Sunday, October 16, 2016

At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions

Political discourse in Pakistan is punctuated with allegations and counter allegations without a formal study of the economic implications of the various decisions that have been rocking the country from as early as 1950s. The series of posts in this thread of "At What Cost" is attempt to build a framework for researchers to explore the economic costs of each of these decisions. The title of this series is based on my extensive discussions with late Mr Fazle Hasan of IBA in 1986-87. My later reflections on the lessons that he was trying to convey and which I vehemently disagreed with at that time, but have now come to appreciate only recently have been put down as the first post in this "At What Cost!" series: At What Cost! Fazle Hasan of IBA and our Computation of Economic Costs



The type of economic computation that is required can be seen from the computation of economic costs of joining War on Terror. Researcher may look at other models of computing the economic costs and can then do a similar analysis of the decisions that I have listed in the different tenures of people who have been ruling our country.

The despondency that we see in our people where they have started questioning the wisdom of our founding fathers on the basis of disastrous decisions by the successors is not a solution. Actually, it is foolish to blame our fathers for our behaviors. Blaming the Founding Fathers for Our Mistakes: Case of Pakistan analyzes this psychology. It also highlights that the existence of our country now depends upon a ruthless examination of all the costs of our political decisions, whether taken by sham democracies or by well meaning dictatorships. 
I think the point from where to start is Chief Justice Munir's disastrous decision on Doctrine of Necessity that can be termed as the mother of all evils that has been afflicting our country. His decisions effectively condones the right of the might and has been responsible for all our compromises that were made with disastrous consequences. Our entire culture is now shaped by the operationalization of this doctrine of necessity in the form of "muk-muka" and "matti-pao" ethos that permeates all the communities and the workings of our organizations. Everyone would just like to "matti-pao" the history, regularize the wrongs and move on after a mutually beneficial "muk-muka". 

The first beneficiary of this might is right doctrine of necessity was General Ayub Khan. The disastrous decisions that his violation of rule of constitution brought upon our country are mentioned in Costs of General Ayub's Dicatatorship, and relate one hand to separation of East Pakistan through his blue eyed General Yahya and on the other hand to nationalization by ZAB, who used to call Gen Ayub his daddy. 

Gen Ayub's decision to violate his own constitution and handing over the power to General Yahya Khan, instead of the constitutionally mandated office of speaker, brought us the ignominy of the secession of half of our country. This is another example of the cost of Justice Munir's doctrine of necessity. There is of course a need to identify the disastrous implication of not following on the Justic Hamoodur Rehman Commission report and we are left crumbs of some fond memories of East Pakistan and the great loss that it represented. 

General Yahya's disastrous decision to give power to ZAB in 1971 as CMLA led to the development of a dynastic rule of sham democracies. The costs of sham democracies in Pakistan are being compiled. Their decisions related to Nationalization and Privatization all need to be analyzed separately. 

In comes Genereal Zia's with his11-year rule, and again on the shoulder of Justice Munir's Doctrine of Necessity. His disastrous autocratic decisions had long running economic implications for Pakistan and even today we are suffering from those disastrous decisions. Costs of General Zia's Dictatorship outline some of these decisions. The Afghan adventure through Jehadis may have given us some crumbs from USA, but have ended up making Pakistan a security state that is now vulnerable from every side. 

General Zia's infamous 8th amendment gave rise to the musical chairs between BB and NS for the next 11 years culmination. One can actually derive the distinction of what a sham democracy is through an analysis of these successive turns of one after the other between the two and their short truncated rules. Why Pakistani Democracies are a Sham? Costs of Controlling a Democracy from Outside details this impact. 

Yet another dictator General Musharraf comes on horseback fluttering the flag of Justic Munir's disastrous doctrine of necessity. His decision to make u-turn under the pressure of USA again submerges us in the quagmire from which we are still trying to extricate.  Costs of General Musharraf's Dictatorship lists those disastrous decisions.

When we look back at our history we learn that there have been huge Costs of Military Dictatorships of Pakistan, and the dominant view that saviors on horseback can be panacea for our ills is misplaced. There is a definite need to question whether Generals are Qualified to Make Long Term Strategy: Costs of Strategic Failures of Military Dictators

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