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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Azhar Ali: A crutch to a feeble batting contingent.

The winter of 2009/10, brought ignominy for Pakistan’s cricket; the Aussies did not let us taste victory in any format, much of which owed to alleged in-fighting, though. The tour was followed by bans and fines, which meant that Pakistan’s touring contingent to England was bereft of Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan for obvious reasons. Hence, the mantle of responsibility was on the feeble youngsters. Much to the delight, Afridi was made captain of all three formats, bringing him out of a self-imposed abeyance from Tests. The test team included some new faces, to include Umar Amin and Azhar Ali. Both of them were definitely in line for making the final 11, but maybe not early in the tour. Audacious as ever, Afridi won the toss on the 13th of July against Ponting-led Australia, elected to bowl and inducted Azhar Ali and Umar Amin at number 3 and 4, respectively. This article will delve on the excursion of Azhar Ali, since his induction in the test side. He certainly has the grit, temperament and resilience to last the distance. Indeed, he is a crutch to a feeble batting line-up.
Azhar Ali was 25, when he made his debut; his first innings fetched him only 16 runs, but two sweet boundaries on a difficult where only Afridi played in Cavalier fashion, was a commendable effort. However, one got a feeling that Azhar had limitations; he did not possess an array of strokes, but his test-like aptitude compensated for it. When, in the 4th innings, Pakistan was chasing 440 runs, he roughed out with a 42. He was playing cover drives with a great degree of ease, and after his departure the batting capitulated. Azhar’s debut was impressive, not rollicking. However, he showed his class at Leeds with a 30 in the first innings and a well-crafted 51 in a difficult run chase, so it was Azhar who stopped a replica of Sydney. The strides were right, but in the series against England, he failed to live-up to the promises, barring one match-winning innings of 92*. His first assignment sufficed the need for keeping him in the team, but owing to his poor stroke making dexterity he was kept away from the shorter formats. Later, he got some chances in the ODI’s and off-late has performed exceedingly well however; this article will delve on his ODI exploits.

Pakistan went to UAE, to host South Africa, who had Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel amongst their ranks. Azhar proved his mettle; his contributions were instrumental in drawing the series 0-0. He amassed 237 runs in 4 innings, inclusive of three half-centuries, with a best of 90. He was helped by cool heads, namely Misbah and Younis. The grit was evident. He was and still is, seen as an archetypical test cricketer; spends hours at the wicket and does not play reckless shots. The guy continued with his form in New Zealand, with a 67 in the second test. In his short stint, he had performed in England, New Zealand and the Emirates, showing that he had the ability to play on all kinds of wickets.

After a long lay-off due to the World Cup, Azhar flaunted his prowess in the Caribbean. At ST. Kitts he scored 67 and 53 in the two innings of the second test, which Pakistan went on to win. So, the trend was being set, his contributions were handy for the team; even seniors were not that consistent like him. The century was elusive; he foiled a chance to score his first in Zimbabwe, he got out for 75 and then a 70 against Srilanka in Abu Dhabi.The century came in the next test at Dubai. The century contributed towards a victory, strengthening the relationship between his exploits and Pakistan’s victory. The innings was followed by a fifty in the next test at Sharjah.

Azhar carried on with his show in Bangladesh; an insignificant, yet decent fifty was scored by him. One can never eschew his stellar performances in the second and third test of the series against England. If we take out his 68 in the second test then, Pakistan would have lost that test. Wickets were tumbling, but he along with Asad Shafiq propelled the target to a level of respectability. Then, it was up to Ajmal and Rehman to pummel England. Last, his 157 against the Englishmen in the third was awe-inspiring, having bowled out for 99 in the first innings, Pakistan won the test because of his resiliency, guided by Younis Khan.

One can see that, Azhar was never looked back since his debut; he is going from strength to strength. His temperament needs to be eulogized. He has certainly been a crutch to this feeble batting line-up. He may be flayed by youngsters for being inactive and slow, but it is evident that his style has been effective and rewarding for Pakistan. The batsman will ameliorate with the passage of time; improvements are needed, he needs to develop his stroke play and augment his strike-rate. Last, but not the least, Azhar should be allowed to focus, solely on Test cricket as of now.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Establishment: A misconstrued term

I would be very unequivocal in talking about the English prowess of my politicians. They don’t know English, but the way they to try to speak in public gatherings, makes us all laugh. There fluency in English is a disgrace. However, there is one word which is spoken with a spot-on pronunciation. The word is “Establishment”; indeed, every Tom Dick and Harry uses this word in the normal discourse. Nawaz Sharif and his cohort are using this term way too frequently in reference to Imran Khan’s popularity as a political force; the media uses it all the time without any proof. What is meant by this term? This paper will explore two things; the meaning of establishment and its role in Pakistan. However, its role in other third world countries will also be discussed.

Establishment refers to organizations that are permanent powerhouses in the country; they wield power incessantly. However, in the strictest sense it is the administrative machinery of the government. Powerful outfits, to include the civilian-bureaucracy and military high- command form part of the establishment. The establishment is deemed of as the force behind many decisions, ranging from issues of national security to foreign policy. The establishment play the cards from behind the scenes; owing to the influence, the establishment wields their weight on important issues. One can say that, the establishment is a dominant group which has perpetual power.

In the United States of America, not only the President’s administration, but also the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); Pentagon and homeland security among other organizations forms part of the establishment. I believe that, all these organizations had a say in American policies such as entering the Korean, Vietnam or the Afghan War for that matter. The impending drawdown of forces from Afghanistan is being vehemently being resisted by defence minister, Leon Panetta and CIA chief, General David Patreaus; these two people are part of the American establishment. In the United Kingdom, the establishment includes all senior politicians and civil-servants. Even industrialists, financiers and the governors of BBC are deemed as part of the establishment.

Groups that are preponderant in the country, to include the bureaucracy, Military and even the media make up the establishment however, in some countries such as India; the military does not make up integral part of the establishment. The strings that, the civilian setup imposed on the military are well documented in the book:  “Arming without Aiming” by Stephen P.Cohen and Sumit Ganguly. Yet, the Indian military has exerted its influence on multifarious issues; in fact, the military has always been recalcitrant on the Siachen issue.

Next, it is pertinent to mention the role of the establishment in different countries; I would hesitate to use the word third world for countries like Egypt, Tunisia or Libya. These countries were ruled by military establishment till very recently. Egypt and Libya will be dwelt in this paper.

Normally the political scaffold is subverted by the military, so Egypt is a very good example to cite in this paper. The country was under British occupation since 1882; the British were ousted by a revolution in 1952 along with King Farouk. The revolution was orchestrated by the “Free Officers Movement” led by General Naguib and Gamal Abdul Nasser. The former was sworn in as the first president of Egypt. However, fissures arose with Nasser, which ultimately led to the latter’s ascendency to presidency. Nasser ruled the country till 1970; a man who once claimed to be the guardian of national interest became the ruler. Then, the country was ruled by Anwar Sadaat from 1970 to 1981; he was assassinated by the soldiers under Lieutenant Khalid. This brought Mr Hosni Mubarak to glory. This man dictated his terms for 30 years. His epoch was grotesquely repressive to say the least; the state officials were rife with corruption, but eventually he was ousted by the 2011’s revolution. Hence, we can see an overt role of the military establishment in Egypt.

Libya is another country which was dominated by the establishment. Libya gained its independence on 24th December, 1951 under the first and only monarch, King Idris. The monarch gave Libya a constitution, which happened to be the first piece of legislation to indemnify the rights of the Libyans. However, after a lapse of 18 years, the monarchy was dismembered by a 27 years old officer, Colonel Gaddafi. This was the start of the 42 years long tenure of the colonel. He was quick to consolidate his position and vowed to purge the country by protecting the revolution. His rule was typified with repression; he like Napoleon established a surveillance system. It was believed that 10 to 20 percent of Libyans worked in surveillance; dissidents were summarily executed. He was a monstrous dictator with sweeping powers; the establishment was nothing, but him alone. He created organizations to perpetuate his tenure, to include the General People’s Committee as a farce body, which ostensibly controlled Libya.

So far, I have delved on the meaning of establishment and a bit about its role in Egypt and Libya, for these countries witnessed all-out dictatorship. It was the military establishment which usurped power in Egypt and Libya. Now, I will shed light on the main part of the paper, which pertains to the role of the establishment in Pakistan. However, in a quest to discuss the role, one needs to define establishment in the country of the 65 years old country.

Establishment is used interchangeably with the military in Pakistan. You name any erudite worldwide, he or she would use this word with reference to dominant military in the country. To me, it is a very grotesque term used by sapient scholars such as Cohen, Reidel and many others. They feel that the military-establishment takes key decisions, ranging from foreign policy to those of national security. So when Nawaz Sharif, an ex blue-eyed boy of the establishment, talks about the establishment, he basically inkles towards the military.

Although, the Pakistani establishment is not entirely akin to army, but still I would most use this term with regards to the army because of the following reasons:

1)      The Inter services Intelligence (ISI), which is the eye and ear of the country should not be considered as separate from the army; intelligence is only taught in military institutions, to include Intelligence schools; Staff colleges and others, not anywhere else. Considering it a civilian organization is hogwash.

2)      The civilian-bureaucracy is just concerned about securing the perks; they see the wind and support the government of the time; they are a crutch to any government. I cannot delve on concocted stories.

So, the subsequent paragraphs would deal with the role of the establishment in the polity of Pakistan. Pakistan was created on the 14th of August, 1947 after a long and somewhat concerted struggle under the tutelage of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. However, the new was beleaguered with multifarious problems; going into all of those is impertinent with this paper. The impediments that made the role of the establishments were:

The loss of the Quaid was a death-knell for a newly-born country as there was a great void of calibrated leaders. Certainly, Jinnah was the sole spokesman; this is the title of Ayesha Jalal’s book too. The death of Jinnah resulted in mayhem and ruckus; the country could not agree upon a constitution due to bickering and the death of Liaqat Ali Khan was the last nail in the coffin.

The lack of administrative dexterity meant that there was a need to heavily rely upon bureaucrats, who used this to muster power. Ghulam Muhammad soon, ousted Khawaja Nazimuddin and then played havoc with the country’s political scaffold. When Justice Munir gave an infamous verdict on the Tamizuddin case, the establishment got emboldened in the name of doctrine of necessity.

As far as the army is concerned, its role was very imperative from the very outset, owing to a host of factors. The chaos of the partition which led to atrocities galore was dealt with only by the army, who despite being ill-equipped, emerged as an organized force to deal with problems. The way the army rstored law and order in Lahore in 1953 during the anti Ahmediyya movement impressed the populace and probably would have aroused some sentiments of grabbing power, though it is a sweeping statement. I would question the sagacity of Ghulam Muhammad in inducting a serving Commander-in-chief, Field Marshal Ayub and Major General Iskander in the federal cabinet. This helped them taste political power, which led to further openings. The geostrategic conditions really pronounced the role of the military; we had to fend off India over the Kashmir issue, which led to wars with the nemesis. The heroism of the army earned them veneration in the society. As Carey Schofield says in her book “Inside the Pakistan Army” that “army is the only thing that works in Pakistan”. Furthermore, the role of the military was not only pronounced because of India or Afghanistan, but also due to the incompetence of the politicians from the period of 1947-58; prime ministers coming and going; law and order problems and economic downturn.

Hence, Ayub Khan along with Iskander Mirza orchestrated the first martial law of many to come. However, after exactly 20 days, the latter was ousted by the latter; thereby, started-off his 11 years epoch (1958-69). The military dictator led Pakistan in perhaps the golden period; he purged the country by taking punitive actions against licentious politicians and bureaucrats through PODO and EBDO. In fact, he was averse to the role of politicians. He was pushed about the competence of the people at the helm.Ayub supplanted a shaky democracy with a controlled one; he introduced the presidential form of government in the 1962’s constitution. He viewed parliamentary democracy as inept for a country like Pakistan. He embarked on a process of reformation; he vowed to eradicate corruption; smuggling and develop the country’s economy. To be honest, he was successful in all of his aspirations; the economy was vibrant. We were called the “Asian Tiger”. Ayub used bureaucrats for running the machinery, for he deemed them as experts.

However, after the war with India in 1965, Ayub’s popularity was on the decline due to economic downturn; a disenchanted labour force and the rise of his erstwhile supporter Z A Bhutto, who had formed the PPP. The dwindling popularity led him to abdicate in favour of General Yahya Khan in 1969, 25th March to be very precise.

People have a fallacy about the role, intentions and capabilities of General Yahya; they blame him for the East Pakistan debacle, but that is highly exacerbated and it will require another paper from my side to explain the imbroglio of East Pakistan. Still, I would like to mention a few things. He abolished the One Unit Scheme; promulgated the   legal framework order and to add to that, organized the first free and fair elections in the country. He should have been eulogized for it, but then there are people who blame General Ghulam Umar of dispersing funds to anti-Awami league elements without any proof. The inability of the military to prevent a breakup was ignominious, to say the least. The establishment was and perhaps still is heavily censured for the debacle, but reality is a bit different and impertinent for this paper. After the breakup, a man who came to power on behest of the military, Z Bhutto came to power. He made many follies which strengthened the role of the establishment. We are oblivious of the fact that he was a vociferous advocate of the Balochistan operation of 1973; he forced General Tikka to induct the contentious 2de in the army act, which gave , army the  authority to try and punish civilians. He made the political wing of the ISI and gave the crown to a junior, General Zia. The ruckus that ensued after the 1977 elections gave Zia the opportunity to intervene; on 5th July, 1977 he staged a coup to oust Bhutto. Zia made promises to hold elections; he was resolute to go back in the barracks. However, he ruled the country for a good part of 11 years. He used the judiciary to good effect to hang Bhutto on the 4th of April, 1979; this was a grave episode, one that cannot be justified.

Thereafter Zia became all-powerful; he curtailed the powers of the courts; restricted the press and wrested controlled the bureaucracy by inducting military personnel in the administrative setup. The country was under a fully fledged martial law. He appointed CMLA’s across the country. General Sawar, General Rahimuddin, General Jahanzeb and General Iqbal were some of the martial law administrators. The Afghan war turned Zia, from a pariah to a champion of the free world. He allied with the US and fought a proxy war till 1988. He used the slogan of Islam to perpetuate his rule and espoused the Afghan Jihad. This meant that the ISI had an ever-increasing role to play, both in the Jihad and also in the politics. The military establishment, in connivance with the civilian establishment launched independent candidates on the scene, for instance Nawaz Sharif who remained finance and chief minister of Punjab and was a strong proponent of military rule/ Zia made narrow institutions such as the Majlis e Shura; organized farce election and used Islam as a political strategy. I would not go further to unfold Zia’s era, for it is impertinent, to say the least.

 After his death, the country was under grotesque democracy, driven by incompetent leaders, namely, Benazir and Nawaz Sharif. The establishment was a silent spectator however; the creation of the IJI and the Mehran Bank scandal speaks volumes of the role of the intelligence agencies in Pakistan. In fact, the army had the final say in issues pertaining to India, nuclear and Afghanistan. To be candid, the politicians were uncouth to handle these errands. Once, Benon Sevon came to meet Nawaz Sharif over the Afghan imbroglio, but Nawaz was oblivious of the happenings in Afghanistan. Thus, the establishment continued to put their weight on issues of national security and foreign policy.

The coup of 1999 is a well-known case in history, therefore, one should not delve into that, but a bit a General Musharraf would serve the paper well.

Musharaf ousted a feeble government and put the country on track for greater things. He ushered in an era of development with the help of dexterous technocrats; barring the operation Parakram , relations with India were improving; the media was free and the economy was booming. However, his support for the Afghan war; a facade democracy; the chief Justice’s and Lal Masjid’s  incident proved to be death-knell for him. After he relinquished the throne, the country has seen the worst of times under a PPP- headed coalition government.

I do not believe in stories that are not backed up with corroborations. I vehemently repudiate the statement of the “Crime Minister” Yousuf Raza with regards to the military being a state within a state. The military establishment is callous now; they have left these politicians free. Yet, scholars say that the military is playing the cards without much concrete evidence.

Yes, the army has played a vital role in these four years. It was the military which restored the CJ to his deserved position by forcing Asif Zardari to do so.

I would like to unfold an incident, which will never be highlighted in the media. After the Mumbai attacks of 26/11, India, via Mike Mullen conveyed our president to get ready for surgical strikes in Muridke and Azad Kashmir; Zardari did not castigate them and remained quiet, but the Army chief reprimanded Mullen and India of grievous consequences and assured them of a full scale reply. Then, the army put their foot down on the Karry-Lugar bill.

The army is fully focused on counterinsurgency operations in FATA; they carried out stupendous operations in Swat, South Waziristan and other areas. They are not concerned about politics. The strategic planners in the military establishment are bent upon countering India’s Cold Start doctrine instead of political gimmicks, same goes for the ISI.

Thus, I urge erudite scholars   like Christine Fair, Bruce rediel and others not to base their pieces on concocted stories. The bogey of establishment is used by politicians to camouflage their misdeeds. One needs to explore the reasons of the preponderant role of the military establishment; I am focusing on military because the civilian establishment, for the protection of their interest, hobnobs with all governments. If people say that the military intervened wrongly in the setup, then I would rebuke them squarely by telling them about the subverted democracy.

Musharraf rule ushered in economic development; the average growth rate meandered around 6 %; the tax to GDP ratio was much better than today.

Who will curtail the dominance of the establishment? The answer is simple; sincere, committed and competent people at the helm will block them. If they ameliorate the system and make it bereft of loopholes then, no establishment can poke their nose. If our military is involved in national security and foreign policy decision making then, so be it. My civilian politicians don’t have the wherewithal to take this decision. The military is perhaps the greatest stakeholder in foreign and defence policy, thereby; they ought to be involved. I believe that, the US army has the greatest say in making all of the above-mentioned policies.

I would like to conclude this paper by a few suggestions. First, the duty of the military establishment is to defend the territorial sovereignty of a country; the job of the bureaucracy is to carry-out the policies of the state on to provide policy options and certainly they are not supposed to rule the country. This is what our Quaid stated firmly in many of his speeches. However, there are certain responsibilities upon the shoulders of the leaders. Seemingly, as of now, the military is serving the country meritoriously by giving sacrifices galore; but what is the government doing?

Our government is rife with venal personalities, who are way too busy in mustering wealth; they have thrown the country to dogs; the element that peeves me is that, they have no qualms about their follies. I would request my anchors to stop saying this:

“A sordid democracy is better than a brilliant dictatorship”. This statement pesters me to the extremity. Last, but not the least, the establishment is roped in to rule the country, which is not their job.

I am proud of my military/

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Rajarental: A dexterous lackey and a pariah PM

I am very unequivocal in showing my reservations about this grotesque democracy in Pakistan. The follies of the PPP- led coalition has tarnished the reputation of democracy, which is deemed as the best governing system. The government has remained unfazed by all impediments, which have marred the country. One cannot possibly delve into those impediments, for they are too much, and well-documented. The credibility of the incumbent government is at its lowest ebb; rightly so, for it has thrown the country to dogs. However, it was widely opined, that the leader of the pack (PPP), was in a position to recover some lost territory, by supplanting Mr Gillani with a somewhat, less tainted and clean PM, but they foiled this opportunity in connivance with their partners, to include MQM, ANP and PML-Q. Much to our dismay, our head of state nominated the infamous, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as a candidate for premiership of the country; an office that happens to be everything in an archetypical parliamentary democracy, not in Pakistan, though. These so-called amendments have not transferred the powerhouse from Zardari to PM. The nomination and election of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf or Rajarental is nothing less than a pariah for the nation, yet the PPP has no remorse in giving him the crown. This piece will highlight the traits of Raja Sahib, which compelled the president to repose faith in him and 211 parliamentarians to vote for him.

Firstly, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is someone, who happens to be un-assuming and docile person; doesn’t seem to be a man who wields power. In a facade democracy which, happens to be   under the thumb of our president, he is the ideal man for this task. Certainly, the 51-month epoch of Mr Gillani was dominated by Zardari; he being de facto head of the party took all major decisions. Extrapolation will not be wrong; Raja sahib will be a mere puppet, not in the hands of the establishment, but the president.

Secondly, appointing the 61 year old Sindhi cum Punjabi politician as a candidate is not something new; the PPP offers promotion based upon unmatched qualifications. These qualifications include: outstanding performances in their respective ministries; vociferous chants of Jayee Bhutto and BB shaheed and praising the services of president Zardari for democracy. Raja is thus a befitting candidate; the ministry of water and power was in full bloom under him; it tried and succeeded in crippling the country with the weapon of load shedding. The effects of the power crisis need not be emphasized more, for they are far-reaching, multifarious and ever-increasing. Raja Pervaiz was an abominable snowman for the hoi polloi of Pakistan till 2011 when he was ousted from the cabinet. He could have escaped the opprobrium, had he not made innumerable promises to eradicate the curse of load shedding. The newly-elected premier said on one occasion “load shedding will be done away with on the 14th of August.” True to his promise, load shedding was not experienced on that day, but as 15th dawned, it re-appeared. This was just one instance; Hamid Mir, yesterday showed footages of his high-sounded promises to get rid of power outages, yet he was not indignant upon his lacklustre performance. Same goes for his party; it is recalcitrant on defending his candidature, which is a criminal, to say the least. But why should we only say all this for Raja Pervaiz. We have seen the follies of Naveed Qamar and Ahmed Mukhtar were rewarded by swapping their portfolios; Makdom Amin continues to enjoy the taste of his ministry. The predecessor of Raja Pervaiz, Mr Gillani was no different.

Finally, the man in question is alleged, tainted and under scrutiny of the supreme court, in the rental power case. If the leader of the pack is venal; the ex-premier was under the scanner and other ministers, to include Makhdom Shahuddin and Amin Faheem are facing charges of dishonesty then the newly-elected premier is apt to lead a cohort of tarnished personalities and incompetent to the core. The sleeping prowess of Naveed Qamar is well-known, yet he is the man responsible for defence-related affairs, things that are way beyond his dexterity. So, Rajarental, as he is called will not be an odd man out.

Now, I come to the crux of this article, which terms the new PM as a dexterous lackey and a pariah. First, let me delve into him being a pariah. One can go in a slum and ask about him; people would hurl profanities, for they deem him as responsible for leading life sans electricity. Certainly, he is a sycophant; a loyal chum of the president and a man who camouflages his slip-ups in the name of bhuttoism.
Hence, it can be inferred that, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has nothing worthwhile to write home about; his previous idiosyncrasies compel us to deem him as a pariah, yet he fits-in well amongst the ranks of the PPP, owing to his dexterous sycophancy

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The Egyptian revolution

The incendiary forces of the 2011’s Egyptian revolution:

Were they socio-economic or political?

           Revolutions have changed the course of history; they have not only affected the countries of their origin, but their ramifications have been felt elsewhere. It is normally deemed that, the French Revolution provided an impetus for further movements, to include nationalistic ones, which led to the unification of Italy and Germany in the latter half of the 19th century.  Egypt has also witnessed revolutions, which continues to create an impact. It was the 1952’s revolution, which ousted not only the monarch, Farouk, but also the British; the latter had ruled Egypt since 1882. After that, the country was ruled by General Naguib, Gamal Abdul Nasir and later by Anwar Sadat.

        In 1981, Anwar Sadat was assassinated by soldiers led by Lieutenant Khalid; this brought Hosni Mubarak to power. Hosni ruled Egypt nonchalantly from then onwards. But, as we say in English that, for how long can the evil be put off. The populace protested in January, 2011 and soon it turned into a massive revolution, which culminated in the ouster of the abominable, Hosni Mubarak. I often do not subscribe to the fact that, the love for democracy compelled people to revolt; instead, I think that belly teaches all arts. This paper will delve into assessing the incendiary forces behind the revolution with a special focus on economic and social factors. This study aims to probe the following: I what caused the revolution after 30 years of Mubarak’s epoch? II why didn’t this happen in the 1980’s or 1990’s or even in the early 2000’s for that matter? Democrats around the world attribute the outbreak of the revolution to the dictatorial policies of Mubarak, to include curtailments on speech; police brutality and others. However, people lived under the tyrannical regime for 30 years; there was no mutiny to oust the government till 2011.Although, the regime was grotesquely repressive, but what actually kindled the revolution were the socio-economic factors, to include unemployment; high inflation; poor living conditions and other such grave aspects.

            No one can ever undermine the impact of economic and social factors, on the survivability of an incumbent government. Although, the revolution in Egypt happened recently, but still there have been studies carried-out to explore the reasons, which caused the upheaval in 2011.various studies have attributed the revolution to the socio-economic factors. A comprehensive study done by eminent scholars of the American University of Cairo, gives us a full list of socio-economic causes that, kindled the revolution. First, they delved on the income inequality and poverty levels in Egypt; backed-up with data, this factor was fully explained in the study. Certain other factors, to include overpopulation and youth unemployment, education and market matching, amongst other such indicators were discussed in the study. In the section of overpopulation and youth unemployment, the authors opine about the rapid increase in Egypt’s population during the epoch of Mubarak:

The Ex-president Hosni Mubarak ruled the country for nearly thirty years, during which the population grew by 90% from 45 million to 85 million, according to United Nations (UN) estimates, despite concerted government efforts to slow down population growth. The vast majority of Egyptians live in the limited spaces near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometres (15000 sq mi), where the only arable land is found and competing with the need of human habitations. (10-11)

The authors have clearly shown a vivid picture of the bulge in the population, overtime. This is not all that was dwelt with in this study; furthermore, they explained a very colossal problem that the youth confronted. They elucidated that “moreover, according to the Population Reference Bureau’s annual report in 2005 two-thirds Egyptians are under 30, and each year 700,000 new graduates chase 200,000 jobs” (11). These figures are certainly worrisome, to say the least. Job is a crutch for every individual and of course, the economy.

Similarly, another piece of literature gives vent to significance of socio-economic in the turmoil of 2011. Nick beams, national secretary of the socialist equality party (Australia), prepared a report, which was published in the World Socialist Website. The report outlined various socio-economic rationales for challenging the writ of the state. First, he calls the worker class in Egypt as the most potent; this inkles pretty much towards the economic element. Nick beams categorically discusses about the grievances of the workers: they were unhappy with the post-2004 neo-liberal economic policies of the Mubarak’s regime; the augmentation in the pace of privatization led to a crisis in the job market; the conditions of the workers became deplorable and wealth was being amassed by the higher echelons (par 6). Nick further backs his argument by putting the following lines in black and white “when the minimum wage rate was related to per capita gross national product, it had declined from nearly 60 percent in 1984 to 19.4 percent in 1991-92; and then to 13.4 percent in 2007.”(par 6). These evidences suffice the need to accentuate upon the socio-economic degeneration, while studying the fresh revolution. It would be pertinent to mention one other work on this topic. In an article “More than a political revolution”, Samantha Iyer has attributed the mutiny to high living costs; youth unemployment and cuts in social services (par 8).  The author of this piece has reasonably accentuated upon the economic factors; in fact, the societal dimensions of the economy were in limelight. Thus far, the aforementioned studies have corroborated the claim that, the triggering reasons were apolitical, to say the least however; the annus horribilis owed to the high-headed policies of Mubarak. Hence, one can find various scholars concurring upon the economic elements of the revolution; even scholars like Shadi Hamid, who vociferously attribute the mutiny to political reasons, also delve on socio-economic indicators.

Yet, there are some scholars that repudiate the socio-economic milieu as the incendiary force behind the revolution; they argue that, the Egyptian economy was relatively better than other countries. One such study is noteworthy; Andrew V.Korotayee and Julia V. Zinkina, wrote a paper in the Middle East Online Journal. They used statistical data to manifest that, economic stagnation; corruption and unemployment were not grave matters. Further, V. Krotayee and Zinkina bickered “economic growth rates accelerated particularly visibly after 2004 when the new government     managed to attract a group of talented economists who worked out an effective program of economic reforms.” (3).The study described the Egyptian economy as vibrant, only in relation to other impoverished countries, which eschews the gravity of the situation.

Apart from papers, articles and other literary pieces by learned men, one can find data galore to corroborate the very significance of economic relapse. The bulge in population became a persistent problem, for it emanated other emanated other impediments; graphs show the very existence of this phenomenon (see fig .1).

The bulge in the country’s populace may turn out to be a bane, to say the least; the economy may not have the requisite number of jobs, which obviously leads to the grave problem of unemployment. The pinch of being unemployed cannot be felt until one goes through the same mill. The figure below clearly depicts that, the Egyptian population comprises of relatively young men and women. This is a double- edged sword for the economy; the country’s economy  has the propensity to expand however; unemployment can result in societal evils.

                                    Fig. 1.  Youth bulge in Egypt (Neguib et al.10)

This, along with other figures speaks volumes of economic and social problems that led to Mubarak’s ouster from the office. In another data, provided by the World Bank way back in 1989, it was observed that, upper bracket income earners, got the lion’s share of Egypt’s national income (Neguib et al.6-7). This, without an iota of doubt, vitiates the relationship across sections of the society; Egypt was not immune from all these rifts. The results of all the tables and graphs that I scanned through were inkling towards lopsided wealth and poor living conditions. The studies have shown one eccentric phenomenon; the GDP and GNI of Egypt grew, but simultaneously, the level of inequality also increased. This is a harbinger of a grievous problem; the economic prosperity does not have a trickle-down effect.

Thus far, I have reflected upon previous research, pertinent to the titanic revolution; this upheaval was potent enough to dislodge the monstrous dictator. I would refer back to the question, which happens to be the mainstay of this paper. What caused the revolution after 30 years? Why did Mubarak become a pariah in 2011, but not in the 1980, 1990 or early 2000’s? I vociferously refute the claim, that the Egyptians had a love lost for democracy; the immense love for democracy did not bring about the ebb of the dictator. It took nearly thirty years for the populace to endeavour to supplant the abominable autocracy, with the enamoured democracy.  The fact, that the nation was in slumber, inkles towards other reasons; those reasons were apolitical, so to speak. As aforementioned, the sharp increase in inflation; lopsided distribution of wealth and other factors left the country in a huff. Especially, if one considers the past performances of Egypt in the economic sphere, one can develop a link between economic downturn and grievances. Indeed, the worker class protested only because they were getting deplorable, by the day. If they were not deplorable; Mubarak’s regime would have been alright for them. Why would a youngster lambaste a dictator, if he acquires a job, commensurate with his credentials? Every tom dick and harry is not cognizant of political theories; he aspires to live with peace and prosperity. It would not take more time and space for me to repudiate, all those who try to put weight behind the political factors as the prime movers. Despite all his repressive measures, which anyways emanated societal problems; the nation never ventured- out against him. When the economic element was tinkered by his ill-fated policies, the tide turned against him; no one camouflaged him. We lived happily under a Pakistani dictator, till a point when the country was rife with inflation, terrorism and other issues. We Pakistanis, revolted when the above-mentioned impediments plagued our country. Same goes for the Egyptians; in fact, all revolutions, barring the Iranian were triggered by economic downturn and social disparity.

In sum, it may not be wrong to say, that the Egyptians were ripe for a revolution, not because of love for democracy or loath for dictatorship, but because of economic stagnation and youth bulge, which further had a multiplier effect on the populace. Mubarak would have clung on to power, had labour been prosperous or young graduates found apt jobs; he was ousted because people rightly deemed him and his lackeys as the culprits. The political reasons have their rightful place in causing a  mutiny, but they cannot supplant the economic and social as the incendiary forces behind the historic episode. One can identify certain limitations in this study; the paper has only looked into a few broad economic indicators. A few more graphs and tables would have gone down well with the readers; graphs and tables help, elucidate complex situations. The topic is broad and is open to multi-faceted research. The researchers should, try and go to Egypt to ask those who made history by participating in the event. No scholar can explain things, the way these ordinary people can do.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Afridi is not a politician

Eminent scholars around the world, base their stories about Pakistan on unsubstantiated claims; this is not only true in case of Pakistani politics, but cricket also. I would unequivocally say that, so-called cricket pundits are hell-bent upon castigating Afridi for anything untoward that happens in cricket. During Misbah epoch as skipper, Afridi was deemed as the culprit for instigating Anti-Misbahism and when, Hafeez was given the coveted appointment, these trolls were casting aspersions on his espousal. They never believed in Afridi’s open support for Misbah or Hafeez, for that matter. This piece would delve on the fact that, Shahid Afridi is not involved in gimmicks; all aspersions are nothing, but hogwash. We don’t need to be anti-Misbah to be pro-Afridi.

Shahid Afridi came out of retirement during the tenure of Misbah; he came back in a team, which was led and developed by him in most grievous milieu. The series against Srilanka, happened to be his comeback series; he took 13 wickets and scored 123 runs, which earned him the much yearned for Man of the series award; one should not forget 20th November, 2011 when he scored 75 and got 5 wickets to grapple a victory for “Team Misbah. In the one-off T20, Afridi’s cameo helped us cross the line.

After that, Afridi travelled to Bangladesh with the entourage of Misbah. Afridi’s 7th 5 wicket haul and 24 with the bat helped us circumvent ignominy in the first ODI. The talismanic cricketer scored 42 in the next game to propel the team’s total. The series yielded 72 runs and 5 wickets for him, to include one MOTM.

Next, Pakistan had to face the war-torn Afghanistan; the team was full of gumption and optimism. They took our bowlers to the cleaners, virtually, but it was Afridi who mesmerised his ethnic fellows by grabbing 5 wickets. I am pretty much sure that, had it not been for his brilliance, the virulent pashtuns would have beaten us.

Despite all the aforementioned performances, a slight dip in his form in the England series, where he could only muster 106 runs and 3 wickets, the guns were turned at him. Although, he could have taken many more wickets, had the field placing not been grotesque. Certain journalists were writing concocted stories against him, but all in vain, for he flaunted a decent performance in the Asia Cup final; thus, contributing to Pakistan’s victory.

All in all, Afridi scored 335 runs and took 29 wickets in 15 matches under the incumbent ODI skipper, Misbah-Ul-Haq; in the t20’s, he scored 65 runs and took 3 wickets. Rebuking him for playing politics is absolutely claptrap.

Professor’s debut as skipper was shocking for the Green brigade and Afridi; his poor, yet necessary shot was lambasted by everybody as if they are maestros themselves. Chants of politicking reverberated. However, the trolls were left in a huff as just hours ago; Afridi swash buckled 52 and took 2 wickets to win the game for Pakistan. He glossed Hafeez’s scratchy/dismal show. Whre does politics figure in?

I request the erudite to come up with concrete evidence against Afridi; upon failure they should stay put and support him in thick in thin. His performances gives vent to the fact that he is a cricketer , not a politicians.