The True Meaning of Democracy

“If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell.”Thomas Merton

The democracy is the rule of the people, for the people and by the people was first created and tested in ancient Greece, some 3 thousand years ago. It is an antonym of Dictatorship. Twice it was shelved in Greece as it failed to bring any change to the misery of the poor. In other words we can say that it is a political and social system to improve the economy or the creation and distribution of wealth. Amongst the utilitarianism systems, Capitalism supports democracy whereas Socialism is tilted towards dictatorship.

For the students of Sociology and Political Science, democracy has four pillars; accountability, strengthening of institutions, freedom of expression and economic development. These factors are not the objective of dictatorship. Accountability aims at bringing the rulers, bureaucrats and supervisors under the rule of law. The function of accountability is done through state institutions, judiciary and media. The state institutions and public sector organizations should be free from political interference so that there should be accountability. Freedom of expression is important for the whistle blowers to further reinforce the above explained accountability and strengthening of institutions. The ultimate results of these actions is Economic Development. If economic development does not take place then there will be reactions resultantly the government will change or the democratic process will be derailed. The economic development will create a middle income group, who will become lawmakers if the democratic process is allowed in a society over a sustained period of time. In other words in democracy we want want a participative government.

It is against the psychology of a person to share. According to Lord Acton , “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Why would a rich person allow democracy, to flourish? It will reduce his wealth and capacity to control people. In this regard I would like to share a quote from Thomas Jefferson :

“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”

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SUMO Wrestling in Pakistan

Analysis of the Supreme Court Decision on Asghar Khan Case

Pakistan is a country rich in the economic factors of production. However, it has failed to develop as dreamed by our founding father and the people of Pakistan. Myopic vision of her leadership, imposed foreign policy and ubiquitous corruption is seen as the key factor in the underdevelopment of Pakistan. Due to the incompetent Political Leadership in Pakistan, policy making is the domain of Civil and Military Bureaucracy. Chief Justice (CJ)Iftikhar Chaudhry was removed by President General Pervaiz Musharraf on corruption ; he was reinstated in 2007 due to popular public protests supported and funded by Pakistan Muslim League(Nawaz), Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) and popular media moguls . In his second term he is no less than a political leader with public support.

The CJ has convicted the ex generals in the Asghar Khan case. It took the Supreme Court 16 years to decide a simple case. Nowadays, the son of the Chief Justice is under trial for receiving Rs 340 million illegal graft from a business tycoon and general elections are being scheduled in Mar 2013. Under these circumstances, the timings of this decision has become dubious. More generals are under trial.

On November 5, 2012, the chief of Army staff General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani gave a very strong statement probably against the CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry and the politicians for prosecuting Generals; it was equally responded by the CJ claiming Supreme Court as the ultimate protector of the Constitution and undermining the role of military in determining national stability. The public opinion is divided and confused; as General Kayani is a quite personality and is respected for his services for democracy. All hypothesis of military reactions can be disastrous for the country.

In the absence of the rule of law corrupt practices and embezzlement are the genetic characteristics of Third World leaders. In the international debt system, the Third World leaders and civil servants managing the debt play a strategic mediation role between the domestic and foreign economies, between civil society and foreign lenders. If CJ wants to break the status quo than this decision is  just the tip of the iceberg; the magnitude of political corruption is mammoth. Jamaat Islami, factions of MQM and Muslim League Quaid-e- Azam were also created by ISI to lessen the power of PPP, which the military alleged to be anti state and pro India. However, if it is linked to some kind of personal gains for the CJ, then this clash of institutions could prove a disaster for the country when our nation is fighting a War against Terror. Trial of the Generals has taken place in Turkey and Egypt by governments elected by popular vote. In Turkey people have tripled their purchasing power in the last decade due to the successful policies of Mr Tayyab Erdogan; Mr Morsi of Egypt came to power through popular vote and defeated the powerful rule of military and Mr Hosni Mubarak . PPP has ruled the country for the last five years, people are not satisfied with the performance of the ruling party. These five years saw the lowest economic growth rate in the history of Pakistan; the unemployment rate is more than the officially declared 12 percent. Any reaction by the Army can jeopardize the democratic process.

Surprisingly, the CJ has ordered action against the Retired Generals but the politicians who received money including his mentor Mr Nawaz Sharif are not mentioned in the detailed decision. The humorous part of the decision is that the SC has stated that military officers should not follow the unlawful orders of their seniors. For the kind information of CJ the officers with a conscience do not usually go very high in public or private service all over the world; the same principle is true for judiciary in Pakistan. Business Schools use Emotional Intelligence an important quality for the salaried class. Pakistan Army has a very high number of officers with low emotional intelligence, these officers are not promoted for their honesty and they do not have the right to appeal against the decision.
Unfortunately, the media is not impartial in this case. They cannot report anything against the CJ and judiciary as Mr Faisal Abidi who spoke against the judicial corruption has been banned on media. At the same time the media is maligning the military forces by linking the individual corruption of individuals(Generals) with the whole institution fighting a war for the people of Pakistan.

The people of Pakistan are fighting an unending War on Terror since 9/11. Our economy has lost more than $80 billion in war, 30 to 40 thousand people(civilians and military) have lost their lives in the last decade, economy is at its lowest ebb due to the political mismanagement, unemployment is at the highest levels, PM Yousaf Raza Gillani has been removed by CJ on abetting a criminal, the new PM Raja Parvaiz Ashraf is also under trial on alleged corruption in rental power scam, the chief minister of Balochistan has been given a notice by CJ on mismanagement/incompetence, the letter has been sent by GOP to the Swiss Government in order to prosecute the corruption of President Asif Ali Zardari in 1995-96, the state institutions have been weakened by corruption, the son of CJ is under trial on corruption and yellow journalism is rampant. It is difficult to decide who is more patriotic? Under these circumstances the state institutions should sit together to find a solution to the challenges instead of creating more instability in the country.

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The Iqbal we Forgot

Allama Muhammad Iqbal (November 9, 1877 – April 21, 1938) was a poet, philosopher and politician of united India. He was the spirit behind the Pakistan Movement. Beside his political activities, he chose poetry as a medium to inspire/awaken the Muslims of India to form a platform for a establishment of an independent Muslim state in Muslim majority areas of united India. His poetry was in Persian and Urdu; his Persian poetry has a higher. He has won more appreciation for his Persian work than his Urdu poetry. He was inspired by the Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson and Goethe.

Iqbal’s (1934) famous lectures ”The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”, dwell on the role of Islam as a religion as well as a political and legal philosophy in the modern age. In these lectures Iqbal firmly rejects the political attitudes and conduct of Muslim politicians, whom he saw as morally misguided, attached to power and without any standing with Muslim masses. In these lectures Iqbal emphasizes the Islamic concept of “Ijtehad” that is an Islamic injunction to change according to the changing world in the light of Quran and Sunnah.

Iqbal was an open minded Lahori. He frequently visited the shrine of Data Gunj Bakhash Ali Hajveri for his spiritual satisfaction. He was a devotee of Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him)and his Ahl-e-Bait (A.S). Iqbal was against rigidity in Islam, Deen e Mullah Fisad fe sabil allah, meaning that the religion of low quality religious leaders is to create disunity and intolerance in the name of God. The ulema of Deoband favored the Congress party of India were against the creation of Pakistan and declared Iqbal a heretic. Inspired by Goethe, Iqbal also criticized the materialism in the Capitalistic West. Iqbal advocated a balanced between religion and materialistic life.

Today, Iqbal Day is being celebrated all over Pakistan as a National Holiday. However, it is ironic that we as a nation have forgotten Iqbal, his poetry, his progressive concept of religion, his criticism on materialistic capitalism and his love for intellectualism. His books Bang-i-Dara, Bal-i-Jibril, Zarb-i Kalim, Armughan-e-Hijaz, Asrar-e-Khudi, Rumuz-i-Bekhudi, Payam-i-Mashriq and Zabur-i-Ajam are not found in the school, college or private university libraries. The dream of Iqbal has become a battle ground of religious intolerance. Our intellectual levels have been lowered to an extent that we as a nation cannot understand what Iqbal had said.

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American Elections 2012

All fingers are crossed as the US citizens are ready to select the most powerful person of the world on Nov 6, 2012. Both the contenders have shown their difference of opinion on the important topics of a self imposed War, Foreign Policy, Internal issues and Economy. But Economy will remain the deciding factor in the selection of the next American President. President Obama intends taxing the rich, whereas, Republican rival candidate Mitt Romney wants to continue with the tax rebates offered by President Bush. The recovery of American Economy is important for the growth of World Economy.

The inequality in the distribution of wealth amongst the US citizens has become unbearable for the economy and the belligerence of US Foreign Policy. In the last two decades Democrats have a history of sound economic policies. As to how Romney will cover the deficit and stabilize the economy is not very clear. Mr Romney had also changed his stance on Afghanistan before; initially he objected to the plan of withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in 2014, now he has endorsed this pull out. Change of weather and international disasters with respect to excessive carbon emissions by the First World Countries could not gain importance in the presidential debates. Extra judicial killings through drones is no more a crime and will continue in Pakistan, Yemen and other Muslim countries will continue irrespective of the US President. Another major difference of opinion in the Foreign Policy issues is that Obama opposes near term military strike on Iran but holds that option open if it proves the only way to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Mr Romney intents to open another chapter of misery for US troops by showing his aggressive intends against Iran either directly or through Israel.
The Israeli elections in Jan 2013 will have a direct bearing on the results of US elections. The success of Likud Candidate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be ensured with the success of his friend Mitt Romney. Whereas in case of President Barak Hussain Obama’s victory, the prospects of the former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s return to power will become bright.

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The Benefits and Drawbacks of Being a Twin

A twin is a child from a single pregnancy, which is more risky for the mother and child than normal delivery. A twin may be identical or un identical. Statistics prove that birth of a twin is an uncommon phenomenon in Latin –America, South Asia and South East Asia. Twin babies are more common in Africa, North and South America . The studies on twins focus on the question of Nature or Nurture, i.e. genes or environmental effects on the individual . We will see the advantages and disadvantages of being a twin under different perspectives.

The advantages of being a child are more in the early years and childhood. In the early years the twin children develops a trust a between themselves. The chances of sibling rivalry are less because the children have seen themselves together from the time of their birth and they feel incomplete without each other. In the preschool age the child has partner to give him/her the sense of security. These elementary years are critical to develop the self confidence of a child when his/her twin brother or sister is present for support and enjoy mutual victories and blunders . In the youth the children can become study partners for higher studies .

The disadvantages of a twin become more profound when the twins reach the teenage and sexual emotions become part of life. Twin teenagers feel the sacrificing of their privacy and sibling rivalry in sharing the love of their parents and friends. If you find the other twin brother or sister different from you, he/she will be constantly poking into your personal life and reporting to parents against you. Dead Ringers was a movie made in 1988, displays the fatal sibling rivalry between two identical twins and successful gynecologists, who fell for a single women . Bailey and Pillard (1991 & 1993) have reported of higher cases of homosexuality amongst brothers and sisters in their studies .

Kruszewski twin brothers- Edmonton Canada

Some interesting incidents have happened when the referee gave the other brother yellow card in the football match ; in another incident a prisoner came out of a Swedish jail by changing clothes with his brother; the jail authorities were bluffed by the fake identification mark by the brother in prison .
In view of the above we can say that nature plays a role in creating twin children however, nurture or the environment creates the feeling of rivalry, competition, guilt, envy and jealousy in the children just like brothers and sisters having difference in age. The advantages of twins are profound in early years but turns into disadvantage in the teenage and later years. However, this is a general study; each individual should be assessed on case to case basis.

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Merger of Penguin and Random House creates world’s biggest publisher

British media and education company Pearson and Germany’s Bertelsmann are to create the biggest publishing venture in the world by combining their businesses.
Pearson’s Penguin and Bertelsmann’s Random House together control a quarter of the US and the UK printed and electronic books market. Penguin also enjoys a significant presence in fast-growing developing markets.
The merge will create what the companies promise to become the world’s biggest consumer publishing venture Penguin Random House.
“This combination with Random House – a company with an almost perfect match of Penguin’s culture, standards and commitment to publishing excellence – will greatly enhance its fortunes and its opportunities,” said Pearson’s Chief Executive Marjorie Scardino.
Bertelsmann will own 53 per cent of the new company, while Pearson will get the other 47 per cent. The joint venture will exclude Bertelsmann’s trade publishing business in Germany and Pearson will retain the rights to use the Penguin brand in education markets worldwide.
According to the agreement both parties can’t sell any part of their share in the new venture for three years.
“Together, the two publishers will be able to share a large part of their costs, to invest more for their author and reader constituencies and to be more adventurous in trying new models in this exciting, fast-moving world of digital books and digital readers,” Pearson’s chief executive said.

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Greek editor arrested over list of Swiss accounts

Greek police arrested the editor of a weekly magazine for publishing a list of more than 2,000 names of wealthy Greeks who have placed money in Swiss bank accounts, police said on Sunday.
The so-called “Lagarde List” – given to Greece by French authorities in 2010 with names to be probed for possible tax evasion – has been a topic of heated speculation in the Greek media. It is named after International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who was French finance minister when the list was handed over.
The “Hot Doc” magazine published the list of 2,059 names including some well-known business and political figures on Saturday. The magazine said it had been sent the list anonymously. Authorities did not confirm if the list was authentic.
A prosecutor ordered the arrest of editor Costas Vaxevanis on Saturday for violating laws on releasing private data and he was arrested Sunday, police said. He was released pending trial after appearing before a prosecutor on Sunday.

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