Tag Archives: autocrats

New York Times – The Dregs of Dictatorship

By MOHAMED NASHEED, Maldives

my government asked the United Nations to help us investigate judicial abuses

DICTATORSHIPS don’t always die when the dictator leaves office. The wave of revolutions that toppled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen last year was certainly cause for hope. But the people of those countries should be aware that, long after the revolutions, powerful networks of regime loyalists can remain behind and can attempt to strangle their nascent democracies.

I learned this lesson quickly. My country, the Maldives, voted out President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, its iron-fisted ruler, back in 2008, in historic elections that swept away three decades of his authoritarian rule. And yet the dictatorship bequeathed to the infant democracy a looted treasury, a ballooning budget deficit and a rotten judiciary.

I was elected that year, and with the help of the International Monetary Fund, my government worked to cut the deficit, while also building a modern tax base. For the first time in its history, the Maldives — a group of islands in the Indian Ocean — had a democratically elected president, parliament and local councils.

But it also had a judiciary handpicked by the former president, which was now hiding behind a democratic constitution. These powerful judges provided protection for the former president, his family members and political allies, many of whom are accused of corruption, embezzlement and human rights crimes.

Continue reading New York Times – The Dregs of Dictatorship

Whither Pakistan

by Syed Ehtisham

Excerpt:

The leadership of the Muslim League came mostly from provinces which were not parts of Pakistan. Jinnah, like all autocrats did not tolerate difference of opinion and had excluded the bright and the intelligent like Suharwardy and Fazal Haque while promoting Liaquat and Nazimuddin …

…. Jinnah, in a singularly misconceived move towards national integration, declared that Urdu and only Urdu will be the official language of Pakistan. That, I believe, was the first nail.

Jinnah, while he lived, kept all the levers of power in his hands. Liaquat, PM in name, did not even enjoy the powers White House chief of the staff does.

Jinnah died. Liaquat did not have the authority to embrace his legacy. The power brokers in West Pakistan would not allow the drafting of a constitution which would give representation proportional to the population of East Pakistan. I recall mullahs gave the argument that if you took out 20% of the population of the East who were Hindus, the numbers between the two wings would be equal. Some even suggested that Hindus be made to pay Jazya. Finance minister Ghulam Muhammad pointed out that they would in that case be exempt from taxes. That shut the mouth of the religious lobby.

Liaquat was reduced to offering a basic principles resolution (Qarardad e Maqasid), which declared Pakistan to be an Islamic State. That put paid to Jinnah’s legacy of separation of faith and state. ….

…. Yahya arranged an election on the basis of adult franchise. Mujib got overall majority and could garner two third majority with the help of smaller provinces. There was no problem with making Mujib the PM, except personally to Bhutto, but he wanted autonomy of the kind Jinnah had insisted on in pre-independence India. ….

….. Pakistan was further burdened by immense military expenditure, which necessitated an unholy mass of debt. All nation building measures remained in the limbo. Infra-structure, education, health, research and industry remained stunted. ….

To read complete article : ViewPoint

Apathy and rage — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The surviving Arab rulers and their western mentors will certainly embark on a course to neutralise and thwart this struggle because they see the end of their rule and fear that Israel will no longer enjoy the tranquillity it has seen since Camp David and will have to contend with the people of the region rather than power-hungry autocrats …

Read more : Daily Times