Volume 22 Issue 8, August 2018
By Ashraf Jehangir Qazi

‘There is no such thing as a tax paying culture; there is only making sure tax cheats go to jail.’

- US tax official

What kind of governance will Prime Minister Imran Khan provide? He has made impressive public undertakings with undoubted sincerity. However a governance culture is entrenched which is undemocratic, anti-reform and thoroughly hostile to the rights and welfare of the people. It is sustained by an intrusive and highly politicized security establishment.

By Dr. Moonis Ahmar

The National Security Council (NSC) which is the highest civil-military coordination forum meets periodically to review issues impacting Pakistan’s foreign, domestic and security matters. Headed by the Prime Minister and composed of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chiefs of Army, Air Force and Navy, and Foreign, Finance, Defence and Interior Ministers, the NSC is perceived as a body which is heavily influenced by the men in uniform.

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Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Zeba Jawaid

Javed Ansari

Faizan Usmani
Syeda Areeba Rasheed

S. G. Jilanee

Adnan Amir
Ahmad Ahsan
Aijaz Zaka Syed
Aaminah Qadir
Ashraf Jehangir Qazi
Ayaz Ahmed
Dr. Moonis Ahmar
Dr Murad Ali
Dr. M. Zeb Khan
Dr. Niaz Murtaza
Dr. Raza Khan
Iqbal F Quadir
Khurram Ali
Prof. S. Shafiqur Rehman
Samar Quddus
S.G. Jilanee
Shabana Mahfooz
Shehryar Aziz
S. M. Hali
Soha Sheikh
S.R.H. Hashmi
Taha Kehar
Taj Haider
Taj M Khattak
Uzair Sattar

Neha Ansari

Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed
Riaz Masih


Syed Ovais Akhtar

Aqam-ud-Din Khan

SouthAsia is published every month by Syed Jawaid Iqbal for and on behalf of JAWZ Communications (Pvt.) Ltd.

Views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily shared by the editors.

Published since 1977 as Thirdworld, the magazine was re-launched in 1997 as SouthAsia.



Sen. Raza Rabbani, former Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, talks to SouthAsia in this exclusive interview.

From the time Imran Khan led the Pakistan cricket team to victory at the World Cup final in Melbourne to the time he became the Prime Minister of Pakistan, his existence has been one of struggle that has stretched over two decades. For him, it has been an existence of joy and sadness and of highs and lows. From his happy-go-lucky days as a cricket player and a playboy to becoming a national political leader who commands credibility among the masses, it has been an arduous journey for a man who once led a cricket team and now leads his country. But Imran Khan is a man of dreams and he is on the cusp of turning the dream of every Pakistani to live in a land free of corruption and crime. Pakistani society has deteriorated to a level that it will be a difficult task for anyone to pull it out of the pits and put it back on its feet. But the way that Imran challenges himself at every step, he has also taken up the challenge to rescue his country from its ignoble existence and make an attempt to exploit the vast potentials that the land is endowed with.

Imran Khan leads the sixth largest country in the world and has the support of the youth bulge behind him. This is the same country that his predecessors had an opportunity to rule and to utilize its vast advantages for the betterment of the people. But when they got the opportunity, all what most of them did was steal the nation, with the result that the masses just remained where they were while a select few ran away with all the fruits. The country of over two hundred and twenty million that Imran has inherited is almost near to becoming a failed state. It faces the worst economic crisis that has befallen it at any time in its life of seven decades. Barring a few friends, it is surrounded by a whole host of enemies and its internal law and order situation couldn’t have been worse, considering the monster of terrorism that refuses to go away.

The next few years for Imran Khan – and the country - are cut out as years of sacrifice and struggle. Imran had his head in the right place when he spelt out his priorities in his first address to the nation. He talked of a simple style of government and said the present prime minister’s house was so shamefully grand that he would rather live in a house in the ministers’ enclave, adding that the PM house and the governors’ residence would be thrown open for the public. What is encouraging is that he and his government aim to adopt a policy of accommodation. This means that there would be no vindictiveness and no victimization – features that have been standard operating procedure for successive governments in the past. It is also heartening to note that Imran is open to probing and investigation in constituencies where rigging has been reported but the allegations seem to have acquired such a massive scale that a lot of precious time and resources are being wasted on the probe exercise.

Imran’s promise of accountability and good governance is certainly music to the ears but will this translate into more focus on human development and betterment of the poor? His pronouncements concerning Pakistan’s foreign policy goals, which seek friendly relations with all countries – even India – are reassuring but would need to be practically demonstrated. It is also relevant that he has spelt out Kashmir as a ‘core’ issue and has urged India to sit down at the table and seek a solution to the problem. Will Imran Khan’s proposed governance culture succeed? His public undertakings are impressive and his sincerity is quite visible. Will this translate into hard reality, considering that the way affairs of the state are conducted in Pakistan and the massive bureaucratic machinery that is required to deliver governance is rather undemocratic and abhors reform? For this setup, the rights and welfare of the people are of least importance. In this scenario, Imran must have plans to bring to the people of Pakistan a change in governance culture because he well understands that he has to walk the talk to make it work.
He has also to show the nation – and the world – that being in the saddle of government is no bed of roses and that he must overcome the serious challenges that Pakistan faces in terms of its economy as well as arresting the energy crisis, ensuring internal and external security, establishing a healthy relationship between the civil administration and the military and maintaining a balanced foreign policy.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal
Editor in Chief


Future Prospects

Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Sen deems the emergence of democracy to be one of the key developments of the 20th century. He says democracy should be recognized as a complex process involving the protection of human freedoms and public participation in political decision-making, rather than being a simple majority rule. As envisaged by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan was supposed to be a truly democratic country. However, certain deviations from democracy in the form of military coups and political instability, posed a serious threat to the future of democracy in the country. Though Pakistan is constitutionally recognized as a democratically functioning country, it has yet to prove its democratic credentials. In view of Sen’s proposition, in a socio-economically stratified society like ours, where the greater population is illiterate and is devoid of basic necessities of life, popular democratic ideals have no scope. To be very honest, a radical priority shift is required to turn the country into a democratic, progressive nation.

Novaira Khan,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Allez Les Bleus?

In France, the 14th of July is marked as ‘Bastille Day’ to commemorate storming of the Bastille by Parisians. This started the French Revolution. This year, however, the day coincided with France’s World Cup victory that resulted in wild celebrations across the country. Interestingly, satire was also aimed at the French football team for being the ‘last African team’ to win the FIFA World Cup final. There were 12 players of African descent in the team out of a total of 23. This perception, coupled with right-wing nationalist Marie Le Pen’s statements that termed the French squad as an ‘artificial football team’ brings to light the daily predicaments faced by the non-white population in today’s France. There have been many debates concerning the re-evaluation of ‘Frenchness’ in a display of post-colonial identity politics. At this juncture, the life and times of the African immigrant community must be objectively evaluated pre and post World Cup glory to deduce the effectiveness of ‘Liberty,’ ‘Equality’ and ‘Fraternity’ - notions that set the very foundation of Bastille Day. Is France ready?

Ana Tawfiq Husain,
Karachi, Pakistan.



Tainted Parliamentary Elections

This is with reference to last month’s cover story on Pakistan’s General Elections. In a truly democratic society, on-time holding of elections is a routine affair that should be held peacefully for the smooth transition of power to newly-elected representatives. In Pakistan, however, elections come out to be the most challenging proceedings that are often marred by rigging, violent protests and even bloodshed. The recent elections were also no exception that proved the country’s incapability to carry out democratic transition in a peaceful manner. Unfortunately, the presence of a large number of security personnel during the polls did not send a positive message to the world while the absence of a level playing field for all political parties defied any prospect of free and fair elections to make matters worse. Pakistan cannot be termed as a failed state, but its inability to hold smooth parliamentary elections fails the country time and again.

Saeed Uddin Khan,
Azamgarh, India.

Democracy and Communism

In the history of communism, 2018 has emerged as the most significant period, particularly in the 21st century. This year the number of countries being ruled by communist parties has increased from one to six, with Nepal being the latest example. Other communist-ruled nations are China, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea and Laos. However, Nepal is an exception because it is the only country in the world where the communist government has been democratically elected through popular vote. This shows communism is gaining popularity as the most viable economic and political system, which is more beneficial to the masses than the other popular ideologies. This also suggests that communism is not a dying ideology and can easily co-exist with democracy.

R. F. Dharmalal,
Lalitpur, Nepal.

Many Faces of Poverty

Poverty is defined differently in many societies. Prevailing in Nepal since ages, poverty has been a subject of repeated debates and consternation in the country. For some people, the lack of access to food leads to poverty while others view deep-seated poverty as a state of both material and social deprivation that reduces one to a mere street urchin, making one leading a life of a nomad and that too in the presence of so-called government apparatus. In Nepal, poverty can also be viewed in a number of other forms since many people in the country have been leading a miserable life despite living in their own houses and many of them judge themselves as poor in spite of being able to feed themselves three times a day. This widely-held perception is alarming and it truly exposes the multifaceted nature of poverty, which is well beyond satiated hunger and worldly possessions.

Shayan M. Tharani,
Karachi, Pakistan.

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