Why do the prime ministers fail

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In our national language Urdu, the government is called “HAKOOMAT.” As such the people who run the government are known as “HUKMARAN” or rulers. Who is Hukmran? Hukmaran is one whose “HUKM” or “ORDER” is carried out. When we try to go deep into the meaning of the words “hakoomat” and “hukmaran,” we find another word in between and that is “HIKMAT” or “WISDOM.” A “hukm” or “order” that lacks “hikmat” or “wisdom” leads to chaos, confrontation and even tyranny. So what does a politician need to become a successful “hukmaran” and run the “hakoomat” successfully is “hikmat” or “wisdom?” But mere hikmat or wisdom alone is not enough. What one requires in addition to that is “HALQA,” or a “CIRCLE” of “like minded people” that may also be called a “TEAM.” The “halqa” or the “team” is actually “THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE” of a political party and “THE CABINET” of a party in power.

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Why do the prime ministers fail

  1. 1. 2012 Why do the Prime Ministers Fail? Isn’t it the right time to ask this question? In our national language Urdu, the government is called “HAKOOMAT.” As such the people who run the government are known as “HUKMARAN” or rulers. Who is Hukmran? Hukmaran is one whose “HUKM” or “ORDER” is carried out. When we try to go deep into the meaning of the words “hakoomat” and “hukmaran,” we find another word in between and that is “HIKMAT” or “WISDOM.” A “hukm” or “order” that lacks “hikmat” or “wisdom” leads to chaos, confrontation and even tyranny. So what does a politician need to become a successful “hukmaran” and run the “hakoomat” successfully is “hikmat” or “wisdom?” But mere hikmat or wisdom alone is not enough. What one requires in addition to that is “HALQA,” or a “CIRCLE” of “like minded people” that may also be called a “TEAM.” The “halqa” or the “team” is actually “THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE” of a political party and “THE CABINET” of a party in power. Zahid Hussain Khalid This article was first written in 2004 3/14/2012
  2. 2. Why do the Prime Ministers Fail? By: Zahid Hussain KhalidIt is very strange that, in Pakistan, both the elected and non-elected prime ministers fail toretain their status. They are either forced to resign or shown the door disgracefully. Anumber of reasons for the disgraceful exit of the prime ministers are available on recordcovering almost every aspect and logical reason that comes to mind. However, one aspectof the problem has been often neglected and that is the failure of the prime ministers tocomprehend the complex state management structure and use it appropriately in theinterest of the country as well as the people. What are they expected to do? Instead ofgoing into the details of their recorded mistakes and or failures, let us have a look at itfrom a very different and unique angle.In our national language Urdu, the government is called “HAKOOMAT.” As such thepeople who run the government are known as “HUKMARAN” or rulers. Who isHukmran? Hukmaran is one whose “HUKM” or “ORDER” is carried out. When we tryto go deep into the meaning of the words “hakoomat” and “hukmaran,” we find anotherword in between and that is “HIKMAT” or “WISDOM.” A “hukm” or “order” that lacks“hikmat” or “wisdom” leads to chaos, confrontation and even tyranny. So what does apolitician need to become a successful “hukmaran” and run the “hakoomat” successfullyis “hikmat” or “wisdom?” But mere hikmat or wisdom alone is not enough. What onerequires in addition to that is “HALQA,” or a “CIRCLE” of “like minded people” thatmay also be called a “TEAM.” The “halqa” or the “team” is actually “THE EXECUTIVECOMMITTEE” of a political party, “THE CABINET” of a party in power.A team or a cabinet is formed for what? Any team owes its formation to a sharedVISION, a common CAUSE or a joint MISSION. Now if a team has a vision defining acause and the cause itself has the strength to turn into a mission then the TEAM performsand the hukmaran or ruler succeeds. Here the success is also not unconditional. Thecondition is appreciation of the performance by those for whom the team works! And
  3. 3. what does the team get in return? In return it may turn the country into a living heaven,command the gratitude and respect of the country’s people and earn for the ruler a placein “heaven.” Holy Quran has put it like this: “Rabbay Hub Ley Hukman, Walhiqney Bis-salehein, Waj-al-ley Lissan-a-Sidqin Fil Akherein, Waj-al-ney Min Warsatey Janat-in- Naeem!” “O God, give me wisdom (hikmat), and company (team) of those who are pious, and let my praise (appreciation) be on the tongues of those (governed) who come after me and let me inherit the heaven.”Can there be a simpler and more comprehensive definition of “Good Governance.”What, according to the modern political philosophy, is required for Good Governance?Simply a party manifesto or a constitution “endorsed” by the people of a country throughtheir elected representatives; an efficient state management structure and a vigilant teamof public representatives to make sure that the party manifesto or constitution of thecountry is adhered to in letter and spirit for providing a level playing field to every citizenof the country enabling him to have a trouble free comfortable life according to his abilityand ambition.It is not that the political parties in Pakistan do not have a manifesto. Every party, nomatter how big or small it is, has a manifesto. Country also has a constitution. Theexistence of a large number of political parties in the country clearly indicates that the“circles” or “teams” of “like minded people” also exist. Then what is wrong? They do nothave a “Common National Cause.” They have failed to understand the differencebetween a “Common National Cause” and an “Individual Party Approach.” First, theyhave to agree on a “NATIONAL CAUSE” and then decide, through dialogue, which“APPROACH” will be right to turn that cause into a “Common National Mission.”Endeavor to do so will enable them to arrive at “NATIONAL CONSENSUS” which theypresently lack. Why consensus is necessary? It is necessary because now we, as a nation,are not left with much time due to the apparently visible strength of our “elements ofnational power” which have made our enemies very uncomfortable and increasingly
  4. 4. restless. God has blessed our country with those human and natural resources that areessential to make a nation great. How ironic it is that we have pledged this greatness toour enemies for peanuts in terms of temporary financial, strategic and personal politicalgains? Majority of our politicians, senior most officials of the armed forces andbureaucracy, media owners and business tycoons have evidently and miserably failed totreat Pakistan as their “motherland” either intentionally or unintentionally. They havebeen either forced by circumstances or personally tempted to do that. They have neverever tried to rise above their selves. What are the consequences?The sovereign mandate of the people of Pakistan to delegate political authority through agenuine political process has been usurped by a group of civil and military individuals. Ithas been assumed not without genuine geo-strategic reasons that the very survival ofPakistan depends on them. If they are removed from the scene then the country isexpected to face very unpleasant consequences. Consequently, the people of Pakistanhave repeatedly mandated them through presidential referendum and elections of thenational and provincial assemblies to go ahead with their agenda. However, within less orslightly more than two or three years, the prime minister nominated by the majority partyin the national assembly is either forced to resign or kept under constant pressure becausehe fails to deliver. The failure of the out-going or struggling to survive prime ministerclearly indicates that there is a major fault in the State Management Structure. First of allthis fault needs to be identified to proceed further. For that purpose, it is necessary tohave a look at the State Management Structure. How does the structure work? How is itworking now? What can be done about it? Certainly, a lot is needed to be done and canbe done to put the system back to work properly! One thing, however, has to be kept inmind that anything that is not genuine can not be expected to work more efficiently andcan not last longer than something which is genuine. No matter how sincere, dedicated,pious and patriotic the architects of the structure are it falls down and nobody can doanything about it.State Management Structure is well defined in the constitution. The visible changes inthis structure have the approval and endorsement of the parliament. Therefore, the
  5. 5. constitutional legitimacy of this structure can not be questioned. The question that cannow be asked is how this structure can work efficiently to serve both the country as wellas its people. Before commenting on the functionality of the existing State ManagementStructure it is advisable to first understand who are at the giving and at the receivingends.People of Pakistan are at the “giving” and “receiving” ends in terms of “political powerand legislative authority” and “civic rights and socio-economic privileges” respectively.The national and provincial legislators enjoy their political power and exercise theirlegislative and executive authority through federal and provincial bureaucracies on behalfof their voters. When the legislators and cabinet members become irresponsive andirresponsible the people are left at the mercy of federal and provincial bureaucracies tobeg for their civil rights and social privileges. It also indicates that the Head of the StateManagement Team is the President. It appears that the prime minister and the cabinetministers are nominated “through artificially engineered and dramatized consensus” bythe majority party in the national assembly. This is true because the nominations areactually approved by either the party chief or the President. The President gives oath ofoffice to them. There is nothing wrong with that provided the prime minister and all thecabinet ministers belong to the same party and the prime minister is considered a strongparty head or a member of popular standing. Even if the ministers do not belong to thesame political party, they must have a “common national political agenda,” like membersof the political alliances in India and other countries, and rise above their partypreferences as and when such a need arises. This is not the case. On top of that, thegovernors, provincial chief ministers and ministers, Prime Minister and federal ministerscoming from different party backgrounds have their respective individual party agendas.How one can expect them to perform as a team when there is no practically operationallabour policy, no health policy, no education policy, no cultural policy, no trade policy,no industrial policy, no youth policy and no “inter-ministerial and inter-provincialcoordination policy?” Yes the policies are very much there but they are not visible and ifthe policies are visible they are not people-friendly. To sum up the observation thefollowing conclusions can be drawn:
  6. 6. The federal ministers do not appear and behave like a team because they do not have a “common national political cause” How can a “head” (prime minister) of this “team” (ministers) believing in “everyone on his own” can make them submit to his “authority” and work for a “Common National Cause” in the interest of the country and its people? This is where the fault lies!!! Whose fault is this? It is not difficult to guess.Prime minister appears to be a “House and Cabinet Relationship Manager” whose job isto keep everybody happy without enjoying any authority himself. He has an army ofnational assembly members on his back who are totally oblivious of their legislativeresponsibilities. They are interested in “funds for the development schemes focusing onlyon roads, bridges, communication and canals” for what reason is an easy guess. Theyspend millions and billions of rupees on their election without bothering to conduct asurvey to assess the social and economic needs of the voters in their constituencies. Noneof them has ever come up with a plan saying hay look here this is what my voters needfor a better living: for housing, for health, for the education of their children, for theirsafety and security, for employment and post-retirement benefits. For this, they takerefuge in the concept of “Public Private Partnership” to fleece the people with theircorporate partners in health, education, individual and collective security, recruitmentoutsourcing and worker welfare departments. “Public Private Partnership” in a countrywhich does not have a number of genuine “Consumer Protection Platforms” and “People-friendly Responsive and Responsible Regulatory Authorities” makes the life of thepeople miserable. This is exactly what is happening in Pakistan. So what is required to bedone?First requirement of an efficient people-friendly State Management Structure, therefore,is the preparation of a well defined “National Plan of Internal and External Priorities.”First pre-condition for CONSENSUS on such a “National Plan of Internal and ExternalPriorities” is the participation of all the heads of the political parties in Pakistan in“Preliminary Brain Storming Session” with their respective formal “Proposed Plans”
  7. 7. covering “Five Major Areas,” namely, politics, economics, social welfare, diplomacy anddefence. There must be a live televised debate on the proposals to enable the people ofPakistan to participate in this debate as observers on call so that their opinion or vote maybe solicited at an appropriate time.Another ideal solution will be to form a number of panels of genuine opinion influencegroups covering media, corporate sector, women, youth, religious scholars, minoritygroups and sports legends. If this is not done and not done with God speed then this entireState Management Structure will fall in such a way that the words will fail to describe theseverity of the outcome.The genuine political stability and real economic growth will be witnessed only whenwisdom will prevail and teams of like minded individuals having focus on their vision,cause and mission will be formed to run the affairs of the state.

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