BEFORE coming to the topic, here is a comment on reservations and statements on US military bases in Pakistan.
The Washington Post report, “The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War” clearly exposes how American presidents, politicians and establishment lied to the world on Afghan war.
The video is available on WP website. It is legal obligation of Biden to order inquiry into the Afghan war corruption to bring culprits to book, recover public’s $2.26tn and end forever wars.
The WP report shows Pakistan was a victim and it merits legal action by Islamabad against all concerned for loss of life and damage to the country.
The controversy of software update can be settled permanently by adopting clear policies. The governments come and go but policies continue.
America used agriculture reforms (Farm Bill) and infrastructure development (New Deal) to become superpower. China replaced politicking with national development plans.
Its first 5-year plan (1953-57) was approved in 1955. China got independence two years after Pakistan but today it is world’s leading economy alongside America having 18.46% and 4.25% shares of world population respectively.
It shows population is not problem in either way.
Countries improve political systems to become global leaders.
They do not change them. China has one party system and America has presidential system of democracy.
They are competing against each other with the help of transparency, accountability and rule of law. We need to uphold our parliamentary system to become a superpower. It is only possible if our lawmakers legislate only.
They have no access to funds. Bureaucrats build Pakistan and serve public with line departments including police apolitically. Judiciary keeps a check on the system with its powers of judicial review and support of other institutions. Otherwise, democracy is very fragile.
It becomes dysfunctional if government fails to protect weak against strong. Then it is everything but democracy.
China uses social democracy to make public rich. America employs capitalist democracy to help private businesses to create jobs to make individuals prosperous through “trickle down” policy.
Both countries use taxes to fund the state and give tax incentives to attract foreign investment except Democrats who support higher taxes in theory for public welfare. We need to impose direct income tax to help public.
Countries set goals. China is following a plan to achieve its economic, political, defence and foreign policy objectives.
Its 14th five-year plan includes “common prosperity” with the help of rural and urbanization strategies. Controlled FDI, increase China’s leadership role in regional and global economic governance.
Manage great-power rivalry with the United States. There is need of good economic policies in Pakistan.
The public make its decision based on individual prosperity, national progress and international standing.
Similarly, US Senate Democrats have agreed to pass $3.5tn infrastructure plan (human capital) 12months before 2022 mid-term elections. It includes childcare, medical care expansion and climate change.
It is in addition to $1.2tn bodily infrastructure bill including roads, bridges and millions of jobs. Biden has promised competition with China, revival of NATO and alliance with Europe.
The countries are stronger where wealth is shared allowing performance to win elections than unfair means.
The democratic system of checks and balances has to be upheld. Executive, legislators and judiciary have to respect each other.
The health of democracy is determined by its accountability to public and independence of judiciary and media.
The West does not give lawmakers access to funds to control corruption. China uses death sentence and bilateral agreement to control it. The countries that uphold the system usually have good governance.
There is need for strong checks not controversial electoral reforms to improve democracy in Pakistan. Democracy is also needed in the political parties. Otherwise, they are family clubs or one-man show.
The leadership crisis in the UK Labour Party has kept Tory Party in power for the last ten years. There is dictatorship in the US Republican Party. It has resulted in Brexit, America First, alt right, economic decline and corruption.
Some of its fallouts are attack on Capitol Hill, sexual harassment in defence forces, military defeats, Greensill Scandal and Jacob Zuma jailing violence. It has undermined democracy worldwide.
The protection of freedoms and rights is critical for Pakistan. Countries are stronger and richer which protect freedom of speech, individual freedoms and access to information. Police is held accountable. It is not independent and militarized.
The weaker members of society including senior citizens, women, children, transgender and minorities are protected. There is open access to justice, legal aid and protection to whistle blowers.
The image of democracy has been damaged worldwide due to anti-police protests in the West, poor record of rape convictions, women harassment and hate crimes.
In Western democracies, there is zero tolerance on national defence, military budgets and foreign policy. They use them to protect their geo-strategic, economic and trade objectives.
They use democracy, transparency and accountability to present a united front in bilateral and multilateral relations and on international platforms.
Pakistan can use these time-tested approaches and one rule of law for all to win hearts and minds and get desired results.
The use of current tactics is outdated, counterproductive and undermining our respect internationally.
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.