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The Official Pakistan Politics thread

Fusion

Global Moderator
Electoral reform is always a bit of a catch-22 issue though. If a poor or unbalanced electoral system is preventing you from winning elections you believe you otherwise would, then you need to gain power to change it.. but in order to gain power you need to win elections.. which means you must first enact electoral reform.. which means you must first win elections.. and so on.

Does Imran believe (or claim to believe) that the ultimate result of the election would have been different if the electoral system in Pakistan had been just? If so, whether violence is justified actually becomes a murky issue as it's possible he believes he's being tyrannically oppressed by an illegitimate government, in which case he'd be acting in self-defence. Sure, he's probably just making a power grab, but it's a bit more complicated than "if he wants to enact electoral reform, he must do so by first winning a rigged election", surely..
Imran does believe that the outcome of the election would've been different if "fair" elections took place. The thing is, I have yet to see an independent analyst/group that agrees with his contention (most agree that election rigging did take place, but not to the point that it would've changed the outcome of the entire election). In addition, not only does Imran think that election was rigged, he also believes that a vast group of people acted against him to ensure that Nawaz would win. This includes the Supreme Court and the biggest TV station in Pakistan, GEO TV. Once again, no independent person/entity agrees with this assessment.

Given that Imran has no concrete proof of his allegations, nor the backing of independent commissions to support his assertion, I feel he has no moral ground to try toppling an elected government via street power. I also am astonished that he fails to see the long term implications of his actions. Suppose that he succeeds, Nawaz Sharif resigns, and fresh elections take place in which he wins the majority of seats. He has now established a blueprint on how to take down a government. A year or two from now, some other revolutionary with his list of complaints will do the same to Imran's government! Democracy will never prevail in Pakistan if violent protests are all that are required to take down the government.

The correct course of action was for Imran to build support for his views with the other opposition parties. Together, they would've easily pressured Nawaz Sharif to agree to electoral reforms. Imran could also use the constitutional method of dismissing a sitting PM via a no-confidence vote in the parliament (again that would have required him to build support for his action with the other opposition parties). IMO, there were many acceptable course of actions that Imran could have followed, yet he choose to follow the most destructive and dangerous one.
 
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Prince EWS

Global Moderator
Imran does believe that the outcome of the election would've been different if "fair" elections took place. The thing is, I have yet to see an independent analyst/group that agrees with his contention (most agree that election rigging did take place, but not to the point that it would've changed the outcome of the entire election). In addition, not only does Imran think that election was rigged, he also believes that a vast group of people acted against him to ensure that Nawaz would win. This includes the Supreme Court and the biggest TV station in Pakistan, GEO TV. Once again, no independent person/entity agrees with this assessment.

Given that Imran has no concrete proof of his allegations, nor the backing of independent commissions to support his assertion, I feel he has no moral ground to try toppling an elected government via street power.
Hmm, I don't really agree. If he genuinely believes that to be the case and isn't just claiming such to advance his own cause then he is morally justified in defending himself and others from the tyranny of the illegitimate government. Of course, it's fair to be sceptical that those are his genuine beliefs if they contradict the facts as it's awfully convenient for him to hold the very beliefs that would justify violently propelling himself to power.

I also am astonished that he fails to see the long term implications of his actions. Suppose that he succeeds, Nawaz Sharif resigns, and fresh elections take place in which he wins the majority of seats. He has now established a blueprint on how to take down a government. A year or two from now, some other revolutionary with his list of complaints will do the same to Imran's government! Democracy will never prevail in Pakistan if violent protests are all that are required to take down the government.
It's also true that democracy will never prevail in Pakistan if people accept the legitimacy of corrupt governments and election rigging, though. It's a complicated issue. You can't fight rife corruption in the very electoral process democratically.
 

smalishah84

The Tiger King
Hmm, I don't really agree. If he genuinely believes that to be the case and isn't just claiming such to advance his own cause then he is morally justified in defending himself and others from the tyranny of the illegitimate government. Of course, it's fair to be sceptical that those are his genuine beliefs if they contradict the facts as it's awfully convenient for him to hold the very beliefs that would justify violently propelling himself to power.



It's also true that democracy will never prevail in Pakistan if people accept the legitimacy of corrupt governments and election rigging, though. It's a complicated issue. You can't fight rife corruption in the very electoral process democratically.
Btw I know first hand that rigging took place. It happened in my very own constituency. My friends and family experienced it first hand . So its hogwash if somebody claims that the elections were completely free and fair.

Secondly, do you know that initially Imran had only requested that 4 seats out of 200+ be checked to confirm if they were rigged or not and the govt didn't comply. Not only that they went to the courts and got stay orders that those constituencies not be checked. It doesn't leave much choice. And Imran is no Gandhi obviously.
 

Fusion

Global Moderator
Hmm, I don't really agree. If he genuinely believes that to be the case and isn't just claiming such to advance his own cause then he is morally justified in defending himself and others from the tyranny of the illegitimate government. Of course, it's fair to be sceptical that those are his genuine beliefs if they contradict the facts as it's awfully convenient for him to hold the very beliefs that would justify violently propelling himself to power.



It's also true that democracy will never prevail in Pakistan if people accept the legitimacy of corrupt governments and election rigging, though. It's a complicated issue. You can't fight rife corruption in the very electoral process democratically.
We obviously disagree then about moral right/obligation to protest and bring down governments in the absence of concrete proof. I simply think if we allowed individuals that can motivate thousands to unleash violence and chaos, without independent validation of their complaints, then we risk undoing the very fabric of civilized society.

Pakistan is at a very delicate stage in its experiment with democracy. It's important to remember that the democratic transition from the last government to the current one was the first such successful transition in the history of the country! If someone is to risk this fledgling effort at building sustainable democracy in Pakistan, then IMHO they must have solid reason to do so with indisputable proof of their allegations. Imran does not have that.
 

Prince EWS

Global Moderator
We obviously disagree then about moral right/obligation to protest and bring down governments in the absence of concrete proof.
My point is that he doesn't think it is a government.

Imran Khan is a democratic statist. He believes the government should hold a monopoly on legitimate force and that this right is derived from the democratic process. If he thinks the electoral process was rigged to the point of the result being altered, then in his mind the government is illegitimate and it does not have the right to use force. The government needs this right to do typically stately things such as collect taxes, enforce laws, hold people captive, arm the police etc.

If it carries on doing any of that without a democratic mandate then people have a right to self-defence against the illegitimate use of force. This is what he's enacting; in his mind his violence is not a form of aggression but a form of defence against a terrorist organisation illegitimately acting as if it was a state. Of course, to follow this through to conclusion, he'd have to hold elections immediately after toppling the 'government' rather than just assuming power himself.. and something tells me it wouldn't quite work out like that. :p

Pakistan is at a very delicate stage in its experiment with democracy. It's important to remember that the democratic transition from the last government to the current one was the first such successful transition in the history of the country! If someone is to risk this fledgling effort at building sustainable democracy in Pakistan, then IMHO they must have solid reason to do so with indisputable proof of their allegations. Imran does not have that.
I agree. :) That's why what he's doing is ill-advised at best and absolutely ridiculous at worst. Taking what I say to the absurd you could, for example, decide the US government was illegitimate because you were an anarcho-capitalist, refuse to pay tax and then open fire on the police when they come knocking at your door to arrest you. Just because something is morally justifiable on a personal level doesn't make it a particularly good idea.

I can just see his moral justification, is all. If he believes what he says then it's completely justifiable for him to defend himself and others from the tyrannical non-government, even if completely unwise. That said, while I don't agree with his actions (strategically) or the policies of his party, I think there is some naivety in suggesting he find a purely political solution to the problem. If elections are being rigged then political traction is worth next to nothing.
 
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smalishah84

The Tiger King
PEWS, I didn't know politics was your other love (first being cricket).

But you've pretty much nailed his reasons for the protest.
 

smalishah84

The Tiger King
Btw, can someone on here please define democracy.

One gripe that imran has had having lived in the uk for so long is that Pakistan has no democracy.
 

hendrix

Hall of Fame Member
It's completely ludicrous to criticise someone for protesting what they believe to be an unjust electoral system.

I simply think if we allowed individuals that can motivate thousands to unleash violence and chaos, without independent validation of their complaints, then we risk undoing the very fabric of civilized society.
If you continue to pretend that people are sheep and can't make up their own minds and take responsibility for their own actions then you may as well admit that you prefer dictatorship.

"Incitement" is a silly word in this context. You're not campaigning for violence by protesting. You can't pretend that democracy exists if your criticism of the malcontent is that their unhappiness might lead to violence. Noone is calling for war here.
 
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hendrix

Hall of Fame Member
Democracy isn't safe. Democracy isn't free from violence. Democracy isn't validation or restriction or telling people what they should do or believe.
If you can tell someone that their complaint is or isn't valid you can also tell them to be violent or not to be violent. But you can't do either.

At some point you have to trust the individual to verify his own concerns and to curb his own violence; to seek his own independent validation and to make those decisions himself. If that individual cannot do that then the responsibility is on the individual. Otherwise you may as well give up on democracy.


And you're going to bring up pragmatism; what "independent validation" are we referring to here? Do we not think that the people of Pakistan might have the most desire themselves to seek out the most just system? Or are we going to say that they're all corrupt too? They can't be trusted to make decisions about their own future? Again, you may as well just stick to dictatorship if that's the case. I don't think it is, though.

finally:
It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.
 
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smalishah84

The Tiger King
can someone give an definition of democracy here? What exactly are the pre-requisites for a properly functioning democracy?
 

Agent Nationaux

International Coach
I am not actually aware of what procedures PTI followed prior to the demonstrations to get electoral reforms through and whether these were democratic or not. But surely, the demonstrations are a result of the democratic procedures failing? It's also reflective of what Smali has been saying that Imran originally tried to carry out his demands democratically and only when this was refused he has had no option but to take to the streets (I don't know if this is accurate or not or that they were in according ot the Pakistani constitution - maybe someone who knows can clarify). To me this does seem fair because if you don't have any other options left, what else can you do to get justice? You can't just give in and accept that cheating has occurred and say well we shall try again at the next elections (because the results will be the same).

I also don't think that Imran is trying to grab power (despite his foolish declaration of claiming premiereship in front of a crowd) because I just think that he is angry at the self-claimed injustice that has been done to him and he is the type of person who will not accept this (we have seen this throughout his life).

The claim that this example could create similar scenarios in the future where any group can demonstrate for the removal of a party in power is also not likely to be taken seriously unless they have reliable proof that injustice has occured for the claim to be valid. In this example, Imran does have proof that rigging did occur (it might not have changed the result of the elections but that is irrelavant since it's not about how widespread the injustice has been but rather that it has been carried out).
 
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Fusion

Global Moderator
My point is that he doesn't think it is a government.

Imran Khan is a democratic statist. He believes the government should hold a monopoly on legitimate force and that this right is derived from the democratic process. If he thinks the electoral process was rigged to the point of the result being altered, then in his mind the government is illegitimate and it does not have the right to use force. The government needs this right to do typically stately things such as collect taxes, enforce laws, hold people captive, arm the police etc.

If it carries on doing any of that without a democratic mandate then people have a right to self-defence against the illegitimate use of force. This is what he's enacting; in his mind his violence is not a form of aggression but a form of defence against a terrorist organisation illegitimately acting as if it was a state. Of course, to follow this through to conclusion, he'd have to hold elections immediately after toppling the 'government' rather than just assuming power himself.. and something tells me it wouldn't quite work out like that. :p



I agree. :) That's why what he's doing is ill-advised at best and absolutely ridiculous at worst. Taking what I say to the absurd you could, for example, decide the US government was illegitimate because you were an anarcho-capitalist, refuse to pay tax and then open fire on the police when they come knocking at your door to arrest you. Just because something is morally justifiable on a personal level doesn't make it a particularly good idea.

I can just see his moral justification, is all. If he believes what he says then it's completely justifiable for him to defend himself and others from the tyrannical non-government, even if completely unwise. That said, while I don't agree with his actions (strategically) or the policies of his party, I think there is some naivety in suggesting he find a purely political solution to the problem. If elections are being rigged then political traction is worth next to nothing.
I understand the point you're making PEWS, I just disagree with it. :) You are essentially saying he has a moral right to protest, even violently, against what he perceives to be an illegitimate government. I'm simply saying that without concrete proof (that the election result would have changed if elections were "fairly" held), he does not have that moral justification to bring down an elected government. Suppose that an extreme right-wing Tea Party personality in the US (let's say Ted Cruz for fun) states that the believes Obama was not born in the US and hence is not a US Citizen and ineligible to be President. He considers the government to be illegitimate and decides to march on the Capital with thousands of protesters that are willing to resort to violence at their leader's behest. To top it off, Obama can only rely on the Washington D.C police to keep the Capital protected, as the Army or the National Guard has refused to honor its obligations under the Constitutions and wants to act "neutral" in this crisis (or worse are actually backing the protesters behind the scenes). Is Cruz morally justified to bring down the government in such a scenario just because he believes Obama is an illegitimate President? I believe he isn't and that's what I liken Imran's current action to.

All of the above is also supposing that Imran legitimately feels that his party was cheated out of a majority. IMO, he knows that Nawaz's party really won, but his ego will not let him accept the results. I also think there's a reasonably good chance that he was encouraged by the Army to take this course of action, as a way to weaken Nawaz Sharif.

No matter what happens from here on out, Nawaz has been critically weakened and Army's supremacy has been ensured.
 

Fusion

Global Moderator
It's completely ludicrous to criticise someone for protesting what they believe to be an unjust electoral system.


If you continue to pretend that people are sheep and can't make up their own minds and take responsibility for their own actions then you may as well admit that you prefer dictatorship.

"Incitement" is a silly word in this context. You're not campaigning for violence by protesting. You can't pretend that democracy exists if your criticism of the malcontent is that their unhappiness might lead to violence. Noone is calling for war here.
I have a feeling that you haven't really been paying attention to what Imran and Qadri are doing, and perhaps are just relying on cursory readings of headlines. Because if you are paying attention, then the above is simply bullocks. "Protesting" is one thing, laying siege to the Capital with violent intent is another matter altogether. Imran and Qadri have repeatedly incited their followers to act violently. Listen to their daily speeches and there would be no doubt of that. They have even encouraged women and children to take part in these dangerous "protests", which is unwise at best, and downright despicable at worst knowing that violence will occur. "No one is calling for war here". Really? Again, have you listened to Imran's and Qadri's speeches?
 

Prince EWS

Global Moderator
I understand the point you're making PEWS, I just disagree with it. :) You are essentially saying he has a moral right to protest, even violently, against what he perceives to be an illegitimate government. I'm simply saying that without concrete proof (that the election result would have changed if elections were "fairly" held), he does not have that moral justification to bring down an elected government. Suppose that an extreme right-wing Tea Party personality in the US (let's say Ted Cruz for fun) states that the believes Obama was not born in the US and hence is not a US Citizen and ineligible to be President. He considers the government to be illegitimate and decides to march on the Capital with thousands of protesters that are willing to resort to violence at their leader's behest. To top it off, Obama can only rely on the Washington D.C police to keep the Capital protected, as the Army or the National Guard has refused to honor its obligations under the Constitutions and wants to act "neutral" in this crisis (or worse are actually backing the protesters behind the scenes). Is Cruz morally justified to bring down the government in such a scenario just because he believes Obama is an illegitimate President? I believe he isn't and that's what I liken Imran's current action to.
Yeah, that's a bit like my anarcho-capitalist example in that it's a little absurd, but again I actually do think there actually would be moral justification there. If you believe someone is using force against you illegitimately, you're well within your rights to defend yourself against that force. In all three examples here -- the Imran example, the AnCap example and the Tea Party example -- I think it's an absolutely ridiculous, impractical and heavy-handed response, but I do think it's morally justifiable, as long as those beliefs are genuine and not just conveniently claimed.

All of the above is also supposing that Imran legitimately feels that his party was cheated out of a majority. IMO, he knows that Nawaz's party really won, but his ego will not let him accept the results. I also think there's a reasonably good chance that he was encouraged by the Army to take this course of action, as a way to weaken Nawaz Sharif.
Yeah, I get the feeling this might be the case too, which is why I've tried to preface my point was "as long as he genuinely believes..." etc.
 

Fusion

Global Moderator
Yeah, that's a bit like my anarcho-capitalist example in that it's a little absurd, but again I actually do think there actually would be moral justification there. If you believe someone is using force against you illegitimately, you're well within your rights to defend yourself against that force. In all three examples here -- the Imran example, the AnCap example and the Tea Party example -- I think it's an absolutely ridiculous, impractical and heavy-handed response, but I do think it's morally justifiable, as long as those beliefs are genuine and not just conveniently claimed.
Yeah I get what you're saying, but I just profoundly disagree with it. We obviously come from different end of the political spectrum on such matters, but I do respect the consistency in your views, even when you personally don't agree with the course of action being taken.
 

Agent Nationaux

International Coach
With the tea party example you gave, there is no proof of Obama not being born in the US, whereas with Imran's case, electoral fraud has been committed irrespective of how wide scale it was. That in my view is enough to have him removed from power. And if a democratic process to remove him does not work due to corruption then what Imran is doing is fair.
 

Fusion

Global Moderator
With the tea party example you gave, there is no proof of Obama not being born in the US, whereas with Imran's case, electoral fraud has been committed irrespective of how wide scale it was. That in my view is enough to have him removed from power. And if a democratic process to remove him does not work due to corruption then what Imran is doing is fair.
I think the scale of rigging absolutely matters. Imran is asking for the PM's resignation and fresh elections to be called. That demand should only be made if he thinks the result of the entire election would've been different if fair elections were held.

I do want to point out that even in supposed established democracies there's often allegations of election fraud. In the United States, NUMEROUS election results for seats are challenged after every election. It has become standard practice for politicians to have lawyers ready to challenge results on close elections. Hell, Al Gore believes to this day that the election was stolen from him in 2000. You didn't see him leading a revolution to overthrow Dubya did you?

Finally, I want to ask Imran's supporters a question. If Imran so fervently believes that the election was a fraud and hence asked his party members to resign from all assemblies, why did he make an exception for the one province he controls? Weren't the elections held under the same fraudulent election process there? Why the double standards? Could it be that electoral reform is not as important to Imran as gaining power?
 

smalishah84

The Tiger King
I think that perhaps the outcome of the winner MAY not have changed despite the rigging (although I get more skeptical everyday given the govt response) but what would certainly have changed is that Imran's party would have been a comfortable number 2 if the elections had been fair and the current PM Nawaz Sharif would not have had absolute majority for sure. This probably more than anything else is what irks him because being the third largest party in parliament doesn't help Imran much (given that other major political parties have been colluding a lot in the past few years). Not being able to become the leader of opposition means that Imran would have to contend with the corruption of Nawaz and Co for the next 5 years and then when election time would come these same people would ensure that the elections are rigged and they are again in power for the next 5 years.

In any PROPER democracy thugs like Nawaz and Zardari could not even hope to stand for election let alone WIN them. When you have more valuable assets in Park Lane, May Fair (UK) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and Dubai then you sure as hell ain't in power for the good of the people here (considering that most of this billion dollar wealth was actually accumalated AFTER coming to power) you wouldn't be allowed to stand for election in democracy until you explained how you got these assets from (we all know where this came from).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wXCpQYNg2s

This documentary from BBC sheds some light on the torch bearers of democracy in Pakistan (the current prime minister mr Nawaz Sharif is the protagonist of this one :p).

So can somebody tell me what democracy is? Stopping thugs from hijacking the country, is that against democracy?
 

andmark

International Captain
On a brighter side to the current Pakistan situation: BBC News - Pakistan army 'kills 910 militants in Waziristan offensive'

Just going from that report and the statement from the Army the report cites, it sounds like some good stuff from them with several major towns captured by Pakistan. On a more pessimism note "About 800,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in North Waziristan since June" (- from the above article). Seems like this offensive deserves more attention in the west- it's not on the TV news channels. This surely puts peace talks off for a while as well presumably.
 
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