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Business Recorder

Published Date: Apr 28, 2011

EXPERTS RULE OUT ARAB-LIKE UPRISING IN PAKISTAN

Experts and analysts don’t see Arab-like uprising in Pakistan because of the existing parliamentary system and entirely different history than the Arab world, irrespective of the fact that we have had time and again corrupt and unrepresentative rulers.

They were speaking at a special lecture titled “The Arab Intifada: military rule or people’s power,” organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Wednesday. Raza Naeem of Beaconhouse University, Lahore and former Ambassador Tariq Fatemi described the current uprising in the Arab world as ‘a refreshing development’ as long deprived; oppressed and economically marginalised people are taking their destiny in their own hands against Western-backed oppressive autocratic regimes. They were of the view that earlier it was military that provided vehicle to uprisings, but now it is the people who are agent of change.

They opined that Pakistanis were fortunate enough not to have situation like Arab world, as the British rulers have left institutions in subcontinent and some form of representative governance structure. While the nation has just got rid of the dictator and having a democratically elected government with parliament and other institutions manifest the functioning of democracy and democratic process.

Tariq Fatemi said, though we have had unrepresentative and corrupt rulers time and again but Pakistan should not be compared with the Arab world, as it has democratic institutions left behind by the British rulers and a parliamentary system of government and even 200 years ago Muslims of the subcontinent had finest institutions than the UK. Whereas, he added that the Arab world has no history of representative form of government.

He said that the intense feeling of national humiliation, economic deprivation and brutal suppression had pivotal role in today’s uprisings in Arab word. He said that some form of representative government was everyway better than autocratic regime. He lamented that Arab people have no history of representative governments as monarchs and dictators took over the region in post-colonial era involving the dominancy of France, Italy and Britishers.

He said Arab world was not a single nationality with varying history and perceptions, adding that the region has created extremely corrupt autocrats since long. He said Arab leaders always lacked legitimacy at home which forced them to seek foreign intervention and patronage.

He termed Jamal Nasser as the great leader for Arab world, but he accused Nasser and Qaddafi for instigating disturbances in neighbouring countries. He further said that the foreign powers only want to change faces not systems, adding that representative governments have to grow from soils and need nurturing, tender caring and require time and experience to get strengthened.

Fatemi was of the view that the Western powers have their strategic, economic, security and extremism, but above all the survival agenda of Israel in the region is their prime objective. In his presentation on the history, politics, uprisings, foreign interventions and evolving internal dynamics of Arab Word, Raza Naeem, said that current uprising in that part of the world was an eye-opener for those western oreintalists and others who believed that the Islam, democracy and Arabs are not compatible with one another.

He said that the protests have shattered the Arab stereotypes created by western media and intellectuals. “The current uprising is evident that the democracy cannot be dropped and formed through airplanes,” he said, adding that Colonel Qaddafi is still holding the ground because he is being supported by the people because he used country’s oil to create a welfare state, while increasing the literacy rate to 95 percent in Libya.

He said Jamal Nasser was the only Arab nationalist leader who dreamed of Arab unity and later offered resignation, but he too had to pay a heavy cost. He termed Naseer a sincere and popular leader that over 67 million people attended his funeral from across the glob whereas over 69 million people have protested to seek ouster of Hussni Mubarak.

He also termed the uprising in the Arab world, as leaderless backed by common people, however, it is yet to seen as to whether the uprising succeeds in translating into a democratic revolution.

He further said that uprising in Arab world was not a new phenomenon, but there were uprisings in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arab and Yemen right from the late 50s till today, all were crushed by autocratic governments with the help of western powers, with which they have secret agreements.

In Bahrain too, he added that Saudi Arabia has entered into a secret agreement to suppress will of the people. While citing the secret agreement of King Hussain of Jordan with Israel, he said that the documented evidences revealed that there have been secret agreements and understandings of Arab governments with Western world to protect these monarchs.

Recalling the ‘Black September 1970,’ he said General Zia-ul-Haq butchered Palestinians with the help of Shah Hussain. He said that Hussain even asked Israel to send planes for his rescue in 1970, adding that Pakistan should have tendered an apology for the act committed by the former military dictator.