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Monday, February 4, 2013

Democracy Today - in Pakistan, the USA and the UK


PAKISTAN
The latest news from Pakistan is that Pakistan’s National Assembly and the four Provincial Assemblies will be dissolved on 10 February and a caretaker government will be installed for a brief period while the Election Commission of Pakistan will vet candidates contesting the forthcoming  elections (probably to be held in May). On the face of it this sounds very good news until you scratch the surface to see what lies underneath.

Fakhruddin G Ibrahim
The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), is an eighty four years old retired judge, who is respected for his honesty and integrity. Great. But will he have the energy to look into all the scandals and wheeling and dealing which, by all accounts, have been going on for years and will grow worse during the election campaign? It seems to me that an alert and energetic Chief Election Commissioner is an important  

requirement because the other four election commissioners do not enjoy quite as good a reputation as the CEC Mr Fakhruddin Ibrahim. Judging from his images on the internet, however, he does look in robust health.

Pakistan’s National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies are bursting with dishonest people who are experts at manufacturing fake academic degrees, paying no tax and submitting no tax returns, engaging in criminal activities ranging from raiding the national treasury and washing it clean through money laundering, siphoning off funds from state enterprises, dealing in illegal drugs and, believe it or not, ripping off people performing the Haj to Makkah. If anyone stands in their way they will stop at nothing, including murder. Many of these law breakers – the term “legislators” ceased to apply to them long ago – hold dual nationality, mostly American or British. They owe their rise to power to the governments of the USA and the UK, which were instrumental in getting the discredited dictator Musharraf to sign a presidential decree, the so-called National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which pardoned all the criminals and the murderers (Bhutto, Zardari, the Sharifs, and hundreds of others) and allowed them to keep their illegally acquired wealth. These people are nothing but traitors to Pakistan, their first allegiance is to the governments of the USA and the UK.

A popular and outspoken Pakistani journalist, Hassan Nisar, has been exposing the financial crimes of Pakistan’s rulers in his regular columns for the Urdu newspaper Dunya. He has quoted extensively from Raymond Baker’s book “Capitalism’s Achilles Heel : Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System” which gives, among other things, the details of the wealth amassed by Bhutto, Zardari and the Sharif family. The book can be read/downloaded here:


Imran Khan
The all-important question today is: will Pakistanis be able to have a free and fair election or will it again be manipulated by the governments of the USA and the UK? The criminals that were put in power in Pakistan as a result of foreign manipulation show neither shame nor remorse for their crimes. Currently they are distributing millions of rupees to buy off voters and supporters. The one consolation for Pakistanis is that the most popular politician today is Imran Khan, an honest and upright politician, who holds just the Pakistani nationality and whose loyalty to his country is beyond suspicion. For obvious reasons, these qualities do not endear him to the king makers sitting in remote Washington and London.

The foreign powers may try to manipulate elections by offering covert support to discredited political figures of the past. Among them could be Musharraf and, possibly, Tahirul Qadri, a sort of religious priest-cum-politician who acquired Canadian citizenship some years ago. Last month he suddenly descended on Pakistan and held a "long march" from Lahore to Islamabad, which shook the coalition of crooks that rules Pakistan. He has now announced holding a series of rallies all over Pakistan, starting from 15 February. On the face of it the things he says are quite sensible - what is not clear is where he is getting the funding to cover his very high costs. Are there sinister motives behind his sudden emergence close to the elections?

USA
Business and politics have become interwoven in the United States.  To run a political campaign the presidential candidate needs to be stupendously rich or he/she requires rich backers. The campaign itself is little more that a mud slinging contest in which the truth is the chief casualty. So far as the electorate is concerned the primary issue is economic – the people want to be well off and they don’t care what their government does to make their material lives tolerable.

Over the years the US administrations have progressively adopted foreign policies where the legitimate interests and aspirations of non-Americans are ignored. An American government has no qualms giving support to the most heinous dictators, and suppressing people's struggle for freedom and true democracy (in Pakistan’s case, when the USA’s support for a dictator became untenable the US administration managed to give the country a false democracy). This can be more clearly seen if we look at recent history.

Without going as far back as Vietnam, let’s use a reference point of 9/11. The most powerful weapon in the hands of US administration today is that of propaganda and veiled threats. It was these that persuaded people to accept that a fugitive living in backward Afghanistan could launch a sophisticated operation such as the four-pronged attack on mainland USA. No open trial of murderers behind that atrocity ever took place. The remains of the destroyed aircraft were quickly removed and they simply vanished. Many lies were repeated ad infinitum until the world came to accept those lies as truth. The sheer volume of propaganda hid from the world the offer of the government of Afghanistan to hand over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country for a fair trial.

The presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan is both immoral and illegal. The intense propaganda about 'Taliban' hides the fact that the Pashtun Afghanis are also fighting against foreign occupiers of their land. The USA has now as good as lost the war and is preparing for negotiation with the despised Taliban before it withdraws its troops next year.

Then there was Iraq and the Great Lie of WMD (weapons of mass destruction). Saddam Hussein, who was a dear friend while he was dropping napalm on his own people, had become a foe because he had grown too big for his boots and needed to be put in his place. Both in Afghanistan and Iraq the underlying reasons for the savage destruction of human lives was the greed and madness of power-crazed Americans in high places, and their collusion with corrupt politicians. The “democracy” we have today is incapable of producing honest and fearless leaders. The best it can do is serve up second and third rate politicians such as Obama and Bush in USA, and Cameron and Blair in the UK. These unprincipled politicians cling to power, living in constant fear of the electorate. 

The blood-thirsty western governments have not learnt from their experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Pakistan the illegal attacks by USA’s pilot-less drones have killed thousands of innocent people and the western governments appear hell-bent on teaching Pakistan and Iran lessons for not being entirely submissive. Apparently, the civilian Pakistani government accepts instructions from Washington but the military is less submissive – see   Wkileaks revelations 

UK
As in the USA the democracy here has given us a string of greasy politicians. The signs are that the current Prime Minister, David Cameron, is just as adept at fraudulent political manoeuvrings as Tony Blair was. This is very well covered in an excellent article that appeared in The Guardian last week. Glenn Greenwald lays bare the loathsome support that the western governments extend to various evil regimes in the world. Here is the link to the article - there is little need for me to add anything further:



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