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  #301  
Old Monday, October 08, 2012
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Post Demography and politics

Demography and politics


By Shahid Javed Burki
Published: October 8, 2012



If you look far back into Pakistan’s history, say, to the time when the country was founded, the scope and extent of the demographic change that has occurred in the past several decades becomes evident. In 1947, the year of the country’s birth, what is Pakistan today had a population of 30 million. Of this, only five million people lived in urban areas. By the end of 2012, the size of the population will possibly touch 190 million. Sixty-five years after the country became independent about 40 per cent of the population is urban. In 1947, Karachi had a population of 400,000 people. It is now what demographers call a mega city — contiguous urban clusters with populations of more than 10 million people — with a population of probably 18 million. The city, in other words, accounts for one-quarter of Pakistan’s urban population of 76 million. All this change is awe-inspiring. The population is more than six times larger than its size 65 years ago. The urban population is 15 times bigger. Karachi’s population is 45 times larger. Lahore is now the country’s second largest city having also attained the status of a mega city, with a population 12 times larger than its size at the time of Partition.

In describing this change, I have used a number of qualifiers — ‘possibly’, ‘probably’, ‘perhaps’ and ‘likely’. These lend some uncertainty about the numbers mentioned and the extent of change implied. The reason for making these statements in a tentative way is that the country has not carried out a population census for more than 14 years, exceeding the ten-year interval after which most nations count the number of people who are their citizens. The last time a count was made was in 1998 and that was 15 years after the census of 1981. In fact, in the country’s 65-year history, it has conducted only five population censuses — in 1951, 1961, 1972, 1981 and 1998.

Politics was the main reason for this lack of regularity. Rapid population growth brings about equally rapid economic and social change. This is inevitably reflected in politics. But the Pakistani political structure in spite of the roller coaster it has ridden has one abiding element: it has been dominated by the groups that prefer the status quo over change. Holding censuses on a regular basis would mean incorporating the changes that occurred in the inter-censal periods. This would have altered the political structure in a fundamental way.

According to Article 51(5) of the Constitution, “the seats in the National Assembly shall be allocated to each province, the Federally Administered Tribal Area, and the Federal Capital in accordance with the last preceding census officially published”. Given the enormous demographic change that has occurred would mean a significant shift in political power from the rural to the urban areas. Some simple arithmetic would highlight this point. Given the possible size of the population in 2012 and the likely increase of about five per cent a year in the number of people living in towns and cities, urban areas should have a much larger representation in the national and provincial assemblies. There will also be a shift in power among the various regions in the country. This will be the case in particular for the parts of the country that have been losing a significant number of people through migration. Urbanisation, therefore, is one of the more important demographic changes that are taking place in the country. The urban jump over the last 65 years is two and a half times larger than the increase in overall population. The jump in Karachi’s population is three times higher than in the total growth in urban population. The political system, which is still under development, must reflect these demographic changes.

Let me illustrate this point by taking a closer look at Karachi. The enormous increase in the city’s population is the consequence of three waves of migration. The first brought more than half a million refugees from India over a four-year period between 1947 and 1951, doubling the city’s size. The second wave occurred when the city went through a construction boom to accommodate the federal government and to provide space for rapid industrialisation. This wave brought in people from the country’s northern areas — north Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). It was because of this movement of people that Karachi acquired its Pakhtun colonies. Once these colonies were well established, they attracted new migrants, especially from K-P and the tribal areas — the parts of the country destabilised by the long Afghan wars. This was the third wave of migration. These movements of people brought about one important change: the political mobilisation of the descendants of those involved in the first wave of migration. The Muhajir community has become a potent political force. However, its attempt to carve out political space for itself has resulted in much volatility in the city.

Pakistan will have to find a way of accommodating, within the political structure, the enormously significant demographic changes that have already occurred and those that will occur in the future. The country’s rapid urbanisation and relocation of people through migration are the two most important demographic developments that must be factored into the making of a new political order.

Source: Demography and Politics
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  #302  
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Dispersal and coherence: a challenge



By Shahid Javed Burki

Will the coming elections solve Pakistan’s many economic, political and social problems? The answer to that question will depend on the outlook towards governance on the part of those who are returned to power. The way Pakistan has evolved politically and economically is to allow the few who govern to accumulate in their hands an enormous amount of political authority. It would do well to understand how that has happened: how the past has shaped the present?

To achieve durability for the state, those in power will have to learn to share their authority — to disperse it through the use of various institutions and instruments to the country’s distant corners. This would mean accepting federalism as embedded in the Constitution and by developing political organisations that truly represent the country’s many people. At the same time, this dispersal of authority should be done to retain one state working for one nation. In that context, it will be worth exploring how Pakistan developed a taste for centralised authority in the first place.

Pakistan’s founding fathers, by creating political space for the Muslim community of British India, solved one problem but left a number of others unresolved. The problem that was solved was the perception that the Muslims would not a get a fair deal in a united India. The solution was to create a Muslim homeland and provide those who came to live within the boundaries of the new state, the opportunity to control their own destiny. But what was left unsaid was how this space, once created, would be used to help the citizenry. It was also not clear as to who would be in charge of policymaking in this space. This was to become the dilemma of the Pakistani state. It has preoccupied several generations of leaders in the country’s history.

Two approaches were tried alternatively. The first one was to let policymaking be the responsibility of the people’s representatives. The second one was to allow the self-appointed to guide the affairs of the state. The first meant the adoption of democratic rule; the second was the rule by the bureaucracy, first the civilian, then the military. The first had great merit as has come to be recognised by most communities across the globe. The second was found to be attractive by large segments of the population during periods of great economic stress. With hindsight it can be said that the military left the country in a worse situation from the one it inherited at the time it usurped power. Initially, it did succeed in making the ‘trains run on time’. It brought a degree of coherence during moments of extreme chaos. But each time, it failed in the larger task: to create one nation with one purpose out of diverse people. The military tried four times and failed each time.

The first intervention in 1958 was justified by those who assumed power by pointing to the failure of the civilian leadership that had governed for 11 years without developing a tenable and durable political order. Society then was even more divided than it is today. There were serious differences between the two main regions — East and West Pakistan. There was conflict between those who had arrived from India as refugees and those who were indigenous to the areas that had become parts of Pakistan. A large number of refugees settled in some of the larger cities and gave the urban population a say in politics they never had during the British period. All these differences needed minding, which meant serious delays in defining the political order meant to provide governance in the country. The military leadership concluded that the civilian leadership was not up to the task and intervened.

Up until the military intervention, political leadership was mostly from among those groups that had left their homes in India. The new leaders had little mass support. Had they created a political system as India did after only two-and-a-half years of gaining independence, they would have had to ask for people’s support. That was not there. In that situation of uncertainty, the leadership tried subterfuge to retain power. The result was the gradual surrender of power to those who had learnt governance from being members of the various ‘imperial services’ of British India. The men who rose to the top in various Indian civil services had followed a model of decision-making that relied on the centralisation of authority. The British had used the model successfully for almost a 100 years. A viceroy appointed by London sat on top of an administrative structure that put faith in the efficiency and goodwill of a few. The vernacular term for this approach to governance was ‘mai-baap’ (mother-father): the citizens were the state’s children to be cared for as such.

In its formative years, Pakistan developed a hybrid model of political management and governance. For a little over four years, politicians were clearly in charge. However, after the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, the country’s first prime minister, politicians gradually lost power to the bureaucracy. After Liaquat was killed in October 1951, a new brand of managers emerged. These were bureaucrats-turned-politicians. Their ascent was to leave a lasting impression on the Pakistani political landscape for decades. How that happened will be the subject of the article next week.

Source: Dispersal and Coherence
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  #303  
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Taking power to the people



By Shahid Javed Burki


Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination was to profoundly affect Pakistan’s political development. Those who really governed after the death of Pakistan’s first prime minister were ‘strong men’, the praetorian guards trained to exercise authority over those they ruled. Five of these six were bureaucrats-turned-politicians. The sixth was a politician. With just one break in the 1990s, these men governed for a total of 46 years out of Pakistan’s 61 years during which the search for a durable political order was on. It was only in 2008 that a new political order began to take shape but even then some of the legacies from the old orders were still in evidence.

Liaquat Ali Khan’s death was followed by the ascent to power of two strong men, made possible by the weakness of the political order. The first in line was Ghulam Mohammad, the country’s third governor general who was followed by Iskander Mirza, the fourth governor general and Pakistan’s first president. Liaquat left the political scene without resolving the differences between the refugees who had come from India and were able to dominate politics and the host populations who had numbers on their side. This conflict between the outsiders and insiders was to define Pakistani politics to this day.

The impact on Pakistan’s political development of the way Ghulam Mohammad and Iskander Mirza governed has largely been forgotten. Both were bureaucrats with technocratic flair and trusted those who were similarly inclined. Their dependence on the bureaucracy for wielding and exercising power gave the military the incentive to step in. Insofar as bureaucracies go, the military was much more organised than its civilian counterpart. Two of the strong men — Ayub Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — who followed Ghulam Mohammad and Iskander Mirza, thought it necessary to prescribe a legal framework within which to function. Both wrote new constitutions. The 1962 document unabashedly adopted as its basis a strong centre and limited participation for the citizenry in the working of the government. The 1973 Constitution reflected what the people wanted — a federal system with considerable dispersal of governing authority. However, prime minister Bhutto did not allow the federalist provisions to come into force in the political order he had authored. The original intent of Bhutto’s Constitution became possible 48 years after its promulgation. This resulted from the adoption of the far-reaching Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Whereas Ayub Khan and Bhutto wrote new constitutions, the two strong men who followed them, tinkered with the one they inherited. The fact that neither Ziaul Haq nor General (retd) Pervez Musharraf dared to abrogate the Constitution of 1973 was the fear that such a step would unleash a reaction that may not be controlled. That Constitution, unlike the one adopted in 1956, was the consequence of the exercise of popular will. Amending it to increase the power of the president was considered a feasible option rather than doing away with it altogether.

The adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment was a revolutionary step. It introduced two fundamental changes in the way the country should be governed. It took power away from the president and placed it back with the prime minister and his cabinet. The latter was responsible to parliament. It also provided the country a real federal structure and coming as it did after the issuance of the Seventh National Finance Commission award, it moved a considerable extent of control over public funds to the provinces. The first of these two changes has not produced much change in the way the country is governed. Most of the executive authority resides with the president, who is able to exercise it since he is the undisputed leader of the political party that controls the ruling coalition. The second change is being worked out. Both are important for dispersing power beyond Islamabad and making the provinces partners in the process of governance. Without such devolution, the Pakistani state will remain fragile.

Source: Taking Power to the People
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Default Embrace, not reject the United States

Embrace, not reject the United States



By Shahid Javed Burki
Published: November 4, 2012



Most American news outlets, both print and electronic, carried an item that showed Pakistan to be the only country among a couple of dozen surveyed, which would favour a win in the presidential election by the Republican candidate Mitt Romney. This has confirmed the view of those Americans who have interest in Pakistan and in the area of which it is a prominent player that relations between Islamabad and Washington are now totally ruptured. Much of this antipathy towards Pakistan has been created by the impression that the country is the most serious obstacle in the way of America’s decent and not-costly withdrawal from Afghanistan.
As Vanni Cappelli, president of the Afghanistan Foreign Press Association, wrote in a long letter to The New York Times on October 31 that “the deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan has been the inevitable result of America’s continuation of the very dynamic that led to the September 11 attacks — hefty, decades-long military assistance to Pakistan, which it used to incite proxy militants to crush socio-economic reform at home and commit aggression against its neighbours.” This reading of Pakistan’s recent economic history is not totally accurate but the point is that this kind of thinking is receiving the attention of influential policymaking institutions. Cappelli also offers a solution to what he labels as America’s “Afghan-Pakistan woes”. He suggests: “Continued military and diplomatic engagement in South-Central Asia, with a truer aim of containing Pakistan’s ability to destabilise its neighbours and affecting a transition to real civilian rule there, is our best option. Such a policy would proceed not from triumphalist myopia but from tragic recognition and is the only course that will bring peace and security to Afghanistan, the region and America.”
The treatment meted out, a few days ago, to Imran Khan by the US immigration authorities when the former cricket star and now an influential politician was entering the US from Canada, did not help Pakistan-US relations. This treatment did not create many friends for America in Pakistan. This will further deepen the divide. That is unfortunate for the simple reason that post-Afghanistan withdrawal, Pakistan will need the US more than the US will need Pakistan. After the Americans have pulled out, their interests in Central and South Asia will be better served by maintaining close and friendly relations with Afghanistan and India. The Americans are interested in obtaining access to the fabulous energy and mineral riches of Central Asia. A Pentagon report estimated Afghanistan’s mineral wealth at over a trillion dollars. The Central Asian states have known reserves of gas and oil as well. America’s other geopolitical interest in the area is containing the rising China. That is better served by a close association with India. This logic, therefore, essentially marginalises Pakistan in the eyes of the policymakers in Washington.
But Islamabad must find a way of staying on the right side of America. This is for good economic reasons. For as long as the country is unable to generate a greater amount of domestic resource for investment and for as long as it fails to exploit the riches available from taking what should be its share in expanding international trade, Pakistan will remain dependent on external flows of capital. Foreign savings are needed to close the domestic investment-savings gap, as well as the gap between export earnings and expenditure on imports. In the past, America has played very important roles in helping the country with these two gaps. It has provided both direct assistance, as well as pressured institutions such as the International Monetary Fund to come to Pakistan’s assistance. With the palpable cooling of relations, help from America may not be as readily available as was the case during several balance of payments crises in the past. It is recognised in Pakistan that the country, as it moves towards another general election, will face a new balance of payments crisis. There will be only two ways of solving it. Islamabad could severely tighten its belt and thus slow down even more its tepid rate of growth. Or hope that a large flow of external assistance would be forthcoming to tide over the coming difficulties. The former approach would have serious political and social consequences. The latter approach would need setting relations with America on a less rocky course.
The large and prosperous Pakistani diaspora in the US could be of help as it was in countering the damage done by the Pressler Amendment, named after Senator Larry Pressler from South Dakota. This imposed severe sanctions on Pakistan as Islamabad continued its programme for developing nuclear weapons. At that time, a number of American citizens of Pakistani origin were able to put pressure on the US Senate to pass another amendment, eased the sanctions and eventually restored aid to Pakistan. The Indian diaspora, which is three times the size as the one from Pakistan, is now well-organised to play an important role for their country. Unfortunately, the Pakistani community in the US carries a heavy burden — that of some links with Islamic extremism, which have further eroded its latent political power. Those who have some influence over the making of public opinion must recognise that promoting a better relationship with the US is in the country’s interests. The reverse is not the case.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/460663/e...united-states/
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The Afghan factor in Pakistan’s future


By Shahid Javed Burki
November 12, 2012


None of the standard and respected works on Pakistan’s economy make reference to Afghanistan; for instance, the books by Parvez Hasan and Ishrat Husain on Pakistan’s economic development between 1947 and 1997. The omission seems surprising when we look back at the country’s economy and reflect on its future from the perspective of the closing months of 2012. There is no doubt that Pakistan’s economic future will be heavily influenced by the way Afghanistan settles down after the American pull-out. President Barack Obama’s re-election may even hasten the process. Once the Americans depart, what will they leave behind?

We can contemplate two extreme possibilities, each of which will have enormous consequences for Pakistan. On one end of the probability spectrum, it can be assumed that the country will settle down after the withdrawal of foreign troops. Most of the violence is directed at foreign troops and the Afghans that support them. According to this scenario, various segments of the diverse Afghan society will find a way of working with one another, preferably, within a political framework that will be representative and durable. Once politically settled, the Afghans will begin to rebuild their war-ravaged economy, reduce dependence on foreign support and exploit the country’s enormous mineral potential. A Pentagon study estimated the potential of mineral deposits at one trillion dollars. It covers a number of minerals, including iron, copper, gold and platinum. Some of the mineral veins extend into Pakistan, especially in the country’s south. There is considerable foreign interest in getting to these deposits and foreign involvement will draw Afghanistan even closer to Pakistan.

If we move to the other side of the probability spectrum, a very grim picture could be painted about Afghanistan’s future. According to this, the civil war that followed the pull-out by the Soviet Union will look like a picnic when the United States and its allies leave. The assumption that a very large Afghan force of more than 300,000 soldiers will be able to take charge of security will prove to be highly optimistic. There are already signs that the force that has been built up by the Americans, working with their European allies, may not have the cohesiveness and have it remain loyal to the state. Instead, the moment the American umbrella is removed, we will see this force fracture.

Washington’s promise to pay $1.4 billion a year to sustain a large force will not amount to much after the pull-out is complete. The Americans are faced with a serious fiscal problem, in which all expenditures are being looked at to reduce the enormous burden of debt the economy carries. Providing such a large amount of support to Afghanistan for a long period of time will be one of the first commitments to fall by the wayside. Heavily armed men not certain that they will continue to receive their salaries will begin to seek the support of the numerous warlords in various parts of the country. If the Soviet Union’s departure resulted in a civil war with half a dozen contenders, there will be many more this time around. The conflict among them will be bloodier than the war that ended with the triumph of the Taliban in 1996. This time, the Taliban will be one of the active participants in the fight from the very beginning. The northern and central areas will come under the control of other social and ethnic groups. The Tajiks and the Uzbeks will control the northeast and the groups that have the support of Iran will dominate the west. This possible division of Afghanistan into three parts will create an extremist state right on the border with Pakistan. That state will continue using its ideological force to destabilise the areas south of the border, which will have serious economic and political consequences for the state and the people of Pakistan.

Which way Afghanistan goes will matter for Pakistan. Those who have chronicled Pakistan’s economic past may have overlooked Afghanistan as a contributing factor.

Source: The Afghan Factor in Pakistan's Future
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Women to Pakistan’s rescue



By Shahid Javed Burki
November 19, 2012



Often, it is not realised by those who study Pakistan that the women in the country may be in a position to come to its rescue. Even without any assistance by the state, they will be contributing more than a full percentage point a year to the rate of economic growth in about five years. They have made some extraordinary progress in the last decade. Female literacy has improved, albeit from a low base. Women are doing particularly well in institutions of higher learning. There are now more female than male students in colleges and universities. By 2015, a million well-educated and trained women will be ready to join the workforce. A number of these will get married and start families. But many will also take up jobs in modern sectors of the economy. Even many of those who are not formally in the workforce will be using their time productively, adding to family income by the part-time application of skills they have acquired. Also well-educated mothers are good in bringing up children.
Women now have a significant presence in the national and provincial legislatures. This is one area where General (retd) President Pervez Musharraf should be given full credit. It was as a result of the changes he made in the political order that women were able to increase their number in the legislatures. Women have entered the legislatures not only by being elected to reserved seats but many have won elections from open constituencies. Pakistan is one of the very few countries to have a woman as the speaker of the National Assembly. In a conversation a couple of months ago, with Dr Fehmida Mirza, she proudly pointed out to me her successful initiatives. She has organised a ‘women’s caucus’ in the National Assembly that includes legislators from all political parties. “They have been able to work together, unmindful of the fact that they come from different political organisations”, she said. They have introduced a number of bills aimed at improving women’s welfare.
Women are also occupying leadership positions in non-governmental organisations, especially those dealing with social issues. Combining this work, with what they have begun to do in politics, has made it possible for women to address some of the problems they face in the country. In addition, women have become entrepreneurs in many businesses.
What is impressive about the remarkable progress made by women is that it has resulted mostly from their own initiatives. Women are doing well in education, in large part because several female entrepreneurs established educational institutions which could be conveniently attended by girls with some comfort. Some of the largest school systems in the country, such as the Beacon house Schools, City Schools and Grammar Schools are products of women’s entrepreneurship and the business and pedagogical models for these schools were conceived by them. They provided the initial funding and are also being managed by women. Not only have women worked hard to improve the quality of education girls receive. It is women who are now also at the forefront of the fight against extremists who are dead set against female education. A brave teenager, Malala Yousafzai from Swat, has become the symbol of the struggle being waged by women in a country that is increasingly moving towards an extremist interpretation of Islam. The defiant campaign launched by almost cost her her life. Having survived the attack, she will be a beacon of hope for the Pakistani women.
Pakistan, although headed in that direction, is different in many ways from conservative Islamic societies. Saudi Arabia is a country many Pakistani citizens admire and would like to follow, in terms of its professed moral rectitude. However, it remains hostile towards women exercising their rights. It has failed to accommodate the very women in the work place that the state has paid to educate in foreign universities. There are 17,000 Saudi women studying in American colleges and universities. According to a report, “Saud Arabia has sharply reduced female illiteracy, virtually eliminating it among women ages 15 to 24.” But educated women, even those with foreign degrees are unemployed. “Unemployment among Saudi women who want to work is 34 per cent — almost five times as great as the seven per cent rate for men.”
Pakistani women have better opportunities compared to those in such conservative societies as Saudi Arabia. They are readily able to find jobs. They have also been able to become successful entrepreneurs. Well-educated women don’t come up against the brick wall that others face in several Muslim countries of the Middle East. Pakistani women are doing well in the work place and in the business world. They have established both formal as well as informal firms, in sectors such as education, communication, fashion and micro finance.
The contribution that women have already begun to make to the economy, and are likely to make even more significantly, applies mostly to the urban areas. In the above referred conversation with Dr Fehmida Mirza, she emphasised that women remain economically and socially distressed in the poorer districts of the country. She used Badin, her district in southern Sindh, as an example of how much work women do both inside and outside their homes but in spite of that their economic situation remains poor. Women are advancing but still have a long way to go. Once they achieve their full potential, they will be able to lend a helping hand to rescue Pakistan from its current economic travails.

Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/467638/w...istans-rescue/
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Default The economic benefits of more women in the workforce

The economic benefits of more women in the workforce


By Shahid Javed Burki
December 3, 2012

My previous columns on the contribution Pakistani women could make to the development of the economy invited a number of comments. Some of these were sceptical of the claims I was making. There was an impression on the part of several commentators that I was attempting to be cheerful about one, possibly manufactured, aspect of what is indeed a dismal situation. Those who believe that the economy is going down uncontrollably on a slippery slope are not prepared to look at some of the positives on which a better future could be built. One of them is the role women are poised to play. This is one reason why I am revisiting the subject and providing another way of looking at what women could do for the country’s economy.
One place to start this inquiry is to provide a measure of the cost to the economy of the Pakistani women’s persistent — and it should be emphasised forced — backwardness. A simple calculation will help to underscore the magnitude of this loss. According to the 2011-12 Pakistan Economic Survey, Pakistan’s labour participation rate in mid-2012 was an estimated 32.8 per cent of the total population. This is extraordinarily low when compared to other developing countries. For a population of 181 million, this means the size of the workforce is 59.41 million. Of this, 41.2 million (69.4 per cent) is in the countryside and the remaining 18.2 million is located in the towns and cities. The World Bank estimates Pakistan’s GDP in 2012 at $200 billion. This implies output per worker at a little over $3,400. As explained below, this should be much higher in case women were allowed to participate more fully in the workplace.
Pakistan has one of the world’s youngest populations in the world with a median age of about 22 years. This means that one-half of the population, or 90.5 million, is below that age. A much larger share of this population should be in the workforce. If this were the case, the country would be benefiting from what the economists call the demographic window of opportunity, when the proportion of the working population is much greater than those who are dependent on it. This would be realised if both men and women of working age were able to work. This is not the case in Pakistan. The proportion of men in the workforce is relatively high; 68.6 per cent. That of women is very low; only 31.4 per cent. This means that while 63.5 million men are in the workforce, the number of working women is only 29 million.
This does not mean that millions of women are sitting idly in their homes. In fact, most of them are doing a great deal of housework looking after their children, preparing food for the family, and in the countryside, often tending farm animals. Would getting them out of the house and into the workforce add to the country’s gross output? The answer is, probably yes, if the marginal return to their work in the marketplace is higher than what would be paid to those who would be called in to provide help in the house. This will be the case certainly among the middle-income households in the urban areas. By stepping outside their homes, middle-income women will create opportunities for those women lower down on the income scale. This will produce a ripple effect in the economy or in the language of economics a ‘multiplier’ will get to work.
This brings me to one of the ‘what ifs… ?’ questions about the situation in Pakistan. What would be the impact on the economy — to its size and the rate of growth — if the proportion of women in the workforce reached, not quite the level attained by men, but close to it, say 50 per cent. This would mean an addition of 25 million women to the labour force. This addition to the workforce will have the capacity to add $85 billion to the gross domestic product of $200 billion — an increase of 42.5 per cent. With this increase in the country’s GDP, income per capita will increase from the current $1,100 to $1,575. In other words, women could make a larger contribution to the economy if they are allowed to be part of the workforce. But for that to happen, the society will have to lift the many burdens that weigh down women and prevent them from contributing to the economy.
Women could help in one other way. Much of the contribution made by them to the national output is in low-paying and low-rewards jobs. This is particularly the case in the countryside. No firm estimates are available on gender inequality in terms of per capita income. If we assume that the monetary rewards from the jobs they perform are only three-fourths of that by men, then by narrowing the gap, there would be a significant addition made to the gross domestic product.
The most productive way of making women contribute more to the national product is to improve the level of their literacy and impart them with better skills. This has begun to happen as argued previously in this space. We should, in other words, look positively at some of the changes that are taking place — changes that could ensure a better economic future for the country.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/474164/t...the-workforce/
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Pakistan’s tarred reputation


By Shahid Javed Burki

December 9, 2012

While Pakistan’s dependence on the West for capital and also on receptive markets for its exports continue to increase, the West — in particular the United States — is becoming wary of Pakistan. In a democratic system, what people feel about a country with which it has relations matters. In this context, how Pakistan is viewed by the citizens of the United States acquires considerable importance.
Pakistan’s stagnant exports and the sharp drop in foreign direct investment mean that the country needs large doses of official finance to keep the economy afloat. The capital that is needed can come from two sources. It can be provided by Washington or it can be made available by the multilateral development and financial institutions. In the United States, Congress reigns supreme in money matters. The executive may promise but it is Congress that disposes. Unfortunately for Pakistan, the country’s reputation is not high in that body. As such, the United States will not be able to play in Pakistan’s corner in the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund where Washington has a great deal of influence. It should, therefore, trouble Islamabad that while the country’s senior officials were in Washington holding important discussions on economic matters, two influential publications came out with disturbing stories about Pakistan.
The world has begun to take notice of what it sees as another ugly turn in Pakistan. This is not good for Pakistan and its stressed economy, dependent as they are on external support. However, the country needs a helping hand from abroad, without which it would sink into a deeper hole. Pakistan’s policymakers and the people of Pakistan must realise that the country today does not have the respect of the international community. Two detailed stories in recent days — one in The Economist and the other in The New York Times, brought their readers news about the rise of sectarianism in Pakistan. This has added another dimension to the Pakistani story.

The British journal’s story was about Karachi; that of the American newspaper about Quetta. Reading them together provides a view that is of immense concern for the international community. It is of concern because innocent people are being killed, sometimes in broad daylight and sometimes with the killers making no attempt to hide their identity. The only reason why so many people are being killed is that they profess a different faith than the one to which the killers subscribe. It concerns those who are watching this deteriorating situation that the security forces have not tried very hard to stop the carnage and bring to justice the people who are engaged in it. It is also of concern since the slow disintegration of normal life in two cities, each important in its own way, has begun to showcase what is going wrong in the Muslim world.
Karachi is the nerve centre of the Pakistani economy but is being torn apart by several conflicts among the various components of its fragmented citizenry. The Sindhis, the Muhajir and the Pashtun are fighting for political and economic space. The Islamic radicals, whose numbers have increased significantly because of the influx of tens of thousands of Pashtun from the restive tribal areas, are attempting to force their religious beliefs and cultural norms on the rest of society. This is an unfortunate development for the city’s large and reasonably affluent middle class. Karachi had deservedly earned the reputation of being Pakistan’s most open and modern city. That reputation is being tarnished. According to some observers, Karachi is being Talibanised. If this is the case, it will pose a problem for the United States since its crowded slums will not be within easy reach of the drones, the weapon of choice for America’s counterterrorism efforts. At the same time, a dysfunctional Karachi will add to Pakistan’s many economic woes.

Quetta, the other troubled city, is disturbed by a similar set of problems. Like Karachi, it is also multi-ethnic. Its many diverse communities have come together because of economic and political developments of recent years. Balochistan, of which Quetta is the capital, is rich in mineral resources. One of them, natural gas in Sui, has been fully exploited and now accounts for a significant share of energy consumption. Its successful exploitation brought many highly trained and skilled people from other parts of the country, churning up the ethnic mix of the province. America’s war in Afghanistan brought in another group to the city’s environs, the so-called ‘Quetta shura’. With its supporters armed to the teeth, they have taken over parts of the geographic space in the province. These are troubling tales.
The story Pakistan needs to tell those who are watching the many disturbing developments in the country is that a period of transition is underway. Pakistan is transiting towards a political order in which conflicts will get resolved through discourse and legislation and not through violence. As such, the country needs the West’s support and not scorn at this delicate time in its history.

Source - http://tribune.com.pk/story/477347/p...ed-reputation/
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Living in the Muslim world


Published: December 17, 2012

Economic progress requires political stability and social harmony. This has been the story of much of the Muslim world and the reason why it has lagged behind other developing nations in terms of economic development.

The Arab Spring of 2011 changed many assumptions regarding governance in the Muslim world. In the period that followed, five questions were asked. These relate to the roles of Islam and the military in politics, the location of executive authority, accommodation of minorities within the political and social systems, and the basis of relations with the West. In the move towards the establishment of such an order, there will be flow of ideas and influences from one country to the other. In this context, Pakistan will have an important role to play. The reason for that is simple: Pakistan has struggled the hardest and longest in finding answers to the questions being raised in the Muslim world.

By far, the two most important questions are the roles of Islam and the military in the evolving political systems. Pakistan and Turkey have found an answer to the first question, while the Arab world is still looking for it as it transits from one type of political order to another. These two non-Arab Muslim states have come from different directions to find more or less the same solution. In spite of the intense campaign and hard work put in by the political organisations that call themselves Islamic, it is clear that the majority of the Pakistani people don’t want to live in a political system that is strictly Islamic. This is the main reason why those who want to create an Islamic state are operating from outside the political system rather than from within it. They have chosen to use violence as their tool. That is not acceptable to the majority. The mainstream political parties are prepared to accept Islam’s guidance, not its ruling tenets. The system that emerged since 2008 has resolved this issue.

Turkey has reached the same conclusion but has come to it from the other side. Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, created a secular state in which a number of practices associated with the practice of Islam were strictly banned. Such draconian dispensation produced instability. The country was able to resolve the issue of Islam in politics once power was assumed by the Justice and Development Party headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He and his party have declared that while the religion of the vast majority of the country’s people must be respected, it must not have a role in governance. The Arab world, however, has not found an answer as is shown by the struggle over the draft constitution produced by the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Western observers, “to Mursi and his Islamist backers, the draft charter is the legitimate product of a democratically-elected Constitution-writing assembly that is dominated by Islamists. To his opponents, the document represents a kind of tyranny of the new Islamist majority.”

The second question — the role of the military — has been answered decisively by Turkey and to some extent by Pakistan. It, too, remains unanswered in the Arab world. In both, it has become clear to the men in uniform that the people want them to remain in their barracks and help to provide security to the citizens. Any attempt to enter the political space will be resisted by the street. The street has shown its power not only during the Arab Spring but even before that in the Lawyers’ Movement of 2007 in Pakistan that brought the dismissed judges back to the bench. In Egypt, however, the Brotherhood has been tempted to use the military to strengthen its claim to power. In the controversial decree issued by President Mohamed Mursi, the military was given additional powers to deal with the protests that may seriously disturb the peace as the Constitution was voted upon in the December 15 referendum. In the article next week, I will take up some of the other questions that need answers.

Source - http://tribune.com.pk/story/480479/l...-muslim-world/
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Where should executive authority reside?


Published: December 23, 2012

In last week’s article in this space, I wrote about two aspects of political transformation in different parts of the Muslim world. In some of these, the political systems are moving away from authoritarianism and going towards some form of democracy. I suggested that in determining the role of Islam and the military in politics, Turkey and Pakistan have gone further than Arab nations also involved in making the transition. However, in neither of these two non-Arab Muslim nations has there been a clear indication as to where the executive authority should reside. Both Pakistan and Turkey are, on paper, parliamentary democracies. However, the person who controls the governing party holds the reins of power.
In Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has the executive power because that is where the Constitution places it. Turkey’s current basic law was written by the generals when they were in power. Although they gave the state’s executive authority to the prime minister, they kept enough power for themselves to keep a close watch on the performance of the civilian leader. The generals did not hesitate to intervene if they believed that the people’s elected representatives were acting against the basic principles of governance laid down by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The political predecessor of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party was removed from power when the generals felt that the secular foundations of the Turkish state were being compromised. Erdogan used the power of the ballot box to ultimately bring the military establishment under civilian control. Three electoral victories, each with increasing popular support, gave him the confidence to move the generals back to their barracks. In his latest term in office, he felt powerful enough to put some generals on trial, even to send some of them to prison for plotting to take over control from the civilian government.
Erdogan having indicated that he will not serve another term as prime minister after completing his current tenure is contemplating a move to the presidency. He will do so if he is able to change the Constitution and create a quasi-presidential system.
In Pakistan, a different kind of ambiguity exists. The Constitution of 1973 was clear in giving full executive authority to the prime minister. This was the reason that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the principal author of the new basic law, stepped down as president and became the first prime minister under the 1973 dispensation. Even while taking that step, he continued to involve himself in some trappings of the office he had given up. For instance, he kept taking the stage along with the president to receive the salute from the military in the march past to celebrate the Pakistan Day.
The Pakistani Constitution was put through some massive distortions by two military leaders who succeeded Bhutto. Both Generals Ziaul Haq and (retd) Pervez Musharraf inserted clauses in the Constitution through amendments that gave the ultimate authority to the president on most important state matters. The changes included the infamous Article 58(2b) which gave the president the right to dismiss the prime minister and dissolve the National Assembly. He could do that on a variety of grounds. These were not hard to justify in the courts when the dismissals were challenged. Four dismissals followed this change to the Constitution, one by General Ziaul Haq, two by president Ghulam Ishaq Khan and one by president Farooq Leghari. Each of these was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The Eighteenth Amendment, passed during the tenure of the current PPP-led government, effectively took the Constitution back to its original 1973 form, restoring the prime minister as the repository of executive authority. However, even after the adoption of this amendment, executive authority has remained with President Asif Ali Zardari. He exercises it not because of the office he holds but because of the chairmanship of the PPP, his political party. That is the basis of his power. The constitutional situation in Pakistan, therefore, has become ambiguous about the positioning of executive authority. Ambiguity is never propitious for orderly political development. In other words, the development of political order in the Muslim world is a work in progress.
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