Monday, December 31, 2007
Pakistan's hideous political culture
Pakistan's largest political party, Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, has chosen her husband and 19 year-old son -- who is still at Oxford and proposes to remain there -- as its leaders. This did not happen as it sometimes does in the United States, with a long process of campaigning and an open primary system, but at a meeting of the party leaders following a reading of Benazir Bhutto's will. The co-called symbol of Pakistani "democracy" bequeathed her position to her family.
What a joke.
By Mystery Meat, at Mon Dec 31, 11:19:00 AM:
If you go to the Pakistan People's Party website, you will see that Benizir Bhutto was party "chairperson for life." Political parties in that region are more of a cult or "royal family" than what we would consider a political party here. Look at India and the Gandhi family.
By Andrewdb, at Mon Dec 31, 12:08:00 PM:
I kind of took it as her son was the heir, and the husband is what we used to call a Regent.
They do the same thing in Lebanon. A long string of ill-fated Gemayels have been associated with the Maronites there.
By knighterrant, at Mon Dec 31, 12:12:00 PM:
Sort of like when George Bush Sr. transfered his political organization to his son, Junior. Or, when Bill Clinton's campaign machine moved over to work for his wife. Or, here in California where Duncan Hunter has gifted (there is no better word for it) his safe Congressional seat to his son, Duncan, Jr.
There are dozens of other examples. It is an unfortunate fact that too many politicians consider elected offices to be hereditary titles and too many voters, both left and right, acquiesce.
It is a perversion of democracy wherever it happens.
it's inarguable that we have a permanent polical overclass now (media, politicians, certain corporations). but their isolation from the real world is going to be their downfall. the little people are busy self-organizing and cutting the self appointed elites out of the loop. you can see this happening in journalism, for example. think how easy it would be for individuals to participate in a distributed bank or insurance company -- ones that don't outsource their customers' jobs. this transformation will be especially welcome when it dissolves the political parties that so desperately depend on keeping people with like interests from linking up. sorry if i am OT here.
The co-called symbol of Pakistani "democracy" bequeathed her position to her family...
As opposed to Musharraf, the current "so called symbol of Pakistani democracy" who seized power through a military coup, ousted the elected Prime Minister, appointed himself as President, sent his political opponents into exile and in circus like antics has shut down each of the National Assembly, Supreme Court, the Constituiton, lawyers, and the press at least once since he seized power?
Does that mean Musharraf's peace treaty with the Taliban in Waziristan last year promising to leave them alone if they played nice is his version of Right to Assembly?
What a joke, indeed.
By D.E. Cloutier, at Mon Dec 31, 01:46:00 PM:
Teresita Schaffer served in the U.S. Foreign Service for 30 years. She was one of the State Department’s principal experts on South Asia. Last week she told the New York Times:
"There is talent in Pakistan, but the tragedy is that the major political parties are basically personal and family affairs, and that people outside the family have not been able to move into the top slots."
By TigerHawk, at Mon Dec 31, 01:56:00 PM:
1. Nobody here is defending Musharraf, however useful he may be to American interests. My only point is that Bhutto was hardly the great democratic hope.
2. I do not think that the analogy to the Bushes, Clintons, or Kennedys really holds. In all cases, the "heirs" involved had to go through brutal nomination processes to win their party's "leadership." Neither Kennedy brother succeeded (although Bobby would have if he had not been killed by a Palestinian). Hillary may or may not succeed Bill.
3. DEC nailed it.
American Digest has links to the (by far) best analysis of the situation in Pakistan. Basically there are three major players (military, ngo crowd, and islamicists), none of which can achieve total dominance yet. The ngo crowd will (according to this analysis) eventually achieve an intermediate victory and then quickly be routed by the islamicists as happened in iran.