaders and the political parties as the sole culprit who misled the political evolution of Pakistan, and constantly breached the trust of the citizens of Pakistan, as a result of which people of Pakistan were deadlocked into an impasse with no way out or forward to live their life as they wish but to live in servitude to the politicians.

In addition to suggesting ways to overcome this impasse, the author says that by putting all the burden of failures on politicians, constitutionalism and civilian supremacy in Pakistan may be strengthened, and this in due course will bring rule of law as an established norm in the country, and will bring a political culture never ready to tolerate any unconstitutional acts of any actors and flouters of the law of the land, and thus will ultimately help prepare ground not only for a decriminalized democratic polity but for democratic culture and values also to take root and flourish, overcoming the Pakistan’s chronic democratic impasse.

The author of the book, Dr. Khalil Ahmad, has been teaching Philosophy, and presently is mainly devoted to Political Philosophy. He is one of the founders of the Alternate Solutions Institute, a think tank dedicated to the strengthening of fundamental rights and rule of law in Pakistan. His most important works are "Pakistan Mein Riyasti Ashrafiya Ka Urooj" (The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan), and "Charter of Liberty.”

For more information, contact the Institute at: Email: info@asinstitute.org

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Renaissance for Reforms - Introducing a new book

Here is an introduction of a new book, "Renaissance for Reforms," by its authors, Nima Sanandaji and Stefan Folster:


Introducing “Renaissance for Reforms”

The recipe for growth is well-known. Most economists would agree that lower taxes and less regulation can encourage entrepreneurship and job creation. Yet, many governments are unwilling to introduce such reforms. An important reason is concern over a voter backlash. Jean-Claude Juncker, a likely candidate for the EU-presidency after two decades as Luxemburg’s Prime Minister, famously lamented “We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it.” Based on an analysis of 109 governments in developed countries, we would suggest that Juncker’s view is mistakenly gloomy. Although market-oriented reforms may initially meet fierce resistance, governments that introduce them are more often than not rewarded by voters. 

In our new book “Renaissance for Reforms,” we look at the pace and direction of reforms in 29 OECD governments between the mid-1990s and the end of 2012. We base our analysis on the Heritage and Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, which annually ranks nations according to parameters such as freedom from corruption, freedom for investments and respect for property rights.  We ask two simple questions: How did the level of economic freedom in these countries actually change according to the Index of Economic Freedom? And were the governments that reformed more often re-elected or not?

After controlling for the levels of unemployment during the year of election and the year of possible re-election, we examine if these factors are related. In contrast to Juncker’s views, we find that the governments that increased economic freedom most were also most likely to become re-elected. Perhaps even more surprising is that this trend is driven by governments on the left. 

Center-right governments that were re-elected increased economic freedom only marginally more on average compared to center-right parties that lost re-election. Governing parties on the left, which lost their bid for re-election, constitute the least reform-oriented group. Left governments that won however increased economic freedom at a 60 percent higher pace than the average center-right governments. 

For example, during Tony Blair’s first term from 1997 to 2001 the economic freedom score in the UK increased by 1.2 points. True to Tony Blair’s reputation as a champion of New Labour’s moderate policies, the economic freedom score of the country increased by 1.6 points during his second term. Based on this track-record, Labour managed to win a third election, during which Blair handed over power to his more left-leaning rival Gordon Brown. As the leadership changed, so did the direction of reform. Between 2005 and 2010 the United Kingdom’s economic freedom fell by 2.7 points. The next election was won by the conservatives. 

A commonly held view is that parties on the right introduce market reforms in order to boost growth, whilst those on the left mainly reduce economic freedom and aim to spread the wealth through welfare systems. In fact, countries that have successfully increased their levels of competitiveness have seen both sides of politics pulling in the same direction. Bob Hawke, former leader of the Australian Labor Party led his party to four consecutive victories in 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1990 based on wide ranking economic liberalizations. Paul Keating, the reformist treasurer under Hawke, took over party leadership and won a fifth victory in 1993, in an election initially thought to be unwinnable for Labor. Since then both conservative and left governments in Australia have continued on the path of market reform. The end result is more than two decades of consecutive growth. 

Similarly, Canada was in very bad shape when Paul Martin, minister of finance in the newly elected left-liberal government, took office in 1993. The government made the difficult choice of market reforms, focusing on reduced spending through action such as abolishing transport subsidies for farmers as well as market liberalizations and lower taxation. Many interest groups objected to the changes. And yet, the Canadian Liberal party won a second term in 1997. The party campaigned on the promise to continue to cut the federal deficit, thereby creating a budget surplus which would allow tax cuts as well as repayment of Canada’s national debt. After another term of reformist policies, the liberals managed to win the elections again in 2000. In 2003 Paul Martin took over the reins and won yet another re-election. Conservative governments have since built upon the same policies, transforming Canada into North America’s new free market role model. 

Why is it that governments on the left in particular can be rewarded by introducing market reforms? One explanation might be that this attracts centrist or even right-wing voters to the left. Another is that leftist governments can couple market reforms with social features. A research survey by the OECD observes that when markets are opened up, competition often leads to higher employment. This tends to increase income equality, since those who would otherwise not work, or work only part-time, will raise their income. The same reforms can also help those with high productivity to raise their income compared to others, which instead will lead to higher income inequality. Hence, market liberalizations can lead to lower or higher equality, depending on which of these two factors come to dominate. There are good reasons to combine market oriented reforms with policies that strengthen the less well-off in society, such as strengthening publicly funded school programs.

Today many governments are wary of reforms. Change is seen as unwanted in the short term, and politically difficult to implement. This can explain why some governments in particularly Southern Europe are stuck on a path to failure. A common view is that “Juncker’s curse” will doom governments that are bold enough to change the status quo by cutting government handouts or liberalizing the economy. Our analysis of recent history shows that this impression is mistaken. Change is anything but easy to introduce, but can prove popular in the long term by boosting growth and employment.  Of course, policies must always be adjusted to the particular needs of each individual country. 

Pakistan has historically relied much on trade and enterprise for its prosperity. Currently however ranks as the 126th freest nation on the Index of Economic Freedom. The country’s score is both below that of the world average and the regional average. In some areas, such as fiscal policy and government spending, Pakistan already has good conditions for a well-functioning market economy. Also business and monetary policies score high. The hindrances to development are mainly found in corruption and lack of protection for private property. By strengthening market economic institutions greater wealth and job opportunities can be created for the broad public, whilst funds are generated for social programs. Such institutional changes will take time and political will to introduce. But once in place, they can influence long term competitiveness and prosperity.  

[Nima Sanandaji, PhD at the Royal Institute of Technology and policy analyst. Stefan Fölster, Professor of economics at the Royal Institute of Technology, and director of the Reform Institute. The authors have written the new book, “Renaissance for Reforms” which is co-published by Timbro and the Institute of Economic Affairs.]

Saturday, March 8, 2014

How civilized Pakistan's culture is!

How civilized Pakistan's culture is!

Pakistani newspapers and the Political Trash

Pakistani newspapers are as a rule full of Political Trash. Here are some of my tweets highlighting the issue:

January 13:

Pakistani newspapers keep on publishing the political trash, which is recycled every five years or when the governments change hands!

March 6:
In case one morning all the politicians are dead, what political trash will the Pakistani newspapers publish the next morning!

March 8:
Read regularly local newspapers, and International New York Times, and see the political trash continuously flooding the Pak newspapers!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A new category emerges: Very Bad Taliban

Today's tweet:

Despite shifts in security policy, there are Good Taliban, and Bad Taliban; friend Raza says, a new category has emerged, Very Bad Taliban