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Editor Imtiaz Alam

Contents Democracy—the South Asian Story

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In This Issue

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Dynastic Politics in South Asia Mariam Mufti

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Afghanistan's Experience with Democracy Prakhar Sharma

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Bangladesh: Post-Emergency Challenges Imtiaz Ahmed

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Bhutan: Transition to Democracy Sonam Kinga

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Maldives at a Crossroads Dr Hassan Saeed and Dr Ahmed Shaheed

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Nepal's Roadmap to Democracy Krishna P. Pokharel

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Publisher Free Media Foundation

Pakistan: Elections and Post-Election Scenario Imtiaz Alam

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Facilitator South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA)

Sri Lanka: “Old” Democracy in a Trap Jayadeva Uyangoda

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Issues Affecting in Pakistan's Cotton Belt Karin Astrid Siegmann, Nazima Shaheen and Shahbaz Bokhari

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Nepal: Trade vis-à-vis Political Dependency Shiv Raj Bhatt

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“Public-Private Partnerships” in Education Dr Pauline Rose

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Executive Editor Zebunnisa Burki Assistant Editor Bushra Sultana Consulting Editors Bangladesh Reazuddin Ahmed India K K Katyal Nepal Yubaraj Ghimire Pakistan I A Rehman Sri Lanka Sharmini Boyle

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Democracy—the South Asian Story Imtiaz Alam

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here has been a global shift towards the establishment of democratic forms of governance, with more of the world's independent nations opting for the road towards democracy. South Asia provides interesting examples to study the democratic process where the British colonialists, unlike other colonisers, introduced liberal constitutional values and structures of rule of law in the subcontinent. In the post-colonial period, benefiting from limited practices of democratic norms, the newly independent countries of the region attempted to take a democratic course with varying degrees of failure and successe. Despite various kinds of authoritarian interruptions, democracy—in one form or the other—has been practiced for varying lengths of time in most South Asian countries. Recently, the monarchy in Nepal had to give way to fullfledged democratic rule and the monarchy in Bhutan voluntarily opted for the path of constitutional and democratic rule. As a military-backed caretaker government in Bangladesh comes under greater pressure to hold elections this year, the 2008 elections in Pakistan have thrown up a very powerful republican Parliament that is destined to bury the vestiges of military rule . While almost all South Asian countries have constitutionally declared their commitment to democratic institutions, the reality on the ground shows that political, economic and social conditions of the people of South Asia have allowed power to remain concentrated in the hands of the elite. As democratisation grows and reaches out to the marginalised sections of society, new political forces are emerging to demand a share in power and greater inclusiveness. Centralised and exclusionary structures are being challenged for devolution and decentralisation of power by peripheral regions, deprived ethnic minorities and disenfranchised people. Unfortunately, most nations in the region tend to subscribe to a majoritarian creed or character where one religious or ethnic group dominates the State and its policies at the cost of other marginalised groups or minorities. Although democratic continuity and sustainability still remain a problem, the people at large want direct participation in the system of governance and empowerment at the grassroots level. Participation of women and the minorities in the mainstream political processes, however, remains abysmally low. Afghanistan, with three decades of war and civil strife, presents an enigma of transition from a tribal/feudal society to liberal democracy. After the overthrow of a most reactionary Taliban regime, there has been an attempt to bring the country on the road to “democracy” through elections of a Loya Jirga (grand council) and the president; these elections saw a 53 percent voter turnout. In the absence of a developed nation state and almost non-existent institutions, the tribal chiefs and warlords continue to dominate the countryside, reducing the writ of the State to a few urban centres. Transition to democracy in Afghanistan, in the absence of developed modern structures and liberal democratic institutions, poses a difficult proposition to its authors who are

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alienated from a traditional and honour-based society. The threat from the deposed Taliban from among the Pakthuns continues to haunt the elected government of Mr. Hamid Karzai who is backed by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Yet the experiment is worth continuing since Afghanistan cannot afford to fall back into the hands of Taliban. Stability, peace and integrity of Afghanistan are crucial to peace and progress in the region. Nepal and Bhutan have both seen monarchic rule, albeit in different shades. For Nepal, the transition to democracy has been confrontational and in phases, with a mass uprising finally forcing the authoritarian monarchy to relinquish all executive authority. After the April elections, the new constituent assembly will decide the fate of the monarchy and character of the republic, depending upon the results. As part of the transition to democracy, the Maoist insurgency is also seen by a section of society as a crucial catalyst in shifting the balance from the upper class elite to the lower castes. Although there are still doubts about the security situation and many in Nepal view the Maoists' commitment to the democratic cause with skepticism, euphoria about the republic (after the people's uprising of April 2006) has not subsided. The majority of the people are in favour of a republic which includes all living in Nepal (a sign that the hitherto “excluded” groups will see better times). But the later upsurge in the Terai region has confounded the political scene that may decisively influence the electoral calculus. The recent shift towards parliamentary democracy in Bhutan has been largely peaceful and with the sweet will of the monarch. However, some international scholars believe that Bhutan's transition might just be cosmetic and the real power may still remain with the monarch—the country is already preparing for the coronation of their young king. The March elections have thrown up a two-party system and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPTBhutan United Party) will form the first democratic government in that country. In keeping with the rest of South Asia, Maldives is also on its way to forming a democratic government, with elections due by the end of 2008. While Gayoom's 30 year regime was seen as almost liberating after Nasir's rule, it has recently drawn criticism from within the country and some international observers have termed it “not free” with regard to freedom of expression and civil liberties. Maldives is currently at a crossroads, set to adapt to a more democratic system of governance and is looking at the president's commitment to fair and free elections, and setting the path towards reform. Sri Lanka, the longest surviving South Asian democracy—with some critics calling it a failed democracy—has seen a gradual evolution towards a unitary system of centralised governance that has alienated the Tamil Hindu minority in the North and North East regions of the island. The constitution erratically mixes the presidential and parliamentary systems of government dividing the executive authority between the prime minister and the president. Sri Lanka has embraced ethnic majoritarianism and has—through various governments over the years—tried to impose the Sinhalese majority over Tamil and Muslim minorities. As a result of strained ethnic relations (partly due to Sinhalese chauvinism and partly due to the Tamil exclusivism), Sri Lanka has become the stage of a bloody ethnic civil war. Today it faces the challenges of reviving

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the ceasefire and opening a meaningful dialogue that could find a lasting democratic solution to the conflict and evolve an inclusive system—maybe a confederal structure—that satisfies the Tamil aspirations and yet keeps the country together as the Buddhist-Sinhalas wish. The valiant people of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) won independence from an internal colonisation imposed under the hegemony of successive military rulers from the then West Pakistan who refused to accept their popular mandate. Although Bangladesh is a democracy, it has seen its fair share of military involvement and the country is again under “emergency” rule, with the blessings of the military. Repeating the mistakes of their Pakistani counterparts, the two major parties continued to take a confrontationist course, consequently allowing the army to intervene—this time from behind the scene. Optimists conclude that the current Bangladesh will revert back to civilian rule mainly because the military would not like to tarnish its image as is the case in Pakistan. However, the recent rise in Islamic extremism and the US concern on terrorism in Bangladesh might propel the military's ambitions to hold on to power. There is also concern that the religious parties might be tempted to fill the void being forcefully created by a not-so-interim autocratic government, even though common Bangladeshis are moderate Muslims. The interim government must learn lessons from Pakistan, where President Musharraf's efforts to sideline the two main political leaders have backfired on him, and let all parties have an even playing field in free and fair elections. Pakistan, from its very beginning, presents a most conflicting case for democracy and authoritarianism. Given the weaknesses of political elite, the army—being the most developed structure—tends to dominate the State that was created by a franchise. On the other hand, despite their occasional disenchantment with the politicians, the people have continued to struggle for democracy. The last martial law was imposed after the failed decade of political confrontation between the two major political parties—divided on pro- and anti-Bhutto lines. In an uneasy transition from military to civilian rule, the February elections have brought a rainbow democratic coalition to power that is committed to restore the sovereignty of the Parliament, deprive the president of any executive power or hand him over back to the to-be-revived judiciary that President Musharraf had unconstitutionally sacked, allow greater freedom and pursue peace with its neighbours. The two victorious major parties, Pakistan Peoples Party of late Ms. Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan Muslim League of Mr. Nawaz Sharif, are committed to a Charter of Democracy that pledges to radically change civil-military relations. Now everything depends on how far the PPP-led coalition government of Pakistan Democratic Alliance will work.

to democracy after the British rule, one can apply Dankwart Rustow's—political theorist and “father of transitology”—propositions that predispose a state towards democracy. These—national unity, existence of entrenched conflict, conscious adoption of democratic rules, and “habituation” of the electorate and the leadership to democratic norms—hold true to a great extent in India. Although India still faces an unstable political system and anti-secular challenges, it is near an ideal type of democratic system in South Asia. Near only because some flaws in its democratic structure (e.g. the firstpast-the-post system) allow for minority groups to be denied fair representation in Parliament. The majoritarian character of the state, despite its fascinating plurality, tends to deprive the minorities and low castes of their due, despite a secular mantra. The lessons learnt from a study of the countries of South Asia are that certain conditions and factors formed the experience of South Asian democracy. With all its conflicts, divisive groups, poverty and illiteracy, South Asia has witnessed a continued interest and participation in politics and a strong nationalism in all its countries. It has dealt with ethnic divisions by experimenting with decentralisation, coalition governments and local democracies. The journey towards democracy continues with the hope that democratic values flourish, thereby benefitting people living in abject poverty by breaking local power nexus and empowering them at the grassroots level.

Stop Press: In the recently declared FPTP election results of the April 2008 Nepal elections, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (CPN-M) has won 120 out of 240 seats. Nepali Congress is a distant second with 37 seats followed by Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) with 33 seats. The Maoists have, thus, emerged as the single largest party in Nepal and will have substantial power in running the government. The counting of votes under proportional representation (PR) system is also nearing completion.

India has long stood as the only stable example of democracy in South Asia. Hailed as the “largest democracy” in the world, India has seen an unbroken record—apart from the 20 month long emergency between 1975 and 1977—of preservation of democracy in its politics. This is not to say that Indian democracy is untainted or flawless. The nature of politics in India has its shortcomings but these have not yet (and are unlikely to) undermine India's democratic heritage. To understand the success of India's transition

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In This Issue

Bhutan: Transition to Democracy

Sonam Kinga, a PhD candidate at Kyoto University, Japan, outlines the existing academic scholarship on democracy, laying down the social and economic pre-requisites for a democratic transition to take place in a State. He explains how conventional causes and prerequisites to democracy have not triggered the present democratisation process in Bhutan. Mr Kinga places Bhutan's monarchy at the centre of this transition, and argues that the transition has taken place on two levels in Bhutan: democratisation of village society followed by that of the State. He feels that democracy works in strong economies and urges Bhutan's elected governments to commit to economic growth and ensure that this newly instituted democracy does not slide back.

Maldives at a Crossroads

Dr Hassan Saeed, former attorney general of the Maldives and Dr Ahmed Shaheed, former foreign minister, give a brief account of President Gayoom's 30 year regime as they lay bare the progress of his promised reforms and the contradictions rife in Gayoom's regime. The authors highlight how the international community's attitude towards Gayoom has affected his national political strategies. Laying out the Commonwealth recommendations to ensure fair elections, the authors state that the political players of the country need to professionalise their relationship with all stakeholders. The paper also recommends that, for fair and free elections in the Maldives, the government needs to come through on all its promised reforms, the international community must be vocal about its expectations from Gayoom’s regime and independent monitoring cells must be set up.

(The views expressed in this journal are solely those of the authors)

Dynastic Politics in South Asia

Afghanistan's Experience with Democracy

Bangladesh: Post-Emergency Challenges

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Following the spate of criticism over late Benazir Bhutto's succession, Mariam Mufti, a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University, USA, examines the meaning of dynastic politics and its differentiation from the politics of family legacy. Ms Mufti presents an overview of the state of politics and typology of political dynasties in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to explain their source of legitimacy and modus operandi, while highlighting the merits and demerits of dynastic politics. Calling for a cautious approach when talking about dynastic politics, the author feels that political leadership and succession in South Asia must be studied by taking into account the broader historical and social context that defines the nature of the political systems of the region.

Prakhar Sharma, head of research at the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies in Kabul, outlines several challenges threatening the transition to democracy and nation building in Afghanistan. Mr Sharma acknowledges the developmental successes of the country in areas such as economic growth—owing particularly to construction, trade and agricultural development—and availability of basic health care to almost 80 percent of Afghans. However, he calls for more visible participation of the Afghan government in the development process. Mr Sharma warns against the application of western notions of democracy and values, stressing that, unless the international community understands the underlying concept of power, culture and history in Afghanistan, the dream of a prosperous Afghanistan will remain an impossible reality.

Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, professor of International Relations at University of Dhaka, discusses the manifold challenges faced by the caretaker government, in particular the impending general elections in Bangladesh by the end of 2008. Dr Ahmed categorises these challenges in political, economic and social clusters, discussing the achievements and shortcomings of the caretaker government in each category while suggesting remedial strategies. Dr Ahmed points out that collectively, these challenges give rise to yet another challenge of public fear with regard to the promises made by the caretaker government and their sustainability in the post-election era.

Nepal's Roadmap to Democracy

With the abolition of monarchy and the constituent assembly elections held in April 2008, Kirshna P. Pokharel from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, analyses the proposals of the three major political parties of Nepal about the future shape of governance, state restructuring, political agendas that need to be addressed by the new constitution and management of the State affairs immediately after the constituent assembly elections. Mr Pokharel recommends possible solutions as he examines the parties' manifestos, policy statements by their top leaders and clarifies issues on which these parties converge and diverge. Calling the manifestos “documents for a new political march”, he feels these proposals will open new horizons in Nepal's political history.

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Sri Lanka: “Old” Democracy in a Trap

Highlighting the thesis of both “resilient” and “old” democracy, Jayadeva Uyangoda, professor at the University of Colombo, demonstrates how—after the initial change in the social composition of through parliamentary-electoral means in 1956—Sri Lanka's democracy has now become reformresistant. Mr Uyangoda acknowledges the ability of Sri Lanka's democracy to resist armed insurgencies, absorb former rebels in multi-ethnic coalition regimes and maintain the highest voter turn-out rate in South Asia. However, he points out the paradoxes in the country's polity as apparent from the lack of political conviction on the part of the government to reform the socio-economic structure of the country or devolve state power to ethnic minority communities.

Issues Affecting Pakistan's Cotton Belt

Karin Astrid Siegmann, Nazima Shaheen and Shahbaz Bokhari from SDPI, Islamabad, examine the multifaceted face of poverty in the main cotton-growing areas of Pakistan, collectively known as Pakistan's cotton belt. The authors analyse the relation of lower cotton prices in Pakistan and the consequent rising levels of poverty among cotton-producing households. The authors elaborate on some of the key issues faced by the cotton belt by empirically studying the grower, sharecropper and picker relationship in terms of bargaining power, the agricultural input vs. the output received in each case, the working conditions of the labour and implications of gendered livelihood.

“Public-Private Partnerships” in Education

Dr Pauline Rose, reader at the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex, UK, traces recent trends towards promoting non-state/state relationships in relation to the “Education for All” agenda. Dr Rose considers the different forms that non-state provision can take and the implications of different providers for relationships with the State. Drawing on evidence from case studies in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, Dr Rose focuses on NGO involvement in educational provision, in particular. She identifies ways in which the degree of formality of state/non-state relationships influences the extent of cooperation/contention between the actors and how this might influence service provision.

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Nepal: Trade vis-à-vis Political Dependency

Shiv Raj Bhatt, a trade policy analyst at UNDP, assesses the prospects and challenges for export diversification in the context of Nepal's trade and economy. Mr Bhatt analyses Nepal's trade dependency problem and associated challenges and presents an overview of Nepal's past export diversification initiatives, highlighting the trade and political dependency link. Mr Bhatt also depicts the export potentials of Nepal concluding the paper with recommendations for the way forward.

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Dynastic Politics in South Asia Mariam Mufti

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akistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's tragic death led to the controversial appointment of her teenage son to run the Pakistan People's Party (PPP). In her will Benazir Bhutto named her husband Asif Ali Zardari as chairperson until the party reached a consensus on the future course of action. Zardari, in turn, chose to name his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as chairperson, himself acting as co-chair. This action evoked a spate of articles in the local and international press criticising political parties in Pakistan for being internally undemocratic and characterising politics in Pakistan as “dynastic”. Most of these articles were scathing in their criticism of political leaders for being supposedly committed to democracy while treating their parties as “personal fiefdoms” or “family heirlooms, a property to be disposed of at will by the leader” (Ali 2008). On another level, the major concern was that “political parties controlled by one family or its succeeding scions did not look very democratic” (Khwaja 2008). To be fair, many also pointed out that dynastic politics was not just the preserve of developing countries like Pakistan but a tendency that was being observed in long-standing democratic republics like the United States, where if “Clinton were to win and serve two terms, then for 28 years the White House would have remained in the hands of the only two families” (Kristoff 2008; Brooks 2008; Hertzberg 2008). The point here is not that these concerns raised by the media were baseless, but that they failed on two counts. First, the application of the word “dynastic” appeared to be a little harsh because it was akin to the addition of one more adjective to a string of pejorative adjectives used to describe politics in the underdeveloped world without so much as an in-depth look at the reasons for the prevalence of such politics. Second, “dynastic” was used as a catch-all concept to mean the opposite of democratic and very little effort was made to parse out these two concepts theoretically. This was problematic because by using the word dynasty without defining it or viewing it in a particular context, no distinction was made between dynastic politics and politics of family legacy. Also the assumption being made was that dynastic politics is necessarily antithetical to democracy. This is obviously not the case as evidenced by the Kennedys, or the elevation of Makiko Tanaka's position to that of foreign minister in Japan. This article is an attempt to confront the above-mentioned observations and to shift the spotlight away from Pakistan, and understand comparatively the politics behind leadership and succession across South Asia in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The central organising questions being addressed are:

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What is meant by dynastic politics and how is it differentiated from other types of hereditary succession that are acceptable forms of social organisation elsewhere in the world? 2) What factors have led to the prevalence of so-called dynastic politics in South Asia? 3) Is dynastic politics or the monopoly of key families over political resources and values, a crucial factor in explaining the difficulties of democratic consolidation in South Asia? The hypothesis being presented here is threefold and claims that a dynasty, as defined by the succession of rulers who belong to the same family for generations, requires two essential components. First, it requires the direct nomination of a family member by the outgoing ruler and second, this succession of powers needs to be legitimated in the eyes of the people. If these two conditions are not met, then the political system is not dynastic but instead might be dependent on family legacy. South Asia has been a fertile ground for politics with dynastic tendencies because of the patrimonial and personalised nature of politics embedded in deeply entrenched kinship networks and family ties which are closely related to caste, ethnicity and identity. This is the reason for political families' legitimacy to hold on to resources by passing them onto the next generation; the advantages of belonging to a political dynasty in such a political system are huge. Since the paper argues that dynastic politics is not always antithetical to the aims of democracy, it is essential that for democratic consolidation to be unhindered by dynastic tendencies, other formal democratic institutions such as the Parliament need to be developed and the salience of elections as the mechanism of legitimation be maintained. This paper will provide an overview of the state of politics in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka that has led many to describe these countries as being fertile ground for dynastic tendencies. It also presents a typology of political dynasties in South Asia to explain their source of legitimacy and modus operandi, and the prevalence of dynastic politics in South Asia. Dynastic politics is looked upon as the perpetuation of political power in one or more families. The progenitor dominates a political party or some form of public office which is then passed on to a member of the family instead of a successor being chosen meritocratically. The supporters and followers of this political leader find some “spiritual continuity” with family heirs becoming political successors (Greenway 2008). The involvement of the family may be viewed as beneficial in the event that these dynasties find successors who are equal to the task and, therefore, fill a void in the leadership abilities of other aspiring political leaders of the time (Imam 1988). Yet dynastic politics can also be a source of conflict between rival claims of dynastic rule making political successions disorderly and secretive and leading to major instability in the political system. In extreme cases, the unavailability of peaceful processes of mediation to resolve irreconcilable differences leaves extremely violent means—that is death or assassination—to bring about succession or the removal of an incumbent. The cases of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan serve to highlight the merits

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and demerits of dynastic politics. An overview of these countries also shows the diversity of context in which political dynasties emerge and establish control over political resources. India: The Nehru family has dominated Indian politics for almost four generations—Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-1967), his daughter Indira Gandhi (1966-77, 1980-84) and grandson Rajiv Gandhi (1984-1989). Both Indira and Rajiv Gandhi had no prior involvement in politics but both proved to be shrewd politicians. Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv's Italian wife accepted party presidency in 1998 and, while she has no political acumen or evident leadership skills, she entered politics to fill an existing leadership vacuum. Sonia Gandhi is now preparing her son Rahul Gandhi to join politics. The extraordinary prominence of members of the Nehru family in Indian politics makes the democratic credentials of the system as a whole questionable. Yet, one could plausibly agree that succession in India was not the result of dynastic nomination but of elite consensus among the Congress party bosses. First, Indira Gandhi did not become prime minister until two years after her father's death and her nomination was not the result of Nehru's personal desire. Mitra (1988) notes that Indira Gandhi was brought in as an act of political expediency by the Congress party bosses as a short-term solution to the leadership crisis that ensued after Lal Bahadur Shastri's untimely death. Similarly, Rajiv Gandhi's succession to office was also organised by the Congress High Command after Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984 (ibid., 130). It is also worth noting that during this time, succession was brought about through civil and overt means and not through violence or coercion. Indira Gandhi's succession was the result of protracted bargaining among candidates competing for office. This bargaining occurred between members of the political elite and was not influenced by the military, bureaucracy, media or any form of extra-parliamentary forces. Twice, succession also occurred by means of electoral defeat of the Congress party. All this notwithstanding, there are arguments to be made calling into question the “democratic nature” of successions in India in spite of timely, free and fair elections. First, Nehru's entry into politics was facilitated by his father Motilal Nehru. Nehru himself saw the meteoric rise of his daughter in politics. Indira Gandhi, in turn, felt the need to adopt personalist politics to maintain control over state resources. She relied heavily on her sons Sanjay and Rajiv Gandhi, entrusting them with significant political power even though they were unelected. Her calculus of power ensured that no state chief minister was strong enough to “circumvent the smooth success of her son to the office of [prime minister]” (Dua 1985, 794). First, she made sure that all Congress chief ministers were nominees made by Gandhi herself. Most of them were appointed from outside the arena of state politics and were, therefore, obliged to seek the prime minister's support to retain their offices. Second, she facilitated Rajiv Gandhi's appearance on the political scene by making him in charge of key posts in Congress (ibid., 797-800). This not only familiarised him with the ways of politics but also made him the only likely contender for the office of prime minister after his

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mother's death. Hence Rajiv Gandhi's succession to office happened without any process of elite-bargaining. Dynastic ambitions in India were not only realised at the national level but also at the state level. For example, the advantages to be gained from political trust following kinship lines were begotten by the Shuklas of Madhya Pradesh and the Abdullahs in Jammu and Kashmir (ibid., 803). Sri Lanka: The political system of Sri Lanka has been the preserve of a few main families—the Senanayakes, Bandranaikes, Jayawardenes and Wickramasinghes. Family and kinship play a crucial role in the political affairs of the country and dynastic succession has allowed Sri Lanka to develop and institutionalise a stable twoparty system that alternates between the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) (Kearney 1993, 17-19). The political and economic status of a family has been an important factor in Sri Lankan socio-political life. During colonial times a few families gained important economic positions, and are respected and granted high status by society till today. Hence, in the post-colonial era the political void left by the British was populated and dominated by very few families. This differs from India where only the Nehru family dominated; or in Pakistan where a number of families formed semi-permanent alliances (Baxter et al. 1988, 309). It is, therefore, not surprising that the largest political party in Sri Lanka, the UNP is called the “Uncle-Nephew Party” (Shastri 2004, 244) or that the Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is known as the “husbandwife party” because the only two candidates to be nominated are married to each other (Kearney, 28). The first prime minister of Sri Lanka, D.S. Senanayake formed the UNP, a party that was criticised for being a coalition of notables (not national or united) who rallied behind Senanayake once it was apparent that he was the chosen inheritor of the British colony. In 1952, upon his unexpected death, Senanayake was replaced by his son Dudley Senanayake, who stepped down in 1954 in the face of a political storm and handed the reins of the government to his uncle Sir John Kotelawala. S.W.R.D Bandaranaike, alienated by the dynastic nature of succession in the UNP, left the party and formed the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) by appealing to the locally influential Sinhalese-speaking intermediate classes. In 1960, Bandaranaike's widow Sirimavo Bandaranaike was elected on her husband's mandate and, while she lacked charisma, she successfully invoked her husband's name to retain power for a full term. For the next few decades, power alternated between the UNP and SLFP. Dudley Senanayake's nephew J.R. Jayawardene took over the party leadership after his death. He accused Sirimavo Bandaranaike for having abused official powers during her tenure as prime minister, stripping her of the right to participate in politics. Hence, Anura Bandaranaike was thrust into his father's legacy. Jayawardene was the unrivalled leader of the UNP until 1994 when the mantle of leadership was passed onto his nephew Ranil Wickramasinghe, a scion of a powerful family (Shastri 2004, 244; Baxter et al. 1988, 310-12). In the mean time, SLFP managed by Sirimavo

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Bandaranaike has now been taken over by her daughter Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (Saez, 118). Despite the blatant dynastic-nepotistic principle at play amongst the top-tier leadership of Sri Lanka, it is commendable that assumption of power has always been legitimated by regularly-held and popular elections. It is also noteworthy that individuals from modest backgrounds have not allowed elite politics to play out unrivalled. For example, R. Premadesa rose up the UNP party ranks to become the president of Sri Lanka in 1973 through sheer hard work and persistence (Shastri 2004, 244). Bangladesh: One of the defining features of Bangladeshi politics has been dynastic rule as power has alternated between the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by Khaleda Zia and Awami League (AL) led by Sheikh Hasina. Both leaders rose to prominence due to their relationship with leaders Ziaur Rahman and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, respectively. Both women have also since tried to groom their sons as heirs apparent. Unlike India and Sri Lanka, dynastic politics in Bangladesh has led to violent political conflict between two rival claims for dynasty rule and control over state resources. Instead of evolving a mutually beneficial two-party system, the BNP and AL practice confrontational politics in which each party tries to “seize state power as though the other has no right to exist” (Hossain 2000, 509). The two main parties represent opposing ideologies. An International Crises Group (ICG) report notes that the BNP is a right of centre party, with a middle-class urban base, advocating an anti-Indian, pro-Pakistani stance and is of an Islamic bent. The AL, on the other hand, is left of centre, secular, pro-India, rural and favoured by the farmers. However, both parties are very personalised and centralised in their decision-making structures. They are both entirely dominated by the founding families who do not tolerate any dissension in their ranks, or any threat to their interests (ICG 2006, 3). The BNP was the creation of a ruling general and propagated an “ethos based on the mobilization [sic] of fear and favor [sic] on the part of the leaders and party cadres” (Hossain 2004, 212). Both Ziaur Rahman and Khaleda Zia exploited this ethos to the fullest by never holding inner party elections and filling party positions through appointment or nomination. Cabinet ministers, members of Parliament and party executives owe their positions to the pleasure of the party boss. This has created discontent and disparity in the party organisation as well as a culture of “pelf and patronage” (ibid.) that encourages dynastic control. The AL is no different. It chose Abdul Malik Ukil to succeed Sheikh Mujibur Rahman but he failed to hold the party together. As the party dwindled and lost many of its members to other parties, Sheikh Hasina—Mujibur Rahman's daughter—was brought back from Delhi to restore vitality to the AL (Ali 2000, 17). Since both parties do not accept the legitimacy of the other's existence, dynastic rivalries have spiraled into a maelstrom of “hartal politics” (strike politics) and street

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violence as an effective instrument for destabilising and toppling governments. Many scholars like Akhtar Hossain and Rounaq Jehan have attributed feudalism to be the explanatory factor behind Bangladesh's personalised and factionalised character. Politicians are motivated by easy access to state resources. Once in power, these politicians behave as feudal patrons demanding loyalty from their constituents. In these circumstances, elections are merely “ritualistic, democratic political events,” (Hossain 2000, 525) that mobilise people on trivial issues along vertical lines such that the economic stakes of losing are very high, hence encouraging corrupt practices to the detriment of the Bangladesh polity. Pakistan: Politics in Pakistan has been criticised for having been driven by dynasties and personalities. Political parties have been considered nothing more than platforms for political families. The PPP was inherited by Benazir Bhutto upon her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's death and has now been passed onto her son and husband. The PPP has almost been reduced to a cult of “Bhutto martyrs” (Gazdar 2008, 8). The Pakistan Muslim LeagueN (PML-N) is headed by sibling Shahbaz Sharif on behalf of Nawaz Sharif. Sons and nephews are now being groomed as the next generation of leaders. Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has succeeded his cousin and brother-in law Chaudhry Shujaat as the chairperson of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), while Chaudhry Shujaat's brother Wajahat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi's son Moonis Elahi have already taken their first political footsteps by contesting provincial assembly seats in 2008 elections. The Pashtun nationalist party, Awami National Party (ANP) is led by Asfandyar Wali Khan, son of Abdul Wali Khan and grandson of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. The ANP has now nominated a young family member Amir Haider Hoti to the post of chief minister in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). While the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has not yet faced a political succession, one can be assured of Altaf Hussain's complete, iron-fisted control over the party and his final say on who would succeed him. Religious parties like the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) are no exceptions to the rule. Maulana Fazlur Rahman inherited the leadership of JUI-F from his father Mufti Mahmud. Similarly, JUP leader Shah Ahmad Noorani was succeeded by his son Anas Noorani. Even Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), considered the most democratic party, is criticised for having facilitated the rise of Samia Raheela Qazi, daughter of Qazi Hussain Ahmad to the position of a member of the Parliament (Idris 2008). Despite these numerous examples, it is worth noting that, except for the PPP where succession was carried out according to the wishes of the previous leader, the other parties have simply encouraged or facilitated the political careers of family members. It is worthwhile to distinguish between dynastic politics and family-based legacies which a lot of these political parties appear to be (Haqqani 2008). For instance, Hamza Shahbaz, Shahbaz Sharif's son, conceded that “family is an advantage, but it was not decisive because ultimately the verdict lies with the people” (Daily Times, 18 January 2008).

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Since independence, Pakistan's political system can be described as a tussle between two configurations of power. The first of these are the political parties led by politicians vying for public office. The second, and more dominant of the two, is the state controlled by the military and its junior partner in the oligarchy—the bureaucracy (Waseem 2005). Extra-parliamentary forces have entrenched themselves in the political system using both formal and informal mechanisms to insure the subordination of elected assemblies. It is, therefore, not surprising that political parties, instead of relying on populist politics and developing programmatic foundations, have espoused a clientalist mode of party formation. Since clientalist parties compensate supporters through direct exchanges instead of through consensus-building, they do not have to mobilise voters in the non-electoral context to insure legitimacy or re-election. In light of this, one can understand why, in the aftermath of Bhutto's death, the party decided against the entire process of intra-party election and rapidly chose to rally behind Zardari's wishes to make Bilawal Bhutto Zardari the chairperson (Haqqani 2008; Business Recorder 1 January 2008). Another aspect of the role played by political dynasties is seen in politics that plays out at the district level. Political dynasties let local factional leaders negotiate with the heads of local biradaris (primordial kinship networks) and support the candidates of these biradaris in local elections. These kinship networks compete with each other, draw support and strength from political dynasties and in return mobilise voters in favour of their respective candidates running in the general election. Biradaris have a flexible relationship with the local political dynasties and hence with the political party that these dynasties are connected to. The political dynasties, in order to keep the primordial networks under their control, ensure that they have family members in positions of power in the Parliament to have a ready source of patronage for the constituents (Pattan 2006; Alavi 1976, 343-7). This explains how and why political parties nominate electoral candidates from the same political dynasties and encourage family members to join politics. The party is important for the political dynasty because it provides a platform for networking at a national level and additional votes to win an election. From the overview of the dynamics of succession in South Asia, two characteristics of dynastic politics emerge as being salient: 1)

“Nomination by a ruler of a person related to him by tie of blood to replace him in the event of death or abdication. 2) A priori acceptance of the legitimacy of this act by the ruler as well as by the ruled” (Mitra 1988, 158). The issue of legitimation is extremely important to consider. The South Asian cases have shown that while dynastic politics may not be considered democratic, legitimate form of succession it is acceptable to the people and, therefore, not contested. Mitra (1988) notes that legitimation can come through overt or covert forces or the power of an established belief system. In India, people have an instrumental attitude towards politics and so the only way to legitimate authority is expressed either through

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elections or bargaining to accommodate interests. A similar source of legitimation exists in Sri Lanka, where regular elections have decided whether a political candidate achieves public office. For instance, even though D.S. Senanayake transferred power to his son Dudley, two years in office forced Dudley Senanayake to step down because he could not deal with the political problems of the day. In both these countries, the institutional fabric necessary for dynastic control was missing. In Bangladesh, dynastic control of political parties has spiraled into an irreconcilable conflict of the worst kind where both parties dominated by two political families, due to their differences, undermine each other's authority. Here the rulers themselves do not legitimate authority creating instability that is resolved only through violence. Lastly, in Pakistan, the mixture between the military and political rule has created a situation where parties prefer to function as clientelist organisations that are supported by patronage networks among family-based groups (biradaris) at the local level. At the national level, party leadership is the preserve of political families. However, in order to hold public office, party leaders can either choose to legitimate their authority through the electoral process or they can choose to cooperate with the militarybureaucracy and attain public office by forming the king's party. Either way, political power is a family-based legacy rather than a proper dynastic succession. To summarise our findings thus far, the following table presents a typology of succession and leadership in South Asia along two vectors: 1) the process of entry into politics and gaining public office and 2) the type of leader that might emerge (culture briefings). Type of Leader

Process of Entry into Politics

Direct nomination by the previous ruler or wresting control forcefully Elite-consensus which is a result of bargaining

Leaders who service the people by filling a void in the leadership

Charismatic leaders who are etched in the minds of the people

Sirimavo Bandaranaike J.R. Jayawardenes

Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal Bhuto Zardari S.W.R.D Bandaranaike

Indira Gandhi

Mujibur-Rahman Ziaur-Rahman

However, in an attempt to be parsimonious, this typology misses out on the ease of entry into politics provided by being associated with a family name. This allows for the emergence of a political lineage that is buttressed by money and resources to sustain themselves as political leaders and as distributors of patronage. Access to the political system is a costly proposition. Only those who can afford time, money, resources and have the requisite connections can join a generally exclusive group of political elite who compete for state resources. The increase in the size of constituencies and the rising costs of campaigning have made it difficult for an “unfinanced unknown” (Kristoff 2008) to enter politics. An analogy borrowed from economics that serves to explain this phenomenon is that politicians raise the price of joining politics just as a monopolist raises the price of competition in a free market (Gupta 2008). Belonging to a family which has traditionally been in politics and is

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buttressed by money facilitates entry into politics by: 1) making it easier to establish credibility, 2) financing political mobilisation and 3) by lowering the cost of the time spent gaining experience. In addition to this, Dipanker Gupta—borrowing from the Tilly-ian theory of the state—has extended monopoly over violence as a basic qualification for entry into politics, a characteristic that is gained by belonging to a political family that has the ability to control, inflict and resist violence (Gupta 2008). This monopoly of violence is necessary because politicians as patrons need to be able to afford protection to their constituents by translating their interests to the state in exchange for a vote. In countries where democratic politics has not yet taken root and societies are still susceptible to informal institutions, such as the biradari and ethnicity that tend to freeze the vote—family control over violence is the best guarantee for a party's survival. As yet we have only established that there are dynastic tendencies in South Asian politics and that there are both merits and demerits of this form of succession. We still need to address why South Asia provides such fertile ground for such politics. There are three aspects that need to be addressed. First is the personalistic nature of politics; second, the patrimonial mechanism of conducting politics and third is the cultural archetype of political populism that determines the collective memory and shapes judgment and perspective. Patrimonialism can be understood as a political system in which a politician, in order to perpetuate his own position of power, operates through the administrative office that has been appointed to him. The ruler virtually buys the loyalty of his clients in return for appointments to public office (Dua 1985, 794; Scott 1972). In India, Indira Gandhi adopted patrimonial strategies to solidify her own position of power and to secure her son's succession to office. The patrimonial patron-client relationship is also evident in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan where political parties are clientalist in nature, that is, politicians tend to buy the support of constituencies through direct compensation during elections. Once the leader is secure in his position of power, s/he handpicks a circle of advisors and a successor in the event of his/her death or ouster (Ali 2000, 116). In South Asia, this successor is almost always a blood relative. This is explained by the feudalistic patron-client relationship which is more informal and based on personal obligation and sentiments. Here the politician depends on kinship networks to secure biradari (Pakistan) or faction (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka), caste-based (India) support at the grassroots level that has a track record of providing patronage and development to his constituency. In all probability, the politician belongs to a successful political family that is locally influential and already linked to the existing patronage networks. Voters then do not vote for a party but instead for a candidate who is expected to win and, therefore, have access to patronage (Wilder 1999, 192-94). The last point emphasises the personalised nature of politics in South Asia which is mainly candidate-centred and heavily reliant on the individual charismatic attributes of the politician.

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Voting in South Asia is not necessarily a private individual choice but one which is determined by consensual considerations of caste, family and kinship networks. This being the case, it is difficult to dislodge the validity and appeal of dynasty or family legacy. For example, the part-based legacy of martyrdom that surrounds the Bhutto family is collectively remembered as a sacrifice to expose injustices in society. The PPP mobilises its constituency on the “sentiments of protest, resistance and sacrifice that provide an ethical basis for majority rule” (Bhatti 2008). Hence it makes sense for a political party to manipulate the sympathy that exists in the collective memory of its supporters by being dynastic and placing the mantle of leadership on a family member no matter how politically unprepared s/he might be. Another example is the memory of S.W.R.D Bandaranaike as being a populist leader who was a source of inspiration and guidance even though he was in office for only three years. To conclude, we return to the criticisms that were made by local and international media in response to Bhutto's will. The two main criticisms were that political leaders treated political parties as though they were family businesses and that political parties in Pakistan are internally undemocratic. Having discussed the nature of succession in South Asia, there are two general responses to these criticisms. First, that the politicians are short-sighted and unlikely to think beyond their own selfinterest; the political party is more a stepping stone to power—an institution which resolves a variety of coordination problems in pursuit of public office and state resources. Second, there is nothing in the definition of a political party to suggest that parties should be/are inherently democratic or function in a way that leads to democratic ends. In fact if the world is not ordered around the notion of some public good but around the inevitability of conflicting interests, then parties promote interests that are partial or extremist and have very little to do with the positive outcome of protection of citizen rights much less democracy. More importantly, when claiming that politics in South Asia is driven by the exigencies of dynasties, we need to exercise caution in how we use this word. There is a fine line between a family legacy and dynastic succession. We need to theorise what we mean by dynasty because we are in danger of claiming that the existence of political dynasties are necessarily antithetical to democratic consolidation. As this article has endeavored to prove, there are pros and cons to dynastic politics. It led to stability in India and Sri Lanka; conflict in Bangladesh; and the situation in Pakistan has been unclear. Hence, we need to understand political leadership and succession by taking into account the broader historical and social context that defines the nature of the political system in question. Mariam Mufti is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Johns Hopkins University, USA. Bibliography l Alavi, Hamza. “The Rural Elite and Agricultural Development in Pakistan.” In Rural Development in Bangladesh and Pakistan, edited by Robert D. Stevens, Hamza Alavi and Peter J. Bertocci. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1976. l Ali, Mahmud. “Electoral Politics in Bangladesh: an experience in Transitional Democracy.” In Electoral Politics in South Asia, edited by Subho Basu and Suranjan Das. K.B. Bagchi and Company: Calcutta, 2000.

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l Ali, Tariq. “Poor Pakistan”. Dur Desh. @ http://wwwdurdesh.net/news/Article 769.html l Baxter, Craig, Yogendra K. Malik, Charles H. Kennedy and Robert C. Oberst. Government

and Politics in South Asia. Lahore: Vanguard Books, 1988. l Bhatti, Amjad. “Deconstructing the Dynasty.” Dawn, 19 January 2008. l Brooks, Rosa. “A dynasty isn't a democracy.” Los Angeles Times, 3 January 2008. l Culture Briefings. “Politics of Dynasty knows no boundaries.” Geotravel Research Center.

http://www.culturebriefings.com/articles/poldynty.html l Dua, Bhagwan D. “Federalism or Patrimonialism: The Making and Unmaking of Chief

Afghanistan's Experience with Democracy Prakhar Sharma

Ministers in India.” Asian Survey (Aug 1985), vol. 25, no. 8. l Editorial. “PPP's new pragmatic leadership”. Business Recorder, 1 January 2008. l Editorial. “Merits and Demerits of Family Parties.” Daily Times, 2 March 2008. l Gazdar, Haris. “Pakistan's Precious Parties.” Economic and Political Weekly, 9 February

2008. l Greenway, HDS. “Dynastic Politics at Work.” International Herald Tribune, 8 January

2008. l Gupta, Dipankar. “Dynasty and the Price of Politics: Do we Really get the Leaders we

Deserve?” Mail Today, 3 January 2008. l Haqqani, Hussain. “Beyond Benazir.” Los Angeles Times, 16 January 2008. l Hertzberg, Hendrik. “Dynastic Voyage” The New Yorker, 29 October 2007. l Hossain, Akhtar. “Anatomy of Hartal Politics in Bangladesh.” Asian Survey (May-Jun

2000) vol. 40, no. 3. l Hossain, Golam. “Bangladesh Nationalist Party: From Military Rule to the Champion of Democracy.” In Political Parties in South Asia , edited by Subrata K. Mirta, Mike Eskat and Clemens Speib. London: Praeger, 2004: 196-215 l Idris, Kunwar. “Leaders by Inheritance.” Dawn, 9 March 2008 l Imam, Musheer Ahmed Pesh. “Dynasties in politics.” Dawn, 7 February 1998 l International Crisis Group. Bangladesh Today. Crisis Group Asia Report No. 121, 23 October 2006 l Jahan, Rounaq. “Bangladesh in 2002: Imperiled Democracy.” Asian Survey (Jan-Feb 2003) vol. 43, no.1. l Kearney, Robert N. “The Political Party System in Sri Lanka.” Political Science Quarterly (Spring 1983) vol. 98, No. 1. l Khwaja, Maruf. “Pakistan: dynasty vs democracy.” Open Democracy. http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/conflicts/dynasty_vs_democracy l Kristoff, Nicholas D. “The Dynastic Question.” The New York Times, 31 January 2008. l Mitra, Subrata K. “India: Dynastic Rule or the Democratization of Power?” Third World Quarterly (Jan 1988) vol. 10, no.1. l Pattan Development Organization. Understanding the Role of Political Dynasties: Local Government Election 2005. Islamabad: Pattan Development Organization, 2006. l Saez, Lawrence. “Sri Lanka in 2000: The Politics of Despair.” Asian Survey (Jan-Feb 2001) vol. 41, no.1. l Scott, James C. “Patron-Client Politics and Political Change in South East Asia.” American Political Science Review (Mar 1972) vol. 66, no. 1. l Shastri, Amita. “The United National Party of Sri Lanka: Reproducing Hegemony.” In Political Parties in South Asia , edited by Subrata K. Mirta, Mike Eskat and Clemens Speib. London: Praeger, 2004. l Waseem, Mohammad.“Dyarchy in Pakistan,” Diogene Paris, December 2005. l Wilder, Andrew R. The Pakistani Voter: Electoral Politics and Voting Behaviour in the Punjab. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999 l “Next Generation political dynasties come of age in Pakistan.” Daily Times, 18 February 2008

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“Afghanistan has emerged from the shadows of despair; it is traveling towards peace and prosperity. This is a difficult road. It is a demanding path. And there surely remains much heartache along the way. But this is also a journey worth making [sic] not just for the Afghans, but for all of us, and for the international community we represent.” 1

E

ven the most upbeat assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan would be remiss in not acknowledging the myriad of challenges that the Afghan government and its international partners continue to grapple with in stabilising the country. While democracy was embraced through the elections held in 2004, the last three years have seen a continued escalation in violence and deterioration of security, strengthening of the resolve of anti-government elements, and mounting discontent of the population. At the same time, the last few years have also witnessed shades of reconstruction and development in different patches, organising of peace jirgas (tribal assemblies) between the tribal leaders from both Afghanistan and Pakistan and an increasing realisation—among western nations—of Afghanistan's importance. The situation is thus absorbed in several contradictions. The Afghans today have a president who is well-respected not only in Afghanistan but also in the international community. Yet, he is also someone who is seen as indecisive and weak and is perceived as unable to make strong decisions. The country has a government that is legitimate and democratic, and is unprecedented in the international support that it garners. However, it is also seen as largely ineffective by large segments of the population. The international coalition forces—with 26 NATO and 14 non-NATO allies—stand committed with signs of extended engagement for a few more years, though the national caveats prevent them from contributing positively and hinder NATO's mandate for Afghanistan. The international community remains engaged through the various UN agencies, foreign diplomatic missions, non-government organisations, donor agencies, and private sector entities, all of which make a vital contribution towards the development and stability of Afghanistan. Yet, they are gripped with serious issues of poor coordination and overlapping responsibilities. The Afghans are also faced with a democratic legitimacy that is higher than the nation state; something that flows from the will of an international coalition and the large non-governmental community that continues to absorb the brightest and the most competent of Afghans. The discernable presence of the UN and the international

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community has also resulted in developing parallel structures of governance. The unabashed advertisement of the support that the foreign governments provide to the Afghan government further undermines its credibility. The international aid system, while committing over 29 billion dollars for Afghanistan over a 10 year period (2002-11),2 has had little impact on the daily lives of most Afghans. A large part of the aid is still channelled through the donor agencies instead of the Afghan government, citing the celebrated reasons of accountability and transparency. The Afghans are a people who are dismayed and disillusioned with the pace of progress, yet who continue to hold on to their optimism and vision for better lives. Thus democracy in Afghanistan is a work in progress. Among several challenges to the democratic transition are those of systems of governance that are far from functioning, and promoting security and political stability in the country. This essay discusses the positive developments in the democratic process as well as the dilemmas of the democratisation of Afghanistan. It also highlights the lack of understanding within the international community in general on what needs to be done in Afghanistan. Better or Worse? Six years after “Operation Enduring Freedom”, it is crucial to question whether Afghanistan and the Afghans are better or worse off. Any assessment of the successes of democracy shall start with the presidential elections. The elections in 2004-05 were held with very little violence and a 53 percent voter turnout. Although the democratic make-up of the current Parliament can be questioned on the basis of the presence of several former “warlords” in the system, the impressiveness of the achievement and the commitment of the people to democracy should not be dismissed. The elections have also allowed an unprecedented degree of involvement of women in Afghanistan's politics with 68 of them elected to the Parliament in 2005. Critics argue that those women representatives have little, if any, voice in decision making. However, the fact that they are representatives of the people is a necessary step towards enhancing their role in politics. Women are now also able to find employment in positions inconceivable to them in the past. There is an incredible presence of the women in education and medical fields. According to Senator Lugar, “Afghanistan has experienced a 22 percent decrease in infant mortality, since the Taliban were in power. In 2001, only 8 [sic] percent of Afghans had ready access to health services. Today almost two-thirds [sic] of Afghans enjoy this benefit. Since the fall of the Taliban, nearly 1,000 miles of main and secondary roads have been rehabilitated. This has contributed to a growing economy, which realized [sic] a 13 percent increase in GDP in 2007. School attendance has increased fivefold since 2002, with five million Afghan children attending schools and 60 million textbooks delivered.”3

doctors, midwives, and nurses.4 Afghanistan has also made huge developmental and social strides, many of which have succeeded in reversing the draconian rules and laws of the Taliban. There has been a massive expansion of basic health care for millions of Afghans. Approximately 80 percent of the population today, including women, have access to basic health care facilities. The National Solidarity Program (NSP) has been another success story. The programme aims to involve local communities in the decision making and execution of development projects, and has reached about 13 million rural people since its start in 2002. More than 9,000 community development councils (CDCs) have received block grants to fund about 17,000 subprojects in water supply and sanitation, irrigation, rural energy, livelihoods, and transport infrastructure at the village level helping to jump start the licit rural economy.5 The NSP project also has a huge impact on the legitimacy of the government as it focuses on development with a bottom-up approach rather than a top-down approach dictated from Kabul. The Afghan economy is growing fast with an average real GDP growth of 16.6 percent over the last four years (2003-07). This growth is a result of development in three main sectors; construction—through the rebuilding of infrastructure—trade and agriculture. Agriculture development is partly due to the recovery from drought, but also due to the small-scale investment by farmers in irrigation, seeds, and the health of livestock. Examples of economic growth can be witnessed through the number of shops and businesses opening all over Kabul. The establishment of mobile phone networks and proliferation of mobile phone providers with impressive coverage have brought much needed investment and resulted in the formation of the Ministry of Communications. There are currently an estimated two million mobile phone users, with the number expected to rise to five million during the next three years. Not known for its infrastructure by almost any standard, Afghanistan today has certain provincial capitals in the north, such as Maymana (capital of Faryab Province), that have electricity 24 hours a day. Despite all the successes, there are daunting challenges ahead for the success of democratic governance and nation building in Afghanistan. In the six years of reconstruction, a very small amount of the funds has been channelled through the government budget. Instead, the funds are given by western donors to western contractors to carry out projects. This can be attributed to an aversion of the West to risk-taking in Afghanistan, lack of trust in the Afghan government and reliance on seasoned donors rather than the fledgling Afghan government institutions. This has obvious implications for the capacity building of the government to engage in the management of its own development, as well as having major implications for the amount of money that is spent directly on development projects themselves. Despite billions of dollars being invested in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, this system results in the loss of huge sums of money that are spent on technical assistance and

In addition, today there are over 670 hospitals and clinics and about 11,000 trained

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the transaction costs of contracting. In addition, the overheads for the “western contractors” are so high that they consume a large part of the aid money. It is thus not surprising that the people of Afghanistan are becoming disillusioned as they witness the difference between the promises made and the changes in their daily lives.

Afghan government, reversed their position on the approach towards poppy eradication. Thus, it becomes apparent that the focus of this nation rebuilding and reconstruction has been so myopic and short-term that it might fail to hold itself the moment ISAF completes its mandate in Afghanistan.

In terms of the success of the government and its legitimacy, the ability of the government to claim responsibility for development is crucial. For democracy to succeed in Afghanistan governance should not only be effective, it should also be seen as effective. In the provinces, the building of new schools or the strengthening of river banks to stem floods may perhaps be the only major consequence of the new regime for the people. However, few—if any—projects are ascribed to the government. Some buses in Kabul are provided by India with a clear message outside the bus that reads “donated by the government of India”. Similar instances of highlighting their support can be witnessed in school buildings (Japanese), hospitals (US) and business centres (Korea), among others. The former US Ambassador Neumann would go to provinces where photo-ops would be arranged at the openings of schools and clinics, consequently undermining the government or at least feeding the existing perception that it is the US Embassy which is in charge, rather than the presidential palace.

The international community also needs to revise its definition of terms; Afghans, like the rest of the world, do not want to be abducted and tortured. Staunch defenders of their pride and freedom, they want a say in who governs them and they want to be able to feed their families. However, reducing their needs to broad concepts like “human rights”, “democracy” and “development” is misleading, incorrect and counterproductive.6 For many Afghans, Shariah law is still central. As reported in several commentaries last year, many in Afghanistan welcome freedom from torture, but not free media or freedom of religion; majority rule, but not minority rights; full employment, but not free-market reforms. “Warlords” and “drug lords” remain at large and retain considerable power and reach. Several provincial governors and MPs are former Mujahideen leaders and exercise independence from Kabul to the extent of being called “autonomous governments”.

Renting an Illusion? The international community seems to be painfully removed from understanding the ground realities in Afghanistan. While the Taliban are no match for NATO/ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), the current administration is losing its support among the masses, the centre of gravity in any insurgency. International experts on Afghanistan such as Barnett Rubin are right when they say that the Afghans are getting frustrated with the pace of efforts being made to stabilise the country. The Afghans question the value of “democracy” when all that concerns them are their immediate needs which are still unmet. They are thus in a difficult situation. On the one hand, state building is not aimed at “quick fixes”—Afghanistan has been a story of conflict for the last three decades and rebuilding the nation and establishing a democratic system will take time; not a year or five, but many more. Yet on the other hand, the Afghans had high hopes when the international community pledged billions of dollars in reconstruction and deployment of troops to stabilise the country. Several of those promises made by the international community and the Afghan government have not come through for the common people; they are frustrated and not without reason. Apparently, the international community has also not realised that this is not a military battle but one of building institutions. The Germans who were put in charge of training the Afghan National Police (ANP) have been criticised across the board for picking people off the streets and training them only for a few weeks. The Italians, who have one of the most corrupt judicial systems in Europe, were in charge of reforming the judicial system, most aspects of which are still grossly absent in the country. The British were in charge of stemming the narcotics trade and poppy cultivation. However, much to the chagrin of the other NATO members, they cut deals with the Taliban in the south and have, to the dismay of the coalition partners and

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Yet, as mentioned in several interviews, senior officials with experience in Afghanistan's history often downplay and/or deny these realities. They insist that the Taliban fighters have little if any local support; 95 percent people do not support the Taliban.7 The UN argues that “warlords” have little power and that the tribal areas can rapidly be brought under central control. Afghan cabinet ministers insist that narcotics growth and corruption can be finished and the economy can wean itself off foreign aid within a few years. The Afghan people have been mired in violence for the last three decades but they are not naïve to believe the aforementioned, which, at best—given the progress achieved so far—undermines the nation's rebuilding efforts. Having been trapped in a seemingly perpetual cycle of violence, the Afghan people deserve a break. To achieve real democracy in Afghanistan, power has to be based in local villages and city neighbourhoods and should flow up from the people, rather than down from the central government in Kabul. At the national level, there is an unacceptable degree of corruption. At the provincial and district levels, especially in contested areas, government authority is weak and ineffective, and sometimes nonexistent. In several provinces, the police are seen more as a threat to people than as a stabilising force. In several provinces, warlords and drug lords command more influence than the government. The key reforms in the existing system must include making appointments based on merit and with clearly defined deliverables; countering corruption by installing proper checks and balances and making the system transparent and fair for all; implementing programmes for institutionalising the rule of law; decentralising the governance down to the provincial and district level and strengthening local governance. The future can be promising for Afghans but the international community and the Afghan government have to realise that these reconstruction

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efforts are a marathon not a sprint and that quick fixes will not work. Constructive efforts on a sustainable basis to build local institutions and invest in the new generation of Afghans along with improved security are the way forward for this country. Lessons Learned The challenges to nation building and democracy in Afghanistan are not merely institutional, they are also cultural. The first lesson of nation building in Afghanistan should thus become the principle of adopting new approaches for the future; what the system should look like must be a function of what it can look like. A new approach, if it is to be effective, must reflect the underlying dynamics of power, culture and society of Afghanistan. If it does not—if its norms are again unrealistic and do not reflect the real needs of the Afghans—the process of nation building and promotion of democracy will fail. There are no truths that transcend local politics and culture. A second lesson from the international community's failure to understand Afghanistan is that any system must be developed on the way people actually behave, not how they ought to behave. One size does not fit all; democracy changes its meaning based on the cultural, historical and political context. To expect the Afghans to embrace the western notions, values and definitions is both elusive and counterproductive. Any system should thus correspond with the actual needs and perceptions of the population, whether right or wrong. Nation building and democracy promotion are more about experience than logic. The task before the international community is, therefore, empirical, not theoretical. It is time to move beyond the rhetoric of “right” and “wrong,” and focus pragmatically on the concrete needs and preferences of the Afghans. Prakhar Sharma is the head of research at the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies in Kabul, Afghanistan. Endnotes 1. Overview, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) http://www.unama-afg.org/about/overview.htm (accessed 9 November 2007). 2. Afghan National Development Strategy, Donor's Pledge Table. 3. Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, comment at a hearing on 31 January 2008. 4. "Afghanistan and NATO: Why They Both Matter", remarks by Kurt Volker, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Remarks to the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung; Washington, DC, 4 February 2008. 5. CAPS Interview with Alistair McKechnie, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan. 25 April 2007. 6. Rory Steward, “An Afghan Policy Built on Pipe Dreams” New York Times, 3 March 2007 7. Peter Bergen, "Afghanistan 2007; Problems, opportunities and possible solutions" in Afghanistan: Mission impossible, (Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2007) 2229

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Bangladesh: Post-Emergency Challenges Imtiaz Ahmed

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he post-1/11 emergency caretaker government1 is beset with manifold challenges, most of which have come about from the inaction or misdeeds of the previous regimes, but some which are of its own making. In meeting these challenges, either partially or in full, rests the case of total or partial success or failure on the part of the caretaker government. I prefer to call the first cluster of challenges as political. Several key areas could be found in this category where reforms brought about by the caretaker government had a fairly positive impact, the first being the Election Commission. This institution was salvaged from a state of disrepute, mainly by appointing individuals who are more professional and seemingly non-partisan. However, the challenge with the Election Commission is yet to be overcome; this is related to the task of transforming the Election Commission from a functionally governmental institution to a functionally state institution, with an independent secretariat and the capacity to operate independently. In this context, it has already tainted itself by choosing one faction of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) over another during the dialogue phase with the political parties. This matter now rests with the court. A more professional option would have been to request for a court verdict before opting for one or inviting both the factions and letting them sort out their differences over the Election Commission's imposed electoral reforms. The second area is the matter of voter registration with photo. This was a public demand as well as the demand of the opposition parties. This task is progressing well and the caretaker government, along with the military—which is actually implementing the work—ought to be praised for the progress made thus far and it now looks that by July 2008 the task will be completed.2 The challenge facing this task has now come down to how it would work on the day of the elections. There is now an opinion that before the national elections, due by the end of 2008, the voter registration with photo system be pre-tested in local or municipal elections. At the same time the Election Commission ought to have a website informing the public on a weekly basis the progress made in registering the voters. The separation of the judiciary from the executive is the third area where reforms have been implemented. The work on this issue started almost a decade earlier but the previous regimes kept delaying the process of actually separating the judiciary from the executive branch. “Separation”, however, does not guarantee the immediate “independence” of the judiciary, the task of which requires a creative combination of

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time and judicial and organisational skills. The caretaker government would do well to encourage civil watch bodies to monitor the progress, including inviting critical reviews and suggestions on how best to expedite the process. The fourth area is the Public Service Commission, where replacing the erstwhile partisan commissioners with the seemingly non-partisan professionals has made the institution more credible in the eyes of the public. However, like the Election Commission, the independence of the Public Service Commission is yet to be ensured. It is only by changing the rules of business, particularly relating to the appointments of the commissioners and other recruitments, can it be expected to be functionally independent and become a state institution in reality. Finally, and a much talked about achievement in this category, is the Anti-Corruption Commission. Here too the replacement of partisan commissioners with more financially clean, non-partisan individuals with the full backing of the military, has made the institution more credible and has succeeded in at least making an impact in carrying out its institutional mandate. The impact, however, has largely remained limited to the task of bringing allegations of corruption against the “larger than life” politicians and businesspersons, and with few exceptions, without successfully prosecuting them in courts on the basis of judicially credible evidence. However, it must be pointed out that the Anti-Corruption Commission is confident of the evidence of corruption it has, but this is something that needs to be watched very closely. Some critics, however, question as to why the drive against corruption is so relentless and aggressive when other developed countries—including the USA or Singapore—had phases of corruption in their respective developmental history. One quick answer would be that in developed countries the corrupt reinvested their illgotten money in their own land, while in Bangladesh the corrupt spent mostly in foreign luxury goods or spurious activities or hoarded in banks beyond borders. The governmental drive against corruption, however, had a negative impact on the economy, the discussion of which follows later in the paper. The area in which the caretaker government has had the least success is the democratisation of political parties through internal reforms. The present government is partly to be blamed for it, due to some of its policies, ranging from the so-called minus-2 formula (i.e. removing Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina from active politics) to the non-withdrawal of the state of emergency or not making it more flexible. At times comments by some advisors have made the task even more difficult, although the caretaker government has recently rectified this by firing four advisors and quickly replacing them with new ones.3 What is required here is space in which the political parties could activate a form of collective leadership and replace the age-old structure of having an all-powerful leader with almost dictatorial power. The less the time given to collective leadership to start and settle down the greater is the risk of having the older structure survive and create a dent in the political agenda of the caretaker government. Keeping this issue in perspective, it is imperative that the state of emergency be either withdrawn or its rules made more flexible so that the political

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parties enjoy the required space to congregate, codify and practice internal democratic party reforms. Here both time and space are the essence of the matter. This brings up the second cluster of challenges which could be called economic. The governmental drive against corruption and the negative impact it had on the economy has already been mentioned. This was somewhat inevitable, although it now seems that the government did not foresee such a situation. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) had consistently pointed out the extent of corruption and the unholy alliance between the big businesses and the politicians. The fact, however, remains that the government did not prepare itself for facing an economic stalemate; in certain areas there is indeed a decline in corruption resulting from the policy of incarcerating corrupt politicians and businesspersons or what could be referred to as the aggressive policing of the business-politician nexus. Three other challenges complicated the dismal state of economy even further. One is the global impact of the oil price hike to over USD100 per barrel, particularly in making the price of rice and other food items costlier. The second is the mid-level flood in the middle of the year followed by the devastating impact of the Sidr hurricane, which also saw the much-needed aman rice crop getting washed away completely. All these have contributed to a situation where the common people are finding their purchasing power drastically curtailed within weeks if not days and are increasingly losing trust in the caretaker government. Some reports indicate that only 6-8 importers control 60-80 percent of all imports.4 If this is the case, and in the backdrop of some big businesspersons getting incarcerated or pursued by the government, it is quite obvious that such people would be reluctant to initiate business ventures in such an atmosphere and would lend support to forces working for a quick end to the caretaker government. Since the big businesses have laundered money abroad, there is also reason to believe that they have a good number of international friends to help them out in their time of distress. Moreover, the hardship of the common masses could create grounds for a moral campaign against the caretaker government under the leadership of the so-called left or progressive forces; the forces comfortable with the emergency setting could now find convenient to join this campaign and transform it to its benefit. How to re-energise the economy then? Although somewhat late, the caretaker government has realised that the enemies within and abroad are formidable enough for not only stalling the economy but also derailing the process of democratisation and good governance, including the political roadmap of having parliamentary elections before the deadline of December 2008. The caretaker government could certainly gear up its efforts towards restoring confidence in the minds and activities of the entrepreneurs, both foreign and local, by undertaking the following tasks: One, emphasis ought to be given more to the task of changing the structure reproducing corruption than on the policing and incarceration of the individuals. Not that the latter is not required, only that without changing the structure the impact of

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the latter would remain temporary and cosmetic. Two, space ought to be created for law abiding businesspersons to invest in big business. This ought to include even financial incentives to newer business ventures. Three, the electronic and print media should be made a partner to the government's goal of reenergising the economy. This could only come about by ensuring a free media devoid of the restrictions imposed under the state of emergency and other governmental regulations. Licensing of community radio, indeed, of all kinds ought to be made a priority in this context. Four, business rules should be made more transparent to the prospective investors both at home and abroad and bureaucratic hurdles should be minimised. Independent watchdogs ought to be established to see whether or not someone is deliberately slowing down the process of business communication and licensing. Finally, new business and employment opportunities should be created by way of aggressively engaging with private investors, both foreign and local, including the Bangladeshi diaspora. Here too independent watchdogs ought to be established to make the process transparent and ensuring an environment of pro-people investments. The last cluster of challenges facing the caretaker government could be called social. The caretaker government has had some success in containing religio-centered terrorism, namely the violent activities of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB),5 by sentencing to death six of its key leaders. This should not be taken to mean, however, that the issue of religio-centered terrorism is over. Instead the fear is that those who have suffered politically and/or financially in the wake of the state of emergnecy may now be tempted to form an alliance with the religio-centered extremists and create havoc in the country. The task in this context is three-fold and the caretaker government seems to have focused only on one or two. The caretaker government has had some success in incarcerating the militants. They have also raised the level of intelligence networks, which is still inadequate. This is mainly because the caretaker government is yet to come up with a structure of combining traditional security networks with the agencies of civil society, including the academia and research institutes. This certainly calls for a newer structure of intelligence, one which would be able to contain the contemporary forms of postglobalisation non-state terrorism. Finally, the government has yet to undertake the intellectual task of containing religio-centered ideas bordering on intolerance and rigidities or what has come to be known as the “Wahhabisation of Islam”. The Election Commission can certainly play a critical role in this by making it clear that no political party would be registered and allowed to contest elections if discriminatory provisions like limiting the leadership to only male members or keeping the party membership to only one linguistic or religious community are found codified in the party constitution or otherwise practiced. In this light, it would only be prudent for

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the caretaker government to at least start the process of identifying war criminals and those responsible for the 1971 genocide. A step in this direction would certainly rescue the peaceful religion of Islam from the seemingly empowered hands of the intolerant and distorted followers. In this age of globalisation this is as much a global task as it is a national one. Interestingly, if all the clusters of challenges are put together, there arises yet another kind of challenge—public fear with respect to how much the caretaker government can deliver and, more importantly, now that the election year has started, how much of its reforms can be sustained in post-election era. Critics with a sense of humour and a mindset of yesteryears will probably refer to this as a desperate search for an “exit strategy” of the military-backed caretaker government but that is not what I have in mind. Except for the first few years of independence, all the previous regimes—whether popularly elected or not—had active military backing, including the latter's alleged periodic “inaction” as well. Following the 1991 popular upsurge, the “exit” was limited to a military person in the name of Ershad and not the military as an institution. And now, given the experience of two subsequent caretaker governments, with the military remaining “inactive” and “active” in the first and second caretaker government respectively, there is no reason to believe that the public fear would vanish the moment the elections are held and the military demonstrably goes back to the barracks. This calls for the establishment of a “public” or “national” security council, with an overwhelming civil content and a structure where the government and the opposition would have no recourse but to meet and work together and keep the problems of the pre-1/11 emergency era at bay. A creative combination of political insight, long-term vision and a passion for democracy and democratisation is what is required to have it institutionalised and make it acceptable to the people. But public fear is neither linear nor does it seek state protection all the time. Indeed, if there is any setback or derailing of the democratic process, including the announced roadmap of parliamentary elections, the public could start fearing the caretaker government itself, and therein lies the greatest challenge. In fact, Bangladesh's history has repeatedly shown that once the public starts feeling betrayed there is a quick turn of events, from a state of public fear to a state of public fearlessness. However, this is a prescription for suicide not so much for the nation as it is for the caretaker government. The challenges are enormous and one would expect the caretaker government to work on some of these in the remaining months without creating newer ones from illdesigned or half-hearted policies. Once the challenges are met it would certainly go a long way in restoring confidence amongst the people and those seeking to contribute to democracy and democratisation of the country. The post-emergency caretaker government can then rest its case and claim a place in history.

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Dr Imtiaz Ahmed is professor of International Relations at Univeristy of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Endnotes 1. On 11 January 2007, the first caretaker government, which was formed in October 2007, following the end of the 5-year term of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) regime and for reasons of being outrightly partisan or pro-BNP, got replaced by yet another—albeit military-backed—caretaker government. 2. The government has already declared that it has completed 50 percent of voter registration with photo in the country. 3. The caretaker government replaced the law advisor, the energy advisor, the health advisor and the advisor on women's affairs on grounds of both inefficiency and use of such words in the public which often embarrassed the government. This was particularly true of the law advisor who went on to claim in public that the government was aware of the minus-2 formula, which the government later denied. Or, for example, on the issue of price hike of essential items, the energy advisor's comment shocked the public when he said that the government could not do anything on this issue. 4. See M.A. Rouf Chowdhury, “Wake Up! A New Bangladesh Knocks On Your Door” (paper presented at the Dialogue on Bangladesh Economy & Future Perspective, Ministry of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh, 5 September 2007, Radisson Water Garden Hotel, Dhaka). 5. For a closer exposition, see South Asia Terrorism Portal, Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi, January 2008.

Bhutan: Transition to Democracy Sonam Kinga

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n 31 December 2007, elections to Bhutan's National Council—one of the two houses of the upcoming Parliament—were held in 15 of Bhutan's 20 districts. These elections herald Bhutan's historic transition to a democratic constitutional monarchy after 100 years of monarchial rule. The elections to the National Assembly—the other house—were held on 24 March 2008 and soon the first democratically electedParliament and the government will be in place. The introduction of parliamentary democracy in Bhutan is not the consequence of anti-colonial struggle or a polity aspired and fought for by nationalists against imperial powers. It is also not the outcome of a struggle between a die-hard monarch holding onto absolute power and masses agitating to wrest that power. The ironies of democracy are many but the one in Bhutan is that it came as a gift from the throne when people actually preferred not to have it. However, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth king of Bhutan said that democracy is best introduced at a time of peace and happiness, when the kingdom's security is ensured and the economic opportunities are growing. His argument that the inherent weakness of monarchy is its dependence on one person and his wisdom that there could also be bad kings in the future constitute the rationale for introducing parliamentary democracy. Pre-Requisites for Democratisation Many political scientists and scholars argue that one of the foremost pre-conditions necessary for a country to democratise is that it must be industrialised (Gellner 1983). Lipset (1959) theorised that the rise in income among citizens as well as the rise in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) makes society move on the democratic path; democracy is post-development. Unless constitutional reforms and economic liberalisation are well in place, democracy cannot be established. Zakaria (2003, 69) goes so far as to say that only “a country that attempts a transition to democracy when it has a per capita GDP of between $3000 and $6000 will be successful”. In other words, political modernity succeeds economic modernity which is characterised by industrialisation and capitalism. Bhutan, however, is set to be a non-industrial democracy. With a per capita income of less than $3000, the transition that Bhutan is making appears questionable. Despite major economic investments, the country is still a pre-industrial economy, with 68 percent of the people engaged in subsistence farming. As much as liberal democracy presupposes an industrial economy, it also presupposes

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a cultural nation. “A common national culture is the basis for trust between citizens, and trust is needed for citizens to act on bases other than narrow, strategic considerations […] a common national public culture, and particularly a common language is necessary for democratic deliberation, because otherwise there would not be a single, unified public: at best, there would be separate bodies of public opinion that could then be fed into elite negotiations” (Abizadeh 2002, 501-502). Parliamentary democracy is being introduced in Bhutan in a social setting characterised by cultural diversity. With over 18 different ethno-linguistic groups constituting the small Bhutanese population of only 634,000 people, there is neither cultural homogeneity nor the sort of linguistic uniformity that are deemed indispensable for transparency in democratic dialogue and communications. Another very powerful argument made in favour of liberal democracy is that traditional political systems such as monarchy should either be terminated or constitutionalised. “Monarchies are antique […] democracy is the sole surviving source of political legitimacy” (Anderson 2006). Kingdoms must necessarily be the antecedents of the modern nation state and are untenable in the 21st century. Monarchies were the most popular and traditional form of political organisation for thousands of years. They began to disintegrate after the rise of nationalism, world wars and the cold war. Those who survived did so because they were on the winning side of the wars or had remained neutral, adapted to nationalism in time, accommodated the principles of democratisation and aligned with new social groups, especially the middle class people. For monarchies to survive, they must make the necessary transition to constitutional monarchy, and accept being mere constitutional figure heads (ibid.). Bhutan did make some financial contribution to the British war efforts in 1914. The donation of Nu200,000, however, was more symbolic of strengthening its goodwill with British India than making any significant resource contribution. However, this does not mean that Bhutan was on the side of the winners; for all purposes, it was neutral. There was no nationalism as a precursor to nation-building. The transition from traditional monarchy to constitutional democratic monarchy in Bhutan is not a survival strategy. Rather, monarchy is the most important national institution today, a reassuring symbol of political continuity amidst rapid social and economic changes. Popular thinking world-wide as well as academic thought have positioned monarchy and democracy as two political systems that stand in natural opposition to each other. Monarchy is traditional, absolute, undemocratic, autocratic and backward whereas democracy is modern, liberal and progressive. This dichotomous categorisation of political regimes “ignores the possibility of an intermediate category, 'partial democracies', which possess some, but not all, of the properties that characterize [sic] full democracies” (Epstein 2006, 551). However, studies have shown that partial democracies are more prone to armed conflict with other countries, enact policies that damage the environment, remain vulnerable to political instability and be contemptuous of human rights. On the other hand, Bhutan's track record of good neighbourly relations with other countries, pristine environment and enviable

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political stability makes it more than a partial democracy. Causes of Democratisation Shin (1994, 152-153) identifies two sets of “facilitating factors” as the most probable causes of the third wave of democratisation which Huntington (1991, 579) says begun in the 1970s. These factors concern a domestic and an international explanation. “The first set concerns political and other changes within a country, whereas the second set deals with developments in neighbouring or foreign countries. The most prominent domestic factor is the steady decline in the legitimacy of authoritarian rule […] Unable to meet new demands for political freedom and participation, these regimes could no longer justify their existence.” “The strengthening of civil society is the second domestic factor that has helped to remove authoritarians from office […] They directly challenged authoritarian regimes by pursuing interests that conflicted with those of the regime and eroded the capacity of authoritarian rulers to dominate and control their societies” (ibid., 341). The Bhutanese monarchy never suffered any decline in its legitimacy. Its legitimacy is drawn from a contract drawn in 1907 between various actors in Bhutan's political arena. According to it, state-power is implicitly conditional to the extent that its terms and conditions are observed. There is thus an implication that state-power endowed to the monarchy is limited by making it contingent to fulfilling the undertakings of the contract. As a signatory to the contract, the founding monarch King Ugyen Wangchuck was to lay down “a secure future” for the Bhutanese people and country. On their part, the other signatories were to serve him and his heirs as hereditary monarchs with loyalty and dedication. In the last 100 years of its existence, the monarchy has not only consolidated the security and sovereignty of the country but also brought about unprecedented socio-economic developments. This is the very reason that the Bhutanese people were reluctant to adopt parliamentary democracy. The question to be asked is, can democracy deliver what monarchy has? The monarchy's legitimacy is stronger now than ever before. Shin also writes that “democratic pressures from other countries and assistance from international organizations [sic] have weakened the physical basis of authoritarian rule by cutting off economic and military aid. The pressures have weakened its moral basis by encouraging people to realise that “democratization [sic] is the necessary ticket for membership in the club of advanced nations” (ibid.). Once again, the Bhutanese experience shows that there never was any such international pressure to democratise the Bhutanese society. No doubt Bhutan's development partners were important sources of investment capitals and resources; the domestic revenues are just enough to meet recurrent expenditures. But they have never used the leverage of their financial aid to force any socio-economic and political changes within Bhutan. Instead, all of them have constantly lauded the efficiency of the Bhutanese state to utilise aid and comparatively achieve far better results. Bhutan had been careful in opting for the sort of conditional aid that development partners could provide. Instead, development partners make and fulfil commitments to help Bhutan actualise its development philosophy of Gross National Happiness which identifies good

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governance (based on decentralisation) amongst others, as the goal of development. The 10th Round Table Meeting held in February 2008 saw Bhutan's development partners recognise the need for more support during the kingdom's democratisation process. Therefore, if Bhutan's journey towards parliamentary democracy is atypical of many nations that democratised in the successive waves of democratisation, the logical question to ask is what enables it to embark on such a political journey. I argue that it is the modernity of Bhutan's monarchy with its progressive and enlightened leadership that makes possible an unprecedented and peaceful transition to democracy. At the heart of Bhutan's unparalleled political transformation is the leadership factor. Monarchy with a Democratic Tradition Bhutan's monarchy was established in 1907 with Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck enthroned as the first hereditary monarch. It is perhaps the most recent to appear on the world's political landscape, at a time when many old monarchies elsewhere were disappearing under various influences and monarchy as a political institution was less fashionable. Monarchies in Europe were making adjustments to survive in the new age of nation and nationalism by becoming constitutional monarchs. If European monarchs were disappearing as a vestige of a dying tradition, the Bhutanese monarch was established in a modern era as a modern political institution in order to replace a 250-year-old theocracy. Besides being founded in a modern age, the monarchy had two crucial aspects that defined its modernity. First, the establishment of the monarchy was not based on any theory of divine rights of kings which maintained that kings were the anointed representatives of God on earth, and hence had unquestionable right to rule over the people. It was established by the signing of a genja (contract) between Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck and the “representatives” of the Bhutanese people. Second, the establishment of the monarchy further reinforced the idea of the separation of religion and state, which had been introduced by Zhabdrung Rinpoche in the 17th century through a dual system of administration. This separation is the central feature of the idea of secular modernity. “The separation of Church and State […] indicated a shift in the location of religion in society from being part of the state to being part of a newly emerging public sphere” (Veer 2006, 26). Rather than the monarchy draw its legitimacy from any divine association which sees religion and politics meshed together, the establishment of monarchy in Bhutan signalled the actual beginning of secular modernity. The founding of monarchy began an era of political modernisation. Economic modernisation came more than half a century later. It is this political modernity of monarchy that enabled it to begin a gradual process of introducing parliamentary democracy. Rather than monarchy stand in natural opposition to liberal democracy, it may be seen as a fusion of two modern political systems, a modern monarchy and a modern liberal democracy.

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If the founding of monarchy signalled the beginning of Bhutan's political modernity, it was only an antecedent of a larger political modernisation that was to follow in the decades ahead. To achieve this, certain reforms were necessary. The second king, His Majesty Jigme Wangchuck consolidated the political authority he inherited from his father and launched major tax and administrative reforms. His reign encompassed a crucial period in world history which had significant implications for Bhutan. The Manchu regime in China had long collapsed and the Chinese republic battled a growing communist movement. The Chinese Communist Party came to power in October 1949. World War II was fought and Bhutan remained largely aloof from it. By 1950, Chinese troops moved to Tibet and took over its political control. These developments were not lost to the Bhutanese leadership, and it fell upon the king to ensure that Bhutan's sovereignty remained secure. When the third king ascended the throne, he followed a three-pronged strategy of social, political and economic modernisation. The liberation of serfs in 1952, establishment of the National Assembly of Bhutan as a representative institution, establishment of a separate judiciary and a cabinet, monetisation of the economy and the launching of five-year plans as means of socio-economic development took place during the second half of Bhutan's 20th century history. Some 54 years before introducing parliamentary democracy based on a written constitution, Bhutan had its own variant of a parliamentary democracy that rested on the premise of separation of powers between the three organs of the state. Of course, members of the National Assembly did not belong to any political party since there was no party yet and the government was not constituted by elected members of the legislature. This also means that the executive was less accountable to the elected representatives, whose main responsibilities besides legislative work was to articulate development needs of people, and report back whatever was resolved in each session. The significance of the third king's reign is that modern liberal democracy is not suddenly grafted onto Bhutan's indigenous political system. Rather, indigenous democratic institutions and practices such as (constitutional) laws and periodic elections were put in place by the monarchy for more than half a century. They constitute the foundations that enable Bhutan's distinct journey towards democracy. However, these foundations needed to be further strengthened. It was the fourth king, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who reinforced these foundations and commanded that parliamentary democracy be introduced. His reign can be described as one defined by decentralisation, for lack of a better term. The process of decentralisation initiated in the early 1980s was in anticipation of a larger democratic process. Institutions of local governance such as the gewog (a group of villages that forms an intermediate administrative unit) and dzongkhag yargye tshogchungs (district development committees) have become formal democratic institutions in the last 26 years to identify local needs and priorities so that state interventions are directed properly. Local views and issues of national concern were channelled for state's attention through these institutions into the National Assembly. Community leaders were elected through consensus or secret ballot, with neither the

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candidates nor leaders belonging to any party or interest group. For the first time, these institutions enabled people to directly participate in local governance by way of planning local development programmes, gaining financial authority and implementing and maintaining development projects. It was, in many ways a preparatory launch pad for active citizens' participation in parliamentary democracy. In other words, it provided a platform for simulating democracy. In 2002, nationwide elections—based on universal adult franchise and secret ballot—were held for offices of 199 of the 201 local government positions. An important point to note is that the State's introduction of democratic institutions and practices then were more in village societies than in the state apparatus itself. Periodic elections and representative assemblies were part of village life. In 1998 the democratisation of the State was initiated when the king dissolved the long standing cabinet, devolved his executive powers to a council of ministers elected by the National Assembly and pushed for a clause whereby a motion of no-confidence can be registered against the king if 2/3 of the assembly members support it. This voluntary devolution of power—with the king as merely the head of State—accelerated the process of democratisation. Then in December 2001, he commanded the drafting of a constitution. The chief justice led a committee consisting of representatives from all sections of the society to draft the constitution. After the draft was submitted in August 2005, the king and the crown prince travelled throughout the country to discuss the provisions of the constitution with the people. The popular mood was that there was no compulsion whatsoever to introduce parliamentary democracy when the kingdom was prospering under the leadership of successive monarchs. In his national address on 17 December 2005, the king said, “During my consultations on the Constitution [sic] in the different dzongkhags [districts], the main concern of the people is that it is too early to introduce parliamentary democracy in Bhutan.” He announced his intention to abdicate and pass on the responsibility to usher in parliamentary democracy to the crown prince (as the fifth king), saying it was necessary for a king to gain as much experience as possible to serve his country to his fullest capacity. While the Bhutanese people thought that the voluntary abdication would take place in 2007, the king surprised everyone by doing it a year earlier. His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck ascended the throne on 15 December 2006, although the formal coronation is to be held in 2008. In his national day address to the nation two days later, he said, “Henceforth, our responsibilities will always be first and foremost, the peace and tranquility of the nation; the sovereignty and security of our country; fulfilling the vision of Gross National Happiness and; the strengthening of this new system of democracy.” The democratisation process began at two levels; first, democratic institutions and practices were established and consolidated in village societies. In the beginning, the State itself experimented with modest separation of powers between its three organs of the judiciary, legislature and the executive. Once democratisation of village societies was fairly achieved, the State was ready to democratise itself, and began the

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process in 1998. In making this argument, I re-examine the claims of Wangchuk (2004) that village societies are democratic but the State is not. My contention is that in the two-fold democratisation process, the village was given primacy over the State. If Bhutan's democratisation had taken place in village societies with no democratic institutions and practices at all, the possibilities of its successes would not have been as good as we see it today. Parliamentary Elections 2008 Private Media Till 2006, media was largely state-owned. Kuensel, the national newspaper, was granted autonomy and formally delinked from the government in 1992 by a royal charter. However, the government continues to own the majority of its shares and the board of directors governing it—including the editor-in-chief—are mostly civil servants. Television and internet were introduced in 1999 during the coronation silver jubilee celebrations. In preparation for parliamentary democracy, the introduction of private media was encouraged and in a few months, two private newspapers and radio stations were launched. They have become instrumental in keeping the debates and discussions alive, and have reported on the process of democratisation as a serious part of their profession. The European Union Election Observation Mission lauded the private print media for its critical coverage of the elections. The government owned print and broadcast media were reported as being generally positive. The Mock Elections In order to move towards parliamentary democracy, the fourth king had commanded that electoral practice sessions be conducted in the all the 20 districts. Hence, the Election Commission conducted two rounds of mock elections. Before the actual mock elections, a simulation “mock election” was held involving trainees of the Paro College of Education. Mock political parties were formed, every party had a chosen symbol and the trainees of the institute simulated as the electorate. Candidates campaigned soliciting votes based on their manifestos. Party supporters and candidates enacted rallies carrying banners and shouting slogans. Then the trainees went to the polls. The proceeding of the mock election were video-filmed for mass circulation. The educational material included demonstrations on the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs). At the same time, series of election-related musical videos were also produced, encouraging people to participate in the elections and to make new citizenship identity cards in place of the old ones. Once the new cards were made, people were issued voter photo identity cards (VPICs), which are required to be able to vote. Along with the audio-visual materials, a host of print materials were also published and circulated to create awareness concerning the elections. When the video footage of the simulated mock elections was broadcast on television, there were strong reactions from people who thought that electioneering using loudspeakers and banners with people marching was not suited for public mobilisation in Bhutan. Till recently, the Bhutanese people had only seen such images on television screens when elections were held in neighbouring countries. In fact, the

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political parties and candidates have not resorted to the sort of political rallies that these videos demonstrated. On 21 April 2007, the first nation-wide mock elections for the primary were held in the country. Thousands of polling officers and observers were deputed throughout the country to conduct and oversee the mock elections. The results were also declared the same evening for most of the constituencies. In this primary round, four dummy parties were formed by the Election Commission. They were the Druk Yellow Party (DYP), Druk Red Party (DRP), Druk Blue Party (DBP) and Druk Green Party (DGP). The election symbol of each party was the colour of the party's names. Election manifestos of the parties were printed on posters and displayed near the polling centres on the day of the elections. Out of the 400,626 people eligible to vote by 2008, over 283,506 voters registered for the mock elections. In the primary round, the voter turnout was 50.92 percent. Of the four parties, DYP came first, followed by DRP, DBP and DGP. The manifesto of the DYP was based on preservation of culture and tradition while that of the DRP was economic development. More than a month later, i.e. on 28 May, the second mock election simulating the general elections was held in which the voter turnout was 57.14 percent. The DYP won in 46 of the 47 constituencies; the DRP won only one seat. Political parties are a new institution in Bhutan; when the mock elections were held, there was no real political party that the people could associate with. It was an abstraction they had to imagine. Besides, the constitution requires the members of monastic community to remain apolitical and be “above politics”. They—the only literate members of the village communities—are not allowed to vote. Thus, there were hardly any villagers who could read the dummy manifestos and vote for a party they liked based on the manifestos. The electorate didn't think of the DYP as a party exactly because they had no idea what a party is or what it stands for. They are used to electing candidates, not parties. When they voted yellow, they didn't vote for the DYP but for the king or the je khenpo (supreme head of the monastic community) whom they thought the yellow colour represented as they adorn yellow scarves as insignia of their offices. The red colour, a symbol of the monastic community, came second. Formation of Political Parties As early as March 2007, the Election Commission expressed concern over the absence of notable political activities and encouraged candidates to come forward and parties to begin forming. Speculations were rife as to which among ministers of the previous cabinet would join or form political parties and who would club with whom. The Bhutan People's United Party (BPUP) became the first party to declare its formation. With a crude 17-point declaration, the BPUP was joined by members of the former Royal Advisory Council and the National Assembly; no minister was associated with it. Later it came to claim membership of thousands of youths. The People's Democratic Party (PDP) declared its formation a day later. Both the parties had no presidents although it was clearly speculated that the former agriculture minister was going to lead the PDP after resigning. Shortly, a newspaper report said that the chief justice had agreed to lead the BPUP. Once this knowledge was public, the chief justice

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made a number of media appearances denying the report. A month or so later, a former district administrator led the formation of Bhutan National Party (BNP). Another newspaper reported that the BNP had approached the former minister of trade and industry to lead it. The minister said that he had neither agreed nor disagreed to the proposal. As the parties were looking for leaders and presidents, Bhutan's ambassador to Bangladesh resigned from his official position to become the chairman of BPUP. Then suddenly another party calling itself the All People's Party came on the scene. It attracted much attention owing to the rumour that five serving ministers were behind it. The formation of multiple political parties was a sign that the journey towards democracy had begun well. It suggested that there would be a healthy contest and multiple choices. The fourth king had commanded that there should at least be four to five parties in the first primary round to make Bhutan's journey to parliamentary democracy credible. However, the excitement was short-lived. In a classic party politics style, the BPUP merged with the APP. Then BNP also opted to merge with APP, leaving only two parties at the end. The final session of the 54-year old National Assembly ended on 28 June 2007. A month later, on 26 July, the former cabinet had its last sitting in which the reins of the executive authority were handed over to a caretaker government, which constituted three serving ministers. Seven ministers resigned to join and lead political parties. They basically gave up political power a few months before the end of their five-year term but not the opportunity “to compete for power by democratic means”. The people's assumptions were confirmed when the former agriculture minister became the president of the PDP and former home and cultural affairs minister became the president of the newly-formed Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT-Bhutan United Party) DPT which loosely translates as “Gross National Happiness”. It was a composite of the merger of BNP and APP. Two of the seven ministers who resigned joined the PDP while five joined the DPT. Three former ministers of the DPT and the president of PDP had served two one-year terms as prime ministers. While many Bhutanese were happy that former ministers were participating in the kingdom's journey towards “parliamentary democracy”, a few thought they should leave the political scene following the fourth king's example. Otherwise, it would be the same political actors in Bhutan again. With only two parties in the running, some argued that the primary round of election—intended to elect two parties from multiple choices to contest the general round—could be avoided. The state would save millions of ngultrums and those voters required to travel long distances to vote thrice (including one for the primary and general rounds and another for the National Council elections) may be spared some travel fatigue. A few argued that, irrespective of the number of parties, the primary round must be held even if it costs the state coffer more. The erstwhile draft constitution did not foresee that there would be only two political parties and does not state that in case there are only two registered political parties, the primary round can be skipped. The argument was that in such a case, we may have two unelected but

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registered parties contesting the general round. The primary round not only legitimises the parties (even if there are only two of them), voters will also know which one is more popular in different constituencies. As views and debates on this issue continued, the Election Commission also declared that a primary round would not be necessary if only two parties were to contest. Then, the erstwhile BPUP defected from DPT accusing its leaders of undemocratic and unfair party practices in nominating candidates. Not all members defected but the smaller BPUP vowed to form a strong party, register with the Election Commission and open offices in all the districts. It claimed strong support from sizeable number of people. When the PDP and DPT began their “familiarisation tours”, the BPUP was grappling to develop itself into a good party institution. The Election Commission permitted parties and candidates to undertake introductory visits to their constituencies called the “familiarisation tours”. During these tours, parties and candidates were permitted to introduce themselves and their parties, and share their interest to contest elections. However, they were not expected to campaign which could be done only after the Election Commission announced the campaign dates. Over weeks and months, the distinction between familiarisation visits and formal campaigns were beginning to blur. Bhutan People's Unregistered Party On 27 November 2007, the Election Commission disqualified the BPUP as a political party after it submitted the application to register. A news story in Bhutan Observer on 30 November 2007 reported the Election Commission stating that the BPUP “does not have the capacity to fulfill the national aspirations, visions and goals, in terms of its ability to run the Government [sic] and have candidates who could be members of the cabinet and parliament […] It lacks credible leadership […] and has only an interim president, when under the laws there have to be key office bearers democratically appointed.” It lacks both maturity and the appropriate mix and strength in terms of its membership since more than 80 percent of the members are (school) drop-outs or have no credible academic qualifications.” Despite claiming to have the support of more than 2,500 youths and thousands of voters, the group has only 13 names enrolled in the Electoral Roll out of 42 members mentioned at the time of application. The commission also accused it of not being broad based and crossnational since it claimed to be a party of the “down-trodden”. The party's charter was said to have “no clear ideology, vision and mission, indicating the lack of leadership with capability to envision goals and objectives of the group.” A stunned BPUP vowed to appeal against the decision. They had several justifications. For example, the party said it would have a democratically elected president once it (the party) was registered. Concerning members who are school drop-outs, they pointed out that the Election Bill does not require party members to have academic qualification; only electoral candidates need a university degree. They called themselves a party for the downtrodden because they were not led by any former ministers. The leaders said the ideology was more or less similar to the two other parties. Their strongest statement was that democracy was new and everyone was

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bound to make mistakes. The Election Commission “should guide and help us, not kill us straightaway.” The BPUP did appeal but the Election Commission upheld its decision, leaving only two parties in the political arena. The formation of a third party was very unlikely by then as polls were nearing. National Council Elections Except for national seminars that the Election Commission conducted to educate voters about the role and responsibilities of the National Council, most of its focus, energy and resources were spent on the run-up to the National Assembly elections. The media increasingly highlighted the fact that the National Assembly was overshadowing the National Council whose elections were ahead of the National Assembly. It was in this context that the one-day briefing for potential candidates was held. The general populace, however, remained more or less unaware about its apolitical nature. The National Council is an apolitical body, which means that candidates and elected members cannot be affiliated to any political party. Irrespective of geographic or demographic size, each of the 20 districts in the kingdom can elect a representative to the National Council from two or more candidates nominated in that district by subadministrative units called gewogs. In addition to the 20 representatives directly elected by the people, the king will nominate five eminent persons. The council will thus have a total of 25 members. On the other hand, candidates for the 47-seat National Assembly must necessarily belong to a political party. Each district can have a minimum of two and a maximum of seven candidates. Thus, a district which constitutes a constituency for the National Council is delimited into two or more constituencies for the National Assembly. Elected members of both the houses will serve a five-year term. On 31 December 2007, a total of 44 candidates contested for 15 seats in the National Council. Elections to the other five seats were postponed by a month because the Election Commission directed that there should be at least two candidates contesting for a seat to give the people a fair choice. There was not even a single candidate from Gasa, the smallest district. Trashi Yangtse and Haa had more than one candidate but they were disqualified by the Election Commission for not possessing a formal university degree which is a qualification criterion for every candidate. When these five districts went to the polls a month later on 29 January 2008, Gasa had managed to nominate one candidate, Thimphu had two and Trashi Yangtse four while Lhuntse and Haa could not nominate a second candidate. Thus, the three districts of Gasa, Haa and Lhuntse had an “uncontested election”. General Elections On 24 March 2008, 11 months after the first mock election of the primary round, 252,812 Bhutanese voters from a total of 318,465 registered voters went to the polls of the general round. A total of 161,169 women and 157,296 men went to vote in 865

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polling stations around the country. The voter turnout was 79.4 percent—much more than the turnout during the two rounds of mock elections and the National Council elections. Many voters travelled from Thimphu—the capital town—and other urban areas to vote in their villages. Despite threats of bomb blasts to derail the election process by certain militant groups, the elections witnessed by international observers and media were peaceful and successful. There were 42 international observers from India, the European Union, Japan, Canada, US, Australia, Denmark, Netherlands and the UNDP office in Bhutan, who monitored the elections. Similarly, 107 international journalists from 63 media agencies and 207 reporters from 7 Bhutanese media covered the elections. Both parties have declared their commitment to implement and realise the goals of Gross National Happiness (GNH) as espoused by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. In fact GNH, which promotes spiritual, environmental and cultural well-being in addition to economic growth, is the only political ideology upheld by both the parties. It is not just the ideology but the manifestos they have drawn that are almost similar. The more interesting aspect of the manifestos is that they are not only similar to each other but are also similar to the 10th Five-Year Plan document which will be implemented from July 2008. The main political actors in both the parties were largely those who formulated this Plan's document when they were serving as ministers. When the president's televised debates were nearing, the 10th Round Table Meeting between the Bhutanese caretaker government and Bhutan's development partners took place to seek financial support for Bhutan's development programmes outlined in the Plan. Thus, irrespective of whether the DPT or PDP came to power, a large part of foreign assistance had already been mobilised by the caretaker government. The election results were declared only a few hours after polls closed at 5 p.m. The results stunned the entire country; the DPT had won 45 of the 47 seats. The PDP won two seats although, due to an error during the computation of results, the Election Commission declared that it had won three seats. These three seats were won by a negligible difference of 2, 4 and 6 votes whereas DPT won by huge margins in all other constituencies. The computation error was detected a day later. The announcement that the PDP had actually won two seats instead of three heightened the shock. The situation was aggravated when the two winners announced that they had submitted a notice to the Election Commission stating their intent to withdraw from the National Assembly. However, they later decided to stay on as the opposition “after stiff opposition from the fellow party candidates” against their resignation. A day after the elections, the DPT president told the media that his party had expected to win anywhere between 28 to 31 seats. All the five ministers in the DPT had won while the two ministers in the PDP—including its president—were routed at the polls. Many qualified, experienced and elderly PDP candidates lost to young candidates of the DPT. A shell-shocked PDP vowed to “live to fight another day”.

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The media was flooded with opinions that sought to explain the DPT's landslide victory and PDP's defeat. These opinions distil down to a few factors. The charisma of Jigmi Yoezer Thinley, the DPT president, his oratorical and unpretentious public speaking skills struck the electorate wherever he went. These skills were on full display during the presidential debate on 10 February 2007. The fact that there were four former ministers with the DPT beefed up the electorate's confidence in them. The civil servants were also strongly behind it. The DPT received 78 percent of the postal ballots (mostly sent by the civil servants) as opposed to 22 percent for the PDP. Nearly 45 percent of those eligible for postal ballots either did not apply nor had their applications rejected on various grounds. Thus, they would have had to go to their villages to exercise their franchise. Those who went to vote in villages were alleged to have influenced rural voters against the PDP. A PDP candidate said that they acted as a force against the PDP after they arrived in the constituency. The concern that has been most prominently raised in the aftermath of the elections is that there is almost a negligible opposition in the Parliament. Infact, the DPT's 45-2 victory over the PDP exactly repeated the dummy Druk Yellow Party's (DYP) 46-1 victory over the Druk Red Party (DRP) during the mock general elections. Many people thought and assumed it was impossible for DYP's landslide victory in the mock elections to be repeated by any party in the actual elections. However, the impossible happened. Everyone agreed that a good and accountable government had to be elected but no one seriously argued that such a government is possible with an equally good and accountable opposition. The political parties, candidates, media and the Election Commission did not educate voters about the role of the opposition party as one stimulating debates on issues, articulating alternative policy positions and seeking popular mandate for policy options they propose. Most voters did not know that the opposition party had to be elected. They went on to elect the ruling party thinking the opposition party was a natural outcome even without voting for them. For the electorate, the idea and concept of opposition as an organised political institution is new, and needed explanation and education. There are two more inter-related reasons that explain why there is really no opposition in the Parliament. First, the absence of a third or fourth party directly catapulted the two parties into the general round by foregoing the primary round. The primary round is to elect two parties among three or more parties to contest the general round. In the general round, the candidates from two winning parties were to be elected. However, people elected parties rather than candidates. Second, the primary round should have been held even with two parties contesting the elections. If either the DPT or PDP were to suffer huge losses in the primary round, they would have reconsidered strategies for the general round. Huge losses would have indicated comparatively lesser support. Knowing that the support for PDP was comparatively less than assumed, the party would have reconsidered its strategies to contest the general round. It could have come to terms with the fact that forming a viable opposition was perhaps the best strategy in the elections and focused on having as

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many candidates elected into the opposition rather than being driven by a strategy that intended to form the government. This would have motivated them to educate voters about the fact that a strong opposition is crucial to good governance, and work to beef up its numerical strength as opposition in the Parliament. In the present elections, both parties wanted to form the government, not sit as the opposition.

of a good political culture. This will require democracy to be practiced within institutions such as political parties and also in the larger society. For that to happen, voters' education on democracy, particularly their understanding of fundamental rights and duties, must be expanded. Today, voters' education has largely focused on the formal procedure of casting votes due to the technologisation of voting system.

The PDP's two members in the Parliament account for only 4 percent of seats but it has actually won 33 percent or exactly 1/3 of the popular votes. This indicates a possible mismatch between the system of representation and the voting pattern of the electorate.

His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck had declared on many occasions that a vibrant economy is crucial for the success of democracy. Some scholars have argued that political regimes do not democratise just because they have a good economy. But those democracies with a good GDP and per capita income usually do not slide back to the old regime. In other words, democracy stabilises in economies that are strong. Since the monarchs of Bhutan have taken the initiative for Bhutan's political transition, it is imperative that elected governments now and in future commit to economic growth and ensure democracy need not slide back. However, blind economic growth per se without considering the dimensions of a “GNH economy” will not bode well for the overall well-being of the country.

Even as opinions and debates raged on concerning the PDP's defeat, some 400 people from Thimphu, Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang gathered in the capital on 1 April 2008. Eighty representatives of this group received an audience with the king and expressed concern that democracy might have been introduced too early. They submitted to the king that a return to monarchy may be desirable. A palace press release reported the king's response that the introduction of democracy was not for the benefit of a few political parties and politicians. The king told the representatives that their apprehensions at such a time were natural. Democracy in Bhutan is not based on any other country but designed to fulfill the aspiration of the Bhutanese people. He told them that the general elections were successful. “In democracy there are no winners and losers […] If democracy succeeds, the nation wins.” Conclusion The greatest challenge for Bhutan in the years ahead is to strengthen and consolidate democracy. In order to consolidate democracy, the commitment of the mass public is crucial. This is even more so in Bhutan's case where the people did not demand democracy. “[T]he lack of a widespread commitment among mass publics to democratic values and norms such as freedom, tolerance, and accommodation has been an obstruction […] democracy becomes truly stable only when people come to value it widely not solely for its economic and social performances but intrinsically for its political attributes” (Shin, 154). Democracy can be created without the demand of the masses but cannot be consolidated without their commitment. The Bhutanese people must commit to the “gift of democracy” to stabilise and consolidate it. However, for that to happen, the elected leaders have to ensure that the electorate is not disillusioned with democracy. Disillusionment can happen in two ways. First, if the leaders, candidates and political parties don't live a public life of integrity, the people will lose faith in the system. Second, if elected leaders are not able to deliver on their promises, they will see no reason why democracy is a better political alternative to monarchy that has been doing extremely well. One of the key processes in consolidating democracy is the evolution of a democratic political culture. This will not happen overnight, and can take decades or an entire generation. One of the principles on which the DPT claims to rest is the development

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Sonam Kinga is a PhD candidate at the Department of South and West Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan. Bibliography l Abizadeh, Arash. "Does Liberal Democracy Presuppose a Cultural Nation? Four Arguments". American Political Science Review (2002) vol.96, no.3. l Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 1983. l Anderson, Benedict. "Useful or Useless Relics: Today's strange monarchies". Paper presented at Ryokoku University, 2006 (unpublished). l Bhutan Observer, Vol.2, No.48, 30 November 2007 l Dessaallien, Renata. Democracy, Good Governance and Happiness. Thimphu: The Centre for Bhutan Studies, 2005. l Doshi, S.L. Modernity, Postmodernity and Neo-Sociological Theories, Jaipur and New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2003. l Epstein, David L. et al. “Democratic Transitions,” American Journal of Political Science (2006). vol.50, no.3 l Fuller, C.J. and Benei, V. The Everyday State and Society in Modern India, New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2000. l Gellner, Ernest. Nations and Nationalism, England: Basil Blackwell, 1983. l Huntington, Samuel. “How Countries Democratize”. Political Science Quarterly (1991). vol. 106, no.4 l Kimura, Masaaki and Tanabe, Akio. The State in India: Past and Present, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006. l Kinga, Sonam. Changes in Bhutanese Social Structure: Impacts of Fifty Years of Reforms, 1952-2002, Chiba: Institute of Developing Economies, and Thimphu: The Centre for Bhutan Studies, 2002. l Linz, Juan. “Crisis, Breakdown, and Requilibriation”. In The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes, edited by Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1978. l Lipset, Seymour Martin. “The Social Requisites of Democracy Revisited,” American Sociological Review (February 1-22, 1994) vol. 59. l Mitra, Subrata K. and Singh, V.B. Democracy and Social Change in India: A cross-

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sectional analysis of the national electorate. New Delhi, Thousand Oaks and London: Sage Publications, 1999. l Rose, Leo. E. The Politics of Bhutan, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1977. l Sharma, A. and Gupta, A. The Anthropology of the State, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2006. l Shin, Doh Chull. “On the Third Wave of Democratization: A synthesis and evaluation of Recent Theory and Research,” World Politics (1994) no. 47. l Smith, Anthony D. The Ethnic Origin of Nations, Oxford and Cambridge (UK and US): Blackwell Publishers, 1986. l Ura, Karma. Peasantry and Bureaucracy in Bhutan. Chiba: Institute of Developing Economies, 2004. l Wangchuk, Tashi. "The Middle Path to Democracy in the Kingdom of Bhutan". Asian Survey (2004). vol. XLIV, no.6. l Zakaria, Fareed. The Future of Freedom: Illiberal democracy at home and abroad, New Delhi: Viking, 2003.

Democratic Transition in the Maldives Dr Hassan Saeed and Dr Ahmed Shaheed

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y the end of 2008, the Maldives will either be hailed as a success story of peaceful transition to a modern democracy, or will be seen as part of the growing trend of retrenchment of authoritarian, conservative rulers and another example of the conflict between Islam and democracy. Until very recently, the reform programme in the Maldives was generally viewed as successful and as a potential model for other nations looking to liberalise governance in a peaceful and orderly fashion. There is no doubt that much has been achieved since the 2003 “Governance Reform and Modernisation” programme began. However, there are still unfulfilled promises and the future looks uncertain. With the first ever multi-candidate elections scheduled to take place later this year (2008), the Maldives is at a crossroads in its history. With free and fair elections and a stable government, the Maldives will be set firmly on the path to realising its dream of becoming a modern and democratic Islamic society. However, if the elections are perceived as having been manipulated, or are delayed, then there is a genuine possibility of widespread civil unrest and disorder. At stake is a truly democratic Muslim state which could act as a model for other Muslim countries around the world. To better understand the progress of reform in the Maldives, we must first look at the influence of one man. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is the longest serving head of government still in office in Asia. For 30 years he has dominated the political scene in the Maldives and, while widely seen as less ruthless than some of the other longserving dictators, in keeping himself in power, he has disregarded the Maldivian people's basic rights. The Maldives does not have a tradition of democracy. Nevertheless, the view held by Freedom House (a non profit, non-partisan organisation based in the US) is that, over the past 30 years, the Maldives had moved from being “partly free” to be being “not free” with regard to freedom of expression and civil liberties.1 While this may be counter-intuitive to many Maldivians who recall the autocratic nature of Nasir's rule, under Gayoom, the extent of state control exercised over the people has at times approximated the Orwellian.2 Reform versus Consolidation in the Early Years Ibrahim Nasir, after having decided to retire from politics after serving two terms as the first president of the second republic, brought in Gayoom, a vocal dissident, into

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his cabinet in March 1977. Under the old system, through which all the previous presidential elections have been held, the president was chosen by a vote in the Majlis (legislative assembly) and then a referendum was held to endorse the Majlis' choice. This single-candidate system naturally produced very high endorsements for the president. Nasir rejected the offer of a third term from the Parliament, and facilitated the peaceful transfer of power to Gayoom. Many recall this as the most orderly transfer of power in the recent history of Maldives, but were shocked to learn a few years later that Gayoom and his loyalists had smuggled firearms into the swearing-in ceremony inside the Parliament in response to fears of an attempted coup.3 Gayoom promised liberal reforms to end the climate of fear that politicians felt under Nasir, but almost immediately set about consolidating his power. It became evident very early on that the new “philosopher-king” would be generous to cronies and spiteful to rivals. Nasir left the country a month after he retired, but was forced into exile as the government initiated a witch hunt for crimes committed under the previous regime. Potential challengers like Defence Minister, Abdul Hannan Haleem; Health Minister, Ms Moomina Haleem; and Deputy Trade Minister, Ahmed Naseem—diehard supporters of Nasir—were isolated, mobbed, exiled or imprisoned. The top brass of the security forces were removed and replaced by Gayoom loyalists. His bother, Abdullah Hameed was given charge of the governance of all the atolls (provinces), and Abbas Ibrahim, his brother-in-law, ran the only radio station. Gayoom's brother-in-law, Ilyas Ibrahim, was given charge of the security forces and trade and his close friend Zahir Hussein was given charge of all educational establishments. Particular emphasis was placed on media control and the conversion of the fledgling TV Maldives into a personal propaganda machine of Gayoom. Even now it is not unusual for press releases from the president's office to be read out word for word as news stories and the best equipped film crew to be set up solely for coverage of presidential stories. Of the promised reforms, Gayoom enacted a law to introduce parliamentary privilege, instructed the judiciary not to seek political guidance on deciding cases, and improved prison conditions. Gayoom also encouraged the Parliament to draft a more liberal constitution. However, this initial progress was soon followed by a relapse to traditional habits. News of an abortive coup, which Gayoom ascribed to Nasir but which he denied, led to Orwellian hysteria, which drowned out all regard for law and order. Opponents of the regime were branded as traitors and ostracised. By the end of Gayoom's first term in office, Amnesty International had begun to express concern over human rights abuses in the Maldives. As these reports highlight, the level of political repression became evident when a number of parliamentarians and leading judges were imprisoned on charges of taking bribes to favour Gayoom's opposing candidate during the elections of 1983.4 The Abortive Second Wave of Reform Even with such political repression, until 1988, things remained relatively good for the ordinary Maldivian. Fuelled by tourist developments and an expansion in international trade, the country saw an unprecedented period of economic growth

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that continues to this day. Although Gayoom was taking measures to suppress political opponents, this had little impact on the day to day lives of most people as they were not commonly involved in any political activity. This situation changed in November 1988 with an attempted coup financed by wealthy Maldivian expatriates and carried out by Tamil mercenaries from Sri Lanka. The coup was poorly planned and did not receive any support from the people—especially after several civilians were killed—and the perpetrators retreated hastily after failing to capture the president or the security headquarters before the Indian troops landed at the airport. The Indian Navy gave hot pursuit, captured the fleeing mercenaries and handed them over to Gayoom. This incident had two effects on the president's behaviour. He took Indian assistance as a personal endorsement, increasing his confidence in his position. At the same time, he sought to limit dependence on India by seeking multilateral security guarantees through the United Nations (UN) system. In this period, Gayoom toyed with the idea of media freedom but quickly clamped down as this process exposed the infamous fish cannery scandal involving his brother-in-law, Ilyas Ibrahim and—as further criticism began to target—the president himself. The distraction provided by Saddam Hussain's invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August 1990, gave Gayoom the breathing space to squash domestic dissent. The elections to the Parliament held in December 1989, one year after the mercenary invasion, saw the emergence of an independent bloc in the Parliament, with the election of Dr Waheed, Mohamed Shihab, Mohamed Ibrahim Didi, Mohamed Latheef, Hassan Afeef and Ibrahim Shareef. However, in the ensuing crackdown, Mohamed Latheef was stripped of his seat and imprisoned for seeking to table a motion of no confidence in Gayoom. In the run-up to these events, a series of fires and explosions occurred in Male' and a number of reformists were imprisoned and charged with terrorism. Dr Waheed, widely seen as an imminent threat to Gayoom, fled the country as a number of his family members were imprisoned on these dubious charges. By 1991, the nascent reform movement had been crushed and, after winning the presidency in 1993 for a fourth term, Gayoom pursued an aggressive policy of dominating the Parliament; by 1997 he produced a new constitution, which ensured that no one dared challenge him for the presidency. The year 1997 was perhaps the best year for Gayoom. In addition to the new constitution, he was awarded the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) by Queen Elizabeth II, sharing the stage with the new British Prime Minister Tony Blair at Edinburgh during a Commonwealth initiative on climate change. The World Health Organization (WHO) also awarded him the Health for All Global Award, for the progress in Maldivian health, and the UN rated the Maldives as the best performing “Least Developed Country” (LDC). As before, international recognition increased the president's confidence to strengthen his hold on power. Repression of Peaceful Opposition and New Media While it would be wrong to characterise the country as seething with discontent, the

50

next few years after 1997 did see a growth in opposition to Gayoom. In large part this was due to the greater international emphasis on human rights, and the deplorable practices undertaken by Gayoom, especially the cumulative effect of arbitrary detentions since 1990. Not only did the Maldives argue against universal human rights norms at the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights in 1993, but it also continued to make arbitrary arrests of politicians, journalists, artists, academics and other dissidents. The arrest and incarceration of an elderly academic, Ahmed Shafeeg, exposed the dark side of the regime and further increased international criticism. The new media, in particular, became a powerful tool against rising domestic repression. As elsewhere in the world, the internet allowed previously oppressed voices to speak out. One landmark was the release of Sandhaanu internet magazine in 2001. The magazine was only accessible to a few online, but many subscribers chose to print out the material and disseminate it more widely. Political opposition started to become a kind of counter-culture for many of the country's disaffected youth. By 1999, Gayoom was clearly worried about the impact of new media and the growing dissent. While in 1998 he had rejected a plan proposed by the Planning Minister Ismail Shafeeu to usher in modernising reforms—including political pluralism—Gayoom called for a nationwide engagement on “Maldives Vision 2020”. Under this plan consultations were held till March 2001 and produced demands for constitutional revision, especially regarding separation of powers and term limitation for the presidency.5 However, Gayoom's moment to clamp down came when the terrorist attacks on the US on 9 September 2001 initiated a witch hunt for terrorists everywhere. The authors of Sandhaanu were immediately hunted down and charged with terrorism. At the same time Mr. Mohamed Nasheed, a continuing critic of the president, was stripped of his seat in the Parliament on trumped up charges. Sheikh Fareed, an outspoken critic of the regime, was also hunted down and charged with terrorism. As a consequence of these events, in July 2003, Amnesty International issued its first ever special report on the Maldives, stridently criticising Gayoom for the repression of peaceful political opposition.6 While Amnesty's report awakened the international community to the repressive nature of the regime, the event that sparked off the current burst of opposition to the government came from an unexpected source—prison torture. In September 2003, the movement against the government took a sudden radical step forward, beginning with a crisis that was not initially about politics. Police brutality in the country was, and sadly remains, common and well known. In the beginning of 2003, as Chief of the Criminal Court, this author (Dr Saeed) began compiling lists of allegations against police. At that time 97 percent of cases were convicted on confession alone, and allegations would come up time and again with the same officers accused of the same practices. Shortly before Gayoom took office for the sixth term, promising sweeping reforms, Dr Saeed was offered the post of attorney general, which was accepted, albeit on certain conditions. A few weeks earlier, on 19 September 2003, a prisoner in Maafushi jail, Hassan Evan Naseem, died after being beaten by the prison guards. Initially, the police attempted

51

to cover up the cause of death, but after his mother saw the body, she publically revealed details of marks consistent with a violent death. This triggered a prison riot in which three inmates were shot dead and several others injured. News of these events inflamed friends, relatives and disaffected youth groups of Male leading to an unprecedented outbreak of violent protests on 20 September. For three hours a group of nearly two hundred youths ran amok, setting fire to police stations, government buildings and vehicles. Key targets included the Elections Divisions Office, the Majlis and the High Court. The unrest was eventually put down by riot police using tear gas. These events took place as the deadline for filing papers for the presidential elections, scheduled for 17 October 2003, came to an end. The government clamped down hard on the protesters and targeted dissidents and their families; Jennifer Latheef, daughter of Mohamed Latheef, founding member of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), was arrested. The president, thereafter, launched his campaign promising urgent reforms and won a sixth term, but not before widespread international criticism of Gayoom's human rights record, focusing on the disconnect between the tourist brochure image of the Maldives and the ordinary people, encouraged dissidents to ratchet up their opposition to Gayoom. The MDP finally came into existence in Colombo on 10 November 2003. The idea of setting up an opposing political party was initially mooted in February 2001, but was abandoned in June 2001 when the Parliament voted against the move. However, what observers of the 20 September riots recognised was that the government did not have the resources or the ability to cope with widespread civil unrest and street protests were, thus, very effective. Street activities, large gatherings and a stated desire to overthrow the government by violence, if necessary, characterised the MDP's early efforts, which were often marred by violence and confrontation, but nonetheless galvanised support for the opposition movement. Roadmap to Reform? Recognising the instability of his position, Gayoom promised change. On 11 November 2003, he announced the beginning of the “Governance Reform and Modernisation” programme. On 10 December, the Human Rights Commission was set up with a promise to make it compliant with the Paris Principles of 1993. In February 2004, work began on the writing of the new constitution, with the constitutional assembly responsible for overseeing it convening for the first time in July. The year 2004 was a roller-coaster year, which saw a number of victories for proreformers in the government. January and March saw new codes on custody and penal reforms, which flowed from recommendations made by the presidential commission that investigated the death of Evan Naseem. In October, the National Democratic Institute of America was invited to come and write a report on Maldives' transition to democracy and in December the Criminal Justice Action plan set out the agenda for a complete overhaul of the country's criminal justice system. The government also received a visit by Amnesty International in October, and ratified the Convention Against Torture. There was a general rise in opposition within the

52

government, exemplified by the Jails Committee. The committee was set up to visit the jails in the aftermath of the 20 September riots. Widely perceived as a whitewashing exercise, the committee's members, such as Hassan Afeef, honourable member for Thaa Atoll and Aminath Didi, presidential appointee to the Parliament, actually ended up protesting to the president over the atrocious conditions and inaction to rectify the situation. At the same time, as progress was being made on legislation, the actions of the security services seemed totally at odds with the new agenda. February 2004 saw a big crackdown on MDP activities with dawn raids on young intellectuals, such as Jenny Latheef, to prevent what has been called the Valentine's Day march by MDP activists. The attorney general's office refused to arrest her but the police continued their actions against her. After members of the public began to hold minivan (freedom) debates, the police would harass and disrupt meetings and arrest those who called on the president to resign. It was precisely these kinds of contradictions between the president's stated intentions and the actions of the state that led to cynicism about his commitment to reform. The president unveiled the centrepiece of what has subsequently been called the president's reform agenda on 9 June 2004. Gayoom outlined a 31-point reform agenda at a public meeting, before he even shared it with the old-guard cabinet. These reforms included the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judiciary, parliamentary oversight of some public appointments and, crucially, the introduction of a term limit for the president. The sweeping proposals not only disoriented the cabinet but also confused the opposition with calls for their withdrawal being aired in some quarters. Despite progress towards reform and sweeping proposals, the MDP remained highly sceptical, especially as the president sought to impose a speaker on the constitutional assembly. Uncertainty and confrontation increased as the government's whip failed to hold on to the procedure electing the speaker, and protests erupted at the first meeting of the constitutional assembly, which failed to elect a speaker or set a date for a new sitting.

Lanka. However, the most strident criticism came from the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), and their actions left Gayoom with no option but to carry on with the reform agenda and release the detainees.7 The push for reform was not just from outside the government. Many of the younger members of the government had been pushing for change from within and, in July 2005, there was a major overhaul of the cabinet. In came pro-reformers like Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, Muhammad Waheed Deen, Mohamed Nasheed and Hussein Hilmee, men with a strong commitment to human rights, democratic institutions and grassroots democracy. The view was that the transition to democracy must be achieved peacefully without violence and unrest; a mere change in government would not necessarily usher in democracy. What was required was to build working institutions, modernise the political system, strengthen oversight mechanisms and overhaul the criminal justice system, including the writing of a new penal code. Just a week before these changes were made to the cabinet, the chief justice and head of the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs issued a fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) banning the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Shaheed, who was then the chief spokesman for the government, and the attorney general's office issued a statement rejecting the ban. This incident was of many occasions where the New Maldives ministers would clash with the old guard.8 The MDP viewed these changes as a purely cosmetic rebranding, failing to recognise the genuine ambitions of the new guard in government. Given the continuing crackdown on the MDP, this was perhaps understandable. Amnesty International produced their second Maldives specific report in February 2005, based on their visit to the Maldives in October 2004. The report encouraged the reforms that were proposed, in particular the 5-year Criminal Justice Action Plan, but was scathing of the government's continuing human rights violations and political oppression.9 The MDP remained absolutely committed to direct action as the means to remove Gayoom from office, which it saw as its principal aim.

Things came to a head on 13 August 2004. A demonstration began, initially as a demand for the release of four political activists held by the police. Soon, some 3,000 people were out on the streets and the mood turned sour. Two police constables were stabbed during the protests, leading to a swift response. A state of emergency was declared and the police came out in force arresting over 250 activists. The government shut down internet access and some mobile telephone services on 13 and 14 August, fundamental rights were temporarily suspended, demonstrations were banned as was expressing views critical of the government. The MDP activists and other detainees were subsequently charged with sedition and treason and the constitutional assembly was suspended.

Together the reformers in government continued to move the programme forward. By March 2005, Mohamed Nasheed (Anni) who had been in exile in Sri Lanka and the UK since 2003, felt that action should now shift to the Maldives and began to make preparations to return to the country. At this moment, the president's closest advisors—who found the double impact of the destruction caused by the tsunami and the relentless pressure by the MDP too much to bear—began to desert him and go abroad under the pretext of pursuing higher education. At this juncture, the president was persuaded by Dr Saeed and other liberals close to the president, to speed up the reforms and allow the MDP to register as a legitimate political party. In April 2005, as attorney general, Dr Saeed overturned a decision by the previous attorney general and issued a formal legal opinion to allow the registration of political parties. In June, the Parliament voted to back this legal opinion.

These actions met with swift and harsh criticism from the international community, with varying degrees of criticism being expressed by the UK, the US, India and Sri

The MDP was able to gain formal recognition as a political party, while several other parties have also formed since then, representing a whole range of viewpoints from

53

54

across the political spectrum. These include the president's Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), the Adalat Party, the Islamic Democratic Party and others, with more political groups and alliances being formed all the time. The years 2005/2006 were also good years for the reform process, with fundamental changes seen across several areas of governance and human rights, and more promised for the future. In addition to the setting up of political parties, the print media attained greater freedom and there was greater tolerance of public assemblies. The period also saw the Westminster House talks wherein the government and the opposition sat together outside the Parliament for the first time to negotiate moves to speed up reforms. The government also issued standing invitations to the UN human rights special mandates experts to visit the Maldives and acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). A police integrity commission and a judicial services commission were also promised. That said, many of these changes were not, and have not since, been fully implemented. A clear example of this was the promised separation of the judiciary from executive control which has not been effectively implemented. The police integrity commission is not an effective watchdog. The promise of right to information has not been delivered, while subtle forms of control over the media are emerging, such as the withholding of vital government advertising contracts to opposition papers. The state television station TVM, Maldives' only television station, continues to provide lengthy coverage to the president, even to the extent of having a team dedicated solely to his activities, while gaining access for opposition stories has been, and remains, almost impossible. On 27 March 2006, the long awaited “Roadmap to Democracy” was published, which marked out a clear timetable for the reform process. This was an important publication because it laid out for all to see, the aims and ambitions of the programme. Sadly the timetable set out has already been missed, with several key reforms having already been delayed and the constitution still incomplete almost a year after the original deadline. One of the reasons for this is the relative speed of change and the inexperience of the constitutional assembly and other institutions at dealing with this kind of allencompassing reform. There have been many delays simply due to lack of quorum in the constitutional assembly. The number of bills that have to be passed to implement change is also much larger than usual for the People's Majlis, which has been one factor in the slow progress. Perhaps more importantly, in both the constitutional assembly and the Parliament there have been many delays caused by fierce arguments from both the DRP and the opposition with a frequent unwillingness to compromise. Some of this confrontation has been caused by the president's own backtracking; apparently he has now decided he wishes to remain in power. Clear examples of this are the protracted debates on the form of government to be adopted for the future,

55

which threatened Gayoom's own future. A further example of this has been the argument over whether the constitution is “new” or “amended”. The process initially began as an amendment, as was made clear when the president convened the constitutional assembly in 2004. The argument is important because if the constitution is amended then Gayoom, under the term limitation rules, cannot stand again as he has already been in power for six terms. If, however, it is a new constitution then he can. This point has been a source of bitter dispute between the DRP and the MDP, and has also established the president's attitude to the process. In August 2007, the referendum on the future form of government took place. Although Gayoom had desired an Egyptian-style hybrid system, even within the government and the DRP, Gayoom was forced by the New Maldives to concede his position and to support a US style presidential system with two-term limitation. In a rare show of unity, however, the old guard united against the New Maldives in the constitutional assembly in June 2006 and took the issue to a public referendum. More than one year was spent on this issue, given its fundamental importance to Gayoom's own future. Eventually, on 18 June 2007, Gayoom announced that he would seek a new term even if a presidential system was adopted. The referendum endorsed a presidential system and was a defeat for Gayoom's initial position, forcing him to backtrack on the offer of two-term limitation. On 19 August, however, Gayoom was quick to declare victory over the MDP who had campaigned for a prime ministerial style of government. It was the president's apparent lack of genuine commitment to change that eventually led Dr Saeed, along with colleague Mohamed Jameel, then justice minister, to resign from government on 5 August 2007. Dr Ahmed Shaheed, then foreign minister, resigned on 21 August 2007 stating that reform was being resisted by “a conservative guard within the parliament and cabinet”,10 a sentiment shared by all mentioned above. Free and Fair Elections The 2005 Majlis elections, which came before the introduction of political parties, were observed by a Commonwealth team who made a number of recommendations for the future—with a view to strengthening democratic institutions—particularly on Civil Service Reform, separation of powers and human rights. The Commonwealth has returned twice more to review the progress and after their most recent assessment, has noted several areas in which the government has yet to make changes necessary to ensure free and fair elections. l Despite pledges, the elections commission is still headed by a presidential

appointee. Ensuring independence of the commission will take time, starting to call into question the current election timetable. l An active, independent police integrity commission and judicial services commission have not been set up. l An independent civil service commission has been formed but large sections of

56

the civil service are being restored to the president's patronage, effectively setting the stage for electoral fraud. l Constitutional reform is currently stalled following deadlock over transitional arrangements to implement the reformulated arrangements. The question is: what actions are now necessary for these changes to take place? The opposition groups would do well to try to professionalise their relationships with each other and with the media. Both the opposition and government must also seek to reach compromise agreements on divisive areas such as transitional arrangements, or risk the president's direct intervention, raising questions of legitimacy. There is also huge scope for working together in areas such as voter education, which will be vital in a country that has never previously held multi-candidate elections. The government needs to follow through on promised reforms and ensure that they comply with the new systems both to the letter and in spirit.

(dhivehi), October 2002. Amnesty International, Republic of Maldives: Repression of Peaceful Political Opposition, AI Index ASA/002/29/2003, London, 30 July 2003. 7. “EU legislators seek to suspend aid to the Maldives.” http://www.southasiamonitor.org /diplomacy/2004/sep/15dip4.shtml 8. See Minivan News, 12 July 2005. http://www.minivannews.com/news/news.php?id=914 9. Amnesty International, Maldives: Human Rights Violations in the Context of Political Reforms. ASA Index 29/001/2005, 24 February 2005. 10. “Maldivian Foreign Min Quits Over Reform Pace,” Reuters online, 21 August 2007. 6.

Sadly this is unlikely without external pressure and this is the vital role that the international community must play. Time and again, President Gayoom has shown himself to be extraordinarily sensitive to his international standing. Well publicised comments from organisations such as the European Parliament have consistently caused a change of course. Gayoom holds up his relationships with the SAARC leaders as being endorsements of his rule. Leaders in the region need to ensure that they make clear their intentions to hold Gayoom to his promises on reforms both privately and in public. Independent electoral monitoring will also be vital, and this should begin as early as possible if it is to have full impact. The European Union (EU) is considering sending a team, but needs to send a full team and soon. As stated at the beginning of this article, we are very much at a crossroads this year and it is our, together with all the ordinary people of the Maldives', ardent desire that we choose the right way forward. It is to be hoped that those with the power to make that choice feel the same way. At stake is a truly democratic, moderate and modern Muslim state which could act as a model for other Muslim countries around the world. Dr Hassan Saeed is the former attorney general of the Maldives and a presidential candidate. Dr Ahmed Shaheed is the former foreign minister of the Maldives. Endnotes 1. Freedom in the World 2007, annual survey carried out by Freedom House. 2. A good example will be the speech delivered by the Chief Justice in November 1988 declaring that supporting Gayoom had become a religious obligation for all Maldivians because of the selfless service being rendered by Gayoom. See www.youtube.com/ watch ?v= eq5vgJ0hpdk&eurl=http://riyaasee2008.com/ 3. Gayoom himself had, in a speech to the Parliament, conceded this in April 1980, in a rare moment of public bravado, and said that he was prepared to do whatever was required to carry out the will of the people. 4. Amnesty International Annual Report, 1984. 5. Ministry of Planning and Environment, Perspective Plan, 1998-2005 (unpublished report), 1997; Ministry of Planning and Development, Maldives Vision 2020: Sectoral Perspectives,

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58

Nepal: Election Results 2008 PARTY WISE RESULT STATUS

Candidate

Total

S.no

Party Name

Female

Male

1

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists)

42

198

2

Nepali Congress

26

3

Communist Party of Nepal (U.M.L.)

4

Madhesi People's Rights Forum, Nepal

Elected Female

Male

Total

240

23

97

120

214

240

2

35

37

27

212

239

1

32

33

3

100

103

2

28

30

5

Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party

4

90

94

1

8

9

6

Sadhvawana Party

4

83

87

0

4

4

7

Janamorcha Nepal

28

175

203

0

2

2

8

Nepal Workers and Peasants Party

27

71

98

0

2

2

9

Independent

42

774

816

0

2

2

10

Rastriya Janamorcha

15

107

122

0

1

1

33

Nepal Janavawana Party

0

2

2

0

0

0

34

Nepal Shanti Kshetra Parishad

1

2

3

0

0

0

35

Rastrawadi Yuwa Morcha

1

4

5

0

0

0

36

Liberal Samajwadi Party

0

3

3

0

0

0

37

Nepali Janata Dal

10

30

40

0

0

0

38

Nepal Rastriya Lokatantrik Dal

1

1

2

0

0

0

39

Rastrawadi Ekata Party

2

0

2

0

0

0

40

Janamukti Party, Nepal

0

3

3

0

0

0

41

Sa-Shakti Nepal

6

0

6

0

0

0

42

Rastriya Janata Dal Nepal

0

17

17

0

0

0

43

Shanti Party Nepal

4

8

12

0

0

0

44

Nepal Janata Party

2

23

25

0

0

0

45

Lok Kalyankari Janata Party Nepal

2

32

34

0

0

0

46

Mongol National Organization

0

17

17

0

0

0

47

Nepal Samyawadi Dal

0

1

1

0

0

0

48

Federal Democratic National Forum

2

43

45

0

0

0

49

Nepa: Rastriya Party

1

5

6

0

0

0

50

Nepal Lokatantrik Samajbadi Dal

0

11

11

0

0

0

51

Nepal Sukumbasi Party (Loktantrik)

3

8

11

0

0

0

11

Rastriya Janshakti Party

14

184

198

0

0

0

12

Rastriya Prajatantra Party

22

210

232

0

0

0

13

Samajwadi Prajatantrik. Janata Party, Nepal

7

43

50

0

0

0

14

Nepal Rastriya Bikas Party

0

13

13

0

0

0

52

Nepal Dalit Shramik Morcha

0

1

1

0

0

0

15

Socialist Party of Nepal

0

5

5

0

0

0

53

Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekata Party Nepal

1

21

22

0

0

0

16

Rastriya Janamukti Party

8

76

84

0

0

0

54

Tamsaling Nepal Rastriya Dal

3

19

22

0

0

0

17

Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal

8

196

204

0

0

0

55

Nawanepal Prajatantrik Dal

0

2

2

0

0

0

18

Communist Party of Nepal (Unified)

10

126

136

0

0

0

368

3578

3946

29

211

240

19

Communist Party of Nepal (M.L.)

11

105

116

0

0

0

20

Rastriya Janata Dal

0

8

8

0

0

0

21

Communist Party of Nepal (United)

6

49

55

0

0

0

22

Nepal Samata Party

2

12

14

0

0

0

23

Dalit Janajati Party

1

49

50

0

0

0

24

Nepal Sadhvawana Party (Anandidevi)

13

91

104

0

0

0

25

Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist)

5

43

48

0

0

0

26

Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist)

1

7

8

0

0

0

27

Hindu Democratic Party

0

4

4

0

0

0

28

Nav Janawadi Morcha

1

14

15

0

0

0

29

Nepal Rastriya Janakalyan Party

0

3

3

0

0

0

30

Rastriya Bikas Party

0

21

21

0

0

0

31

Muskan Sena Nepal Party

2

32

34

0

0

0

32

League Nepal Shanti Ekata Party

0

10

10

0

0

0

59

Total

Source: Election Commission of Nepal. http://www.election.gov.np

60

Nepal's Roadmap to Democracy Krishna P. Pokharel

N

epal is at a crossroads of history. In a couple of years it has gone through considerable sea changes. A seemingly invincible kingship has been confined to the palace, stripped of its political and cultural role. The interim constitution of Nepal (2007) has formally made the king a constitutional nonentity. The constitution does not recognise him even as head of state. The role of the head of state has been given to the prime minister (Article 159.2). There is a single reference to the king in the constitution and that also only to explicitly declare that he will have no power regarding the governance of the state (Article 159.1). The third amendment of the constitution has declared the country as a republic, subject to implementation by a simple majority vote by the elected constituent assembly (Article 159.3). As far as the cultural role of the king is concerned, the constitution is silent. However, in practice, the monarchy is stripped of this role too. The legendry “bhote jatra” ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who performed the rituals as head of the state instead of the king. This act broke a tradition of almost five hundred years (The Kathmandu Post 2007a). Similarly, in another ground-breaking incident, the king's request for security was turned down and thus he could not visit the temple Krishna Mandir, which—as part of the age-old tradition—was his privilege as a head of the state (The Kathmadu Post 2007a). Even during the festival of Indra jatra, instead of the king, the prime minister attended the ceremony and pulled the chariot of “Kumari”, the living goddess (The Kathmandu Post 2007c). This year, the prime minister attended the Basanta Sravan ceremony as head of state instead of the king in the historic Basantpur Palace (Naya Patrika 2008b). All these changes are ground-breaking events and are preludes of the upcoming constituent assembly elections, which will seal the fate of the monarchy and introduce an entirely new system of governance in Nepal. The Seven Party Alliance (SPA)1 and Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) are the architects of these political changes. The historic 12-point agreement between them carved a peaceful movement for an uninterrupted 19 days which compelled the hitherto reluctant king to surrender power before the leaders of the movement. Despite internal strife, the interim government of the SPA and CPN-M has finally decided to conduct the long overdue constituent assembly elections on 10 April 2008. This is the third date scheduled for the election, the first having been intentionally rescheduled for the convenience of Nepali Congress (NC) and another foiled by the rebel party CPN-M. The second spell of the Madhesh movement that lasted 17 days—causing nine casualties—seemed to be a major hurdle for the peaceful completion of constituent

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assembly polls. However, the timely intervention of the prime minister and sensible decision making by the Madhesi leaders finally helped to reach a settlement between the government and the Joint Madheshi Democratic Front (JMDF), creating a congenial environment for the peaceful conduct of constituent assembly polls. The atmosphere of suspicion has been minimised and political parties are now on a war footing for the election. They have fielded their candidates for both “first-past-thepost” (FPTP) as well as proportional representation elections. They have launched their election manifestos to attract voters and civil society members are advising the political parties to arrive at common constitutional principles to make the task of the constituent assembly easier (CMDP September 2007). Even if the parties do not heed this advice they have put forward their model of state structure in their manifestos. The aim of this paper is to analyse the proposals of the three major political parties; the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist about the future shape of governance, state restructuring, political agendas to be addressed by the new constitution and management of the state affairs immediately after the constituent assembly election. This analysis looks at the manifestos of these political parties and the policy statements of top leaders of respective political parties and lays out points of convergence, divergence and possible solutions. Proposed Head of State All three parties are in favour of the republic. Therefore, they have envisaged the post of the president in the system of governance to come (NC manifesto, 21; UML manifesto, 22; Maoists commitment paper, 13). The NC and CPN-UML are in favour of a ceremonial president elected by the electoral college made up of the central and provincial legislatures. Both parties want the president to be a symbol of national unity and dignity (Manifestos, 21 and 22). The CPN-UML's proposal regarding the election of the head of the state is even more specific. It categorically proposes the system of absolute majority whereas the Nepali Congress is not particularly specific. The case of CPN-M is quite different; it is in favour of a presidential form of government. Therefore, it does not propose a ceremonial president but an executive president directly elected through popular vote by the people. Different from the other two parties, it specifically restricts the office of the president for two terms (Commitment paper, 13). If we go through the prevalent practices of the present political systems in the world the model proposed by CPN-M resembles the French and Sri Lankan models, for it is in favour of a less powerful but elected prime minister. The interesting political scenario is that this party has not only proposed an executive presidency but is also massively campaigning for Chairman Prachanda2. The danger of this campaign is that it might turn into a rigid stand on the part of the Maoists during the negotiations. Model of Political System Both the NC and the CPN-UML have proposed a parliamentary political system in their manifestos. However, the fundamental difference between their models is that, where the NC is not specific about the mode of electing the prime minister, the CPN-

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UML is quite vocal. CPN-UML categorically proposes separate elections for the prime minister. To justify this, it argues that it will make the executive powerful and free from the number game of yester years (Kathmandu Post 2008a). The indication is towards the political malpractices and horse-trading of parliamentarians when there was a hung Parliament in the late 1990s. However, the CPN-UML is not clear on how it will operate unhindered. In known established democracies, one does not find a functional elected prime minister. For a short span of time Israel tried it but switched over to its previous model of prime minister being elected by the Knesset (Israeli legislature). The CPN-M, however, is in favour of a mixed executive, where the people directly elect the president and the legislature elects the prime minister. In their system of governance the president is the real executive. The CPN-M suspects that, by proposing the president as a titular head, both NC and UML are conspiring to somehow retain ceremonial monarchy (Kantipur 2008). While the models of political system proposed by the political parties vary in form, in essence they are similar. The difference of superstructure is superficial because the content of both parliamentary and presidential system is “conflictual”. Both systems propose a “winner takes all” approach. However, the character of Nepalese political parties shows that they prefer power sharing over sitting in the opposition. Over the 15 years after 1990, Nepalese political practices provide ample illustrations to substantiate this statement. Nepal needs a political system that provides room for power sharing. In this regard the consensual model of governance suits the country. Political parties can compete during the elections but if a mixed model of electoral system is incorporated—much like the present constituent assembly elections—no party will secure majority. Therefore, it will encourage evolving post-electoral alliance that will automatically help adopt consensual system (Naya Patrika 2008c). Restructuring of the State Regarding the restructuring of the state all three parties are in favour of a federal system. They propose three tiers of state structure; central, provincial and local. Two hundred and forty years of a highly centralised feudal political structure have created a centre and periphery syndrome. Most of the aboriginals, Madhesis and Dalits have undergone centuries of socio-political and economic exclusion. The ten-year long Maoist insurgency and the historic mass uprising of April 2006 have raised the level of political consciousness among the peripheral people of rural Nepal. Therefore, federalism has become everyone's agenda. In this context, the Maoists have a well conceived notion. They had practiced federal governance even during their so-called people's war years. On the basis of their experience they have rather enriched it. For them the bases of federalism are nationality, regional identity, geographic convenience, linguistic and economic feasibility etc. Their concept of nationality is quite different from that of ethnicity or

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race. They claim that their concept of nationality has been misunderstood and wrongly branded as ethnic, racial or caste identity. The Maoists emphasise that nationality is the product of common language, geography, economy and psychological mindset of a group of people permanently settled in a particular land. They were previously in favour of nine federal units but through their manifesto have proposed eleven provinces for the new Nepal. These proposed provinces are: SetiMahakali and Bheri-Karnali on the basis of regionalism; Magaraat, Tharuwan, Tamuwan, Newa, Tamsaling, Kirat, Limbuwan and Madhes on the basis of nationality; and Mithila, Bhojpura and Awadh sub-states in Madhes on the basis of language (Commitment paper, 20-21). The CPN-UML has internalised the concept of federalism very late, with the debate having started only recently. The party constituted a study team—under the leadership of its General Secretary M. K. Nepal—which organised an interaction programme inviting experts from different streams. One of the party leaders, J.N. Khanal, was involved in the inter-party team to study this new but complex issue. The CPN-UML has finally come to the conclusion that federalism should evolve on the basis of ethnic, linguistic, cultural and geographic specialty. While demarcating the boundaries of different states, the geographical setting, population and situation of ethnic settlement, mother language and situation of use of language, cultural characteristics, administrative convenience, socio-economic interrelationship as well as capacity and feasibility, availability of natural resources and means, and historicity should be kept in mind (Manifesto, 20). CPN-UML categorically specifies the jurisdiction of centre, provinces and local organs and favours cooperative federalism. However, while dealing so much with the basis of federalism and its other characteristics, it avoids proposing the numbers of the federating units. The Nepali Congress is the last political party to digest the demand for federalism. It was due to the reluctance of the party that the idea of federalism was dropped from the final draft of the interim constitution (Kantipur 2007). The Maoists too could not rescue federalism from the rigid stand of the NC. The credit of incorporation of federalism in the constitution actually goes to the Madhesi movement of 2007. It compelled even the NC to bow down before the movement and accept it as a constitutional principle. During the first amendment of the interim constitution, federalism was categorically incorporated in the constitution (Article 138). The final decision on the restructuring of state and federalism has been entrusted to the upcoming constituent assembly. The NC accepts the prevalent ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and regional diversity as a monument of Nepalese nationalism. It feels that the demand of democratic republican state structure by the Janajatis (indigenous people), Madhesis and others is the outcome of their deep-rooted aspirations for identity and autonomy. Therefore, the party honours the aspiration and reaffirms its prior commitment through the manifesto. It proposes Nepal's national integrity, geographical setting and convenience, population, natural resources and economic feasibility, interrelation between regions, linguistic/ethnic as well as cultural density, political/administrative feasibility etc. as major basis of

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restructuring of the state (Manifesto, 11). Like the CPN-UML, the NC too avoids prescribing the number of federal units. The comparative study of the basis of federalism proposed by these parties shows that, though the terminologies vary and the lists of some are more exhaustive than others, the gist is almost same. The NC and CPN-UML are rather more sensitive and, therefore, more reluctant to propose the number of provinces. It is a welcome move because their approach makes the issue open for debate and helps to accommodate the views of concerned stakeholders. The case of the Maoists is, to some extent, different. This party had practiced some form of federalism during the people's war. After further discussion with stakeholders it has revised its previous proposal and proposed the number of states to be eleven. The only danger with this proposal is that it has made the concerned groups more ambitious and, therefore, they may not reconcile if the consensus is any different. If the Maoists are rigid with their proposal it will again be counterproductive and will complicate and delay the constitution making process. Political Agendas Among the three political parties, the NC is recognised as a democratic party. Therefore, its commitment towards democratic values is not in question. This party has, however, reaffirmed its commitment towards democracy and liberal values. It is in favour of a federal democratic republic based on political pluralism. It categorically expresses that the absence of monarchy will not automatically guarantee democracy. Its fear is directed towards the ultra revolutionary outbursts of the Maoists. For the NC, the danger of one party communistic republic is still not over. The adventurist elements in the Maoists might be tempted to act otherwise and breach their commitment. Some of the rightist forces in this party are critical towards the policy of republic adopted by the NC. They say that the party is carried away by the Maoists' agenda and if the party continues this policy further, its fate might be like Kuomintang in China. Through its manifesto, the NC expresses its commitment towards people's sovereignty, supremacy of constitution, representative government and constitutional guarantees to civic rights and liberties. It is against the experiment of militarism, one party dictatorship or religious authoritarianism in the name of the republic (Manifesto, 10). Although a communist party, the CPN-UML has adopted a revised version of neodemocracy, which is known as people's multiparty democracy from its fifth party congress. All the agendas of liberal democracy such as multiparty democracy, rule of law, periodic elections, pluralistic open society, majority rule and minorities' opposition, independence of judiciary, pursuance of basic human rights, encouraging foreign investment etc. have been incorporated in its form of multiparty democracy. The party's nine-month rule has been acclaimed as one of the best times in the short democratic experiment of Nepal and domestic as well as international actors have accepted its democratic credentials.

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The CPN-UML has also proposed some democratic principles for the sake of evolving consensus during the constituent assembly deliberations. These constitutional principles include the end of monarchy and establishment of the republic; establishment of participative inclusive democracy based on political pluralism; establishment of federal democratic republic by restructuring present centralised feudal state structure; establishment of egalitarian governing system by eradicating all forms of economic exploitation etc (Manifesto, 9). Apart from these principles, the CPN-UML advocates various fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of the press, right to political organisation, right to information, right to equality, right to property, right to education, health, employment and food sovereignty (Manifesto, 13). As far as CPN-M is concerned, its credibility as a democratic party is still in question. In the historic 12-point agreement between the SPA and the CPN-M, the latter had expressed commitment towards democratic norms and values such as the competitive multiparty system of governance, civil liberties, fundamental rights, human rights, principles of rule of law etc. Later, these democratic principles were further incorporated in the interim constitution 2007 and the comprehensive peace accord between the government of Nepal and the CPN-M. However, all these commitments were not independent and critics in Nepal were curious to know how the Maoists will independently express their commitment towards these democratic values. Being hard-core communist, they are depicted as a one-party authoritarian force. In its manifesto, the CPN-M has pledged to establish a pro-people democratic system. Besides, sovereignty and state authority in the hand of people, supremacy of constitution, rule of law, multiparty competition, adult franchise, free and fair periodic election, complete freedom press etc are the major democratic principles for which the party has expressed its commitment (Commitment paper, 13). Now the question is how far the CPN-M will practice these political values in real life situation. A comparative study of the political agendas of these parties shows that there is little cleavage. There are more issues of convergence than of divergence, which will definitely help during the drafting of the constitution. Their combined efforts will help to persuade minor political parties to agree on major political agendas. Managing Post-Election Period On the issue of managing the post-election period these parties have their own assessment and claims. The NC is confident that it will either wrest majority or emerge as a single largest party. Therefore, it does not speak about the question of leadership, having taken for granted the leadership of G.P. Koirala. It simply proposes the formation of government from among the representatives of political parties in the constituent assembly on the basis of consensus (Manifesto, 11). The proposal of the CPN-UML is a bit different. Although it is in the favour of forming government through national consensus among the political parties elected to the constituent assembly, it is quite categorical regarding the leadership. The party

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proposes the formation of government under the leadership of the biggest party in the house representing other political parties proportionately (Manifesto, 38). This stand of the CPN-UML is due to its pre-election assessment that it will emerge as the single largest party.

election, then why are they manufacturing programmes which will not to be addressed by the constituent assembly? Will the constituent assembly prioritise and address the agenda of development instead of making the constitution? Are the leaders of political parties foolish enough to not know the difference between the two?

However, there is a great departure from the above in the proposal of CPN-M. It claims that the constituent assembly, republic, and federalism are its agenda. Therefore, it has every right to claim to have the leadership to implement them. The party supremo Prachanda opines that they have blood relationship with these agendas (Naya Patrika 2008a). Baburam Bhattarai, the number two in the party, also insists that this is their agenda, therefore, they are entitled to implement it. For this, the party has proposed Chairman Prachanda as the future president of Nepal. The CPN-M brands the NC and CPN-UML as statusquoist and itself as progressive and argues that only the forces of change can implement the agenda of change (Commitment paper, 37).

For the Maoists it was necessary to present their stand on many issues because they were new players in this political game. There were many questions about their changed political vision. However, for the NC and the CPN-UML this move was not necessary. Then why did they do it?

This shows the gap of perception between these parties. At the outset, it seems that this will create trouble during the formation of the new government. However, it is felt that an interesting situation will emerge after the elections since no one knows how the Nepali people will vote. All the previous statistics have become irrelevant due to the emergence of the Maoist and Madhesi parties. No political analyst is in a position to predict the political scenario after the elections. The results of the election which will show the actual strength of the political parties while automatically settling their claims and counter claims. In order to pacify the tempo of rival parties, the NC supremo and Prime Minister G.P. Koirala has proposed to go forward united for at least the next two general elections (The Kathmadu Post 2008). Even the CPN-UML's General Secretary M.K Nepal is in favour of a coalition government during the drafting of the constitution. Maoist supremo Prachanda has claimed that his party will accept the verdict of the people if the elections are free and fair (Naya Patrika 2008d). Marketing of Votes? All three political parties are treating the constituent assembly election as a regular parliamentary election; getting majority seats has become their prime object. They are, therefore, creating a disproportional fever of election and fighting for every inch. Before the election was declared they claimed that they would make adjustments for electing top leaders of the ruling alliance unopposed. However, the moment the election was declared this promise was forgotten and there is now a cut throat competition among the ruling alliance. The CPN-UML and CPN-M have even put forward their vision of future Nepal. Vision Nepal is a document published by the CPN-UML while CPN-M has tried to paint a rosy picture of Nepal after ten years through its commitment paper. The NC too has promised to develop a prosperous and egalitarian Nepali society. The question arises, if the political parties know that this is not a parliamentary

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The NC and the CPN-UML are in a campaign to accumulate votes by manufacturing and marketing their agendas. They want to sell dreams to the voters and gather their support in the form of vote and beat their political competitors. When dry political programmes are mingled with rosy dreams they become highly saleable. This is the reason why these political parties have been tempted to use their manifestos for votes and to compete with rival political players. Conclusion The election of the constituent assembly is not an isolated event but a major part of the entire peace process. Therefore, if the SPA and the CPN-M could have come to an agreement and developed some common constitutional principles, it would have made the people less confused and helped them vote in a congenial political environment. It would have even smoothed the post-election transition and the task of drafting the constitution would have been less hazardous. Despite the fact that the NC, the CPN-UML and the CPN-M are the major coalition partners, they are competitors as well. Therefore, they could not evolve common political denominators. Though there are political divergences in the manifestos of these political parties and though it will hinder the peace process on many critical junctures still, these manifestos are the documents for a new political march. The views, visions and vistas of “New Nepal� as depicted by these parties in the form of their manifestos are food for thought and convergent and divergent agendas for discussions. They are the raw materials for the constituent assembly and after long discussions and deliberations a new format of the future constitution will emerge. It will definitely help to settle the issue of the future head of state, model of governance, restructuring of state and many other contagious political agendas. In this sense these manifestos will, no doubt, open new horizons in the political history of Nepal. Krishna P. Pokharel is professor of Political Science at Central Department of Public Administration, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He may be contacted at pokharelkrishna@gmail.com Endnotes 1. Seven Political Parties; Nepali Congress, CPN (UML), Nepali Congress (Democratic), Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi Devi), Nepal Workers and Peasant Party, Jan Morcha Nepal and United Left Front formed an alliance which is popularly known as SPA. Later, Congress Democratic merged with Nepali Congress. Though the seven-party-alliance

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2.

turned into six party alliance, it is still known as SPA. Chairman Prachanda is the leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the leader of People's Liberation Army (PLA), the military wing of CPN-M.

Province FATA Federal Capital

Ind women Total General Ind women Total General Seats Seats 148 61 30 0 5 19 0 0 3 0 0 1 1 59 NA-207 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

NWFP

8 3 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 43 13 5 6 0 13 3 0 0 1 0 1 42

44 61 28 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 138 NA-119

35 12 16 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 35 14 7 0 1 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 14

Sindh

Ind women Total General Ind women Total Seats 14

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

75 37 0 6 24 0 0 4 0 0 1 1 73

National Assembly

183 61 81 35 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 182

NA-202

4 0 4 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 2 13

3 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3

Balochistan

1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

General Election - 2008 Party Position Including Reserved Seats

Punjab

5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9

Sarita Giri. Rajya Ko Punarsanrachana Tatha Rupantaran (State's Restructure and Transformation), National Peace Campaign, Nepal, 2006. l Manifesto of CPN (UML), 2008. l Manifesto of Nepali Congress, 2008. l Naya Patrika National Daily. 10 February 2008a l Naya Patrika National Daily. 12 February 2008b l Naya Patrika National Daily. 13 February 2008c l Naya Patrika National Daily. 24 March 2008d. l Pokharel, K. Dal le Khicheka Bhavi Shasanko Chitra (The Picture of Future Government drawn by the Parties), Naya Patrika National Daily, Nepal, 2008. l The Kathmandu Post. 9 July 2007a l The Kathmandu Post. 5 September 2007b l The Kathmandu Post. 27 September 2007c l The Kathmandu Post. 10 March 2008.

S# Party General General General Name Seats Seats Seats 12 2 35 1 PPPP 0 0 9 2 PML-N 0 2 4 3 PML 0 0 5 4 MQM 0 0 0 5 ANP 0 0 10 6 MMA 0 0 3 7 PML-F 0 0 0 8 BNP-A 0 0 0 9 PPP-S 0 0 1 10 NPP 0 0 0 11 Ind 10 0 1 Total 10 2 33 Terminated=2 Postponed=1 NA-42 Withheld=3 NA-41 NA-25

CPN (Maoist), 15 September 2007. l Commitment Paper of CPN (Maoists), 2008. l Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007. l Kantipur National Daily. 15 January 2007; 21 March 2008. l Khanal, J.N, Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan, Narahari Acharya, Pari Thapa, Minendra Rijal and

Source: Election Commission of Pakistan

Bibliography l Citizens' Movement for Democracy and Peace (CMDP): Proposal placed before the SPA and

Pakistan: Elections 2008

17 6 0 5 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 2 17

Total General Seats

272 87 67 42 19 10 5 4 1 1 1 18 255

Reserved

60 23 17 10 5 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 60 342 121 91 54 25 13 6 5 1 1 1 18 336

Total Non Total Grand Muslims Women Total Reserved

Party

10 4 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10

Total Ind. Joined

7 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11

69

70

11 0 20 0 4 10 0 0 7 0 1 10 63

65 Total

Balochistan Assembly 51 11 3 General Ind women Non Seats Muslims 7 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 15 0 4 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 7 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 47 2 11 3 (Total=2) PB-9, PB-32

I

n what were being perceived as one of the most controversial elections, the Pakistani electorate has yet again surprised a military-led powerful establishment by routing the major “king's party”, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), and overwhelmingly voting for the centre-left liberal Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's centre-right Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N). Almost two dozen former federal ministers, including the leaders of the ruling PMLQ, were defeated from their traditional constituencies. Although no party could emerge as the single largest party, the electorate has given quite a magical and proportionate mandate in favour of the two mainstream democratic opposition parties—the PPP and the PML-N. The mandate of the 18 February 2008 general elections is a categorical verdict against the military rule of General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf—who got himself elected in military uniform for a second term in violation of the constitution from the outgoing pliant assemblies—and guides the democratic opposition on what to is to be done at the centre and the four provinces by giving their preferences at each level.

Postponed Withheld=3

S# Party Name 1 PPPP 2 PML-N 3 PML 4 MQM 5 ANP 6 MMA 7 PML-F 8 PPP-S 9 BNP-A 10 NPP 11 NP 12 Ind Total Terminated=11

Source: Election Commission of Pakistan

(Total=1) PP-82

(Total=2) PS-12, PS-15

90 0 10 51 2 0 9 0 0 2 0 0 164

Punjab Assembly 297 66 8 371 General Ind women Non Total Seats Muslims 80 5 19 2 106 104 27 30 4 165 68 0 16 2 86 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 3 0 1 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 259 32 66 8 365 (Total= 5) PP-70, PP-99, PP-141, PP-154, PP-171

Sindh Assembly 130 29 9 General Ind women Non Seats Muslims 69 0 16 5 0 0 0 0 8 0 2 0 39 0 9 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 127 0 29 8 (Total=1) PS-62

168 Total

Imtiaz Alam

NWFP Assembly 99 22 3 124 General Ind women Non Total Seats Muslims 17 6 6 1 30 5 2 2 0 9 5 0 1 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 31 5 9 1 46 10 0 3 1 14 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 1 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 9 83 13 22 3 121 (Total =3) PF-59, PF-81, PF-92 Province

General Election -2008 Party Position Including Reserved Seats

Provincial Assemblies 71

Pakistan: Elections and Post-Election Scenario

Election Results The turn-out of voters (44.5 percent) was quite moderate by Pakistani standards and in line with national averages. Generally, people did not believe that the elections would be held and, even if held, they were skeptical about their fairness since an all sided and quite blatant pre-election rigging was being done. Former Prime Minister, Ms Benazir Bhutto's assassination not only dampened the whole election campaign but also further weakened the faith of the people in the outcome of elections. A wave of suicide bombings added an element of fear among the electorates who were already mourning the death of a most popular national leader as the election campaign remained suspended for 40 days to mourn her death. In the absence of the front runner, other leaders also took a back seat. The security threat forced the major leaders to confine themselves to safer ways of election campaigning, devoid of conventional fanfare. However, thanks to the miscalculation of the establishment who preferred a hung Parliament to be manipulated by a powerful presidency, the polling appeared to be free from visible manipulation. Yet, some last moment electoral engineering cannot be ruled out, given the fractured nature of the mandate. Frustrating all pre-poll manipulations, the electorate voted for more than two-thirds of the opposition's candidates to dominate the coming National Assembly, the directly elected lower house of the Parliament. The PPP won 33 percent seats (86) against 30.6 percent votes (10,606,486) cast in its favour with an impressive showing in all

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the four federating units. Being the largest and only countrywide party, it polled 42.7 percent of votes in Sindh with highest number of seats (30), 43 seats against 28.4 percent of votes in the Punjab, 9 seats with 20 percent votes in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and 4 seats with 22.6 percent of votes in Balochistan. The PML-N, which emerged as the second largest party in terms of seats (67) and third largest in terms of votes cast (19.6 percent), won most of its votes from the Punjab (28.8 percent) getting the highest number of seats in the province (61). While the PML-N did win 13.2 percent of votes and four seats in NWFP, it could not win any seats in Sindh and Balochistan. Together, both the opposition parties won 153 seats out of 272 directly contested seats (elections to five constituencies are yet to be held). Together with the Awami National Party (ANP)—a Pakhtun nationalist outfit confined to NWFP—which won 10 seats with 17.5 percent of votes from NWFP, the three opposition parties secured 163 seats. After the results on minority and women's reserved seats, the PPP (121), the PML-N (91) and the ANP (13) have together got 225 seats (67 percent) out of 336 seats in a house of 342. In terms of votes cast, these three moderate parties got 52.2 percent of votes as compared to PML-Q's 23 percent of votes which was reduced to 43 directly contested seats. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)—now a broken alliance of the religious right—after having made electoral adjustments with the ruling PML-Q got only 2.2 percent votes and was demolished to six directly contested seats. The overall results negated the view propagated by General (Retd.) Musharraf that religious extremists would take over Pakistan were he forced to step down. The results show that the secular and liberal parties, including the PPP, PML-N, ANP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), got 60 percent of votes as compared to the religious right (MMA) which was reduced to two percent electoral support. The victory of the nationalist ANP and the liberal PPP in NWFP shows that the secular parties won 57 percent of votes against MMA's 14 percent in a province that was slipping into the hands of a variety of Taliban. The religious parties failed to take any seat in the Punjab and Sindh—the two most populous provinces. Owing to the boycott of elections by the major Baloch and Pakthun nationalist parties in Balochistan, the “king's party” (PML-Q) benefitted the most and got 24 percent votes and 4 National Assembly seats against the PPP's 4 seats with 22.6 percent votes. Given the popular wave in favour of the PPP, the ruling PML-Q almost got liquidated when 19 out of 20 of its members from Balochistan Assembly defected from the party to form a coalition under the leadership of the PPP-nominated candidate for chief minister, Mohammed Aslam Raisani. Coalition Politics Coalition politics is new to Pakistan, although the country has a rich experience of having united fronts for various democratic causes. It is for the first time that a broad range of democratic shades of opinion, representing various segments, ethnicities and interest groups have formed coalition governments at both national and provincial levels. In fact, electoral battle lines were clearly defined much before the elections. The primary division was between the pro-Musharraf and anti-Musharra—for pro-

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democracy and pro-authoritarian—forces. Another division was ideological and cultural between the parties of the religious right, on the one hand, and liberal and conservative block of democratic parties, on the other. There was also a traditional division between the parties which showed greater commitment to the rights of the oppressed and the poor and those who favoured the forces of status quo. Ethnic division was more obvious in Sindh where the urban-rural divide is more evident between the rural-based PPP and the urban-based MQM. Delicate preferences shown by the electorate pre-determined the course for coalitionmaking among the potential and like-minded parties at both national and provincial levels. The PPP, which won most seats (121) and votes at the national level, could form its government with either faction of the Pakistan Muslim League. However, it preferred to go along with the democratic spirit of the people's mandate and formed its coalition with the PML-N (91 seats) and Awami National Party (13 seats). The trio was joined by Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, Jamiatul Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), who had broken ranks with the Jamaat-e-Islami over the issue of boycott of elections, and contested elections in the name of MMA. The formula evolved over sharing of the posts in the new coalition was replicated in the Punjab and NWFP as well. The PML-N, which won more provincial seats in the Punjab Assembly and was tipped to form the government in the Punjab, attracted the inclusion of 27 independents (making the total number 165), has formed a coalition government with the PPP which has 106 seats. A stopgap arrangement was made for the slot of chief minister to elect Sardar Dost Muhammad Khosa as chief minister since the PML-N nominee Shahbaz Sharif—younger brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif—is yet to be elected to the provincial assembly. In Sindh, the PPP emerged as a majority party in the home province of Benazir Bhutto with 90 members in an assembly of 164 and has formed its government under Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah. It has started negotiations with the urban-based ethnic party, MQM, to create a coalition at the provincial level since MQM's inclusion in the coalition at the centre is being opposed by the PML-N and the ANP due to its alignment with General (Retd.) Musharraf and the role played against the famous “lawyers' movement”. In NWFP, the nationalist ANP—being the largest party with 46 seats—has formed the government under Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti with the PPP having 30 seats, leaving out PML-N which did not accept a low share in the cabinet and the MMA who has joined the coalition at the centre. Politics of Elections The elections were, however, mainly contested on pro-Musharraf and pro-democracy lines. The issues of independence of judiciary—especially with reference to the reinstatement of the 60 judges of the superior courts sidelined through yet another military intervention on 3 November 2007—and media freedom remained the focal points of political debate in the urban centres. Those who gave greater importance to the revival of an “independent judiciary” preferred to call for the boycott of elections under the partial administration of General (Retd.) Musharraf. However, the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) broke down when the PML-N fell in line with

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Ms Bhutto's party which had opted to go for elections and not let the electoral arena go uncontested. Yet the bar associations, who have been in the forefront of the struggle for the independence of judiciary since March 2006, sided with the boycott line. But the electorate did not heed to their call and, instead, the PML-N benefitted by participating in the elections, especially after the leadership void created with the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto. Much before the elections, public opinion and the media were divided on two different political lines. There were supporters of transition from military rule to democracy and those who supported transformation from military to civilian rule. The transitionists' argument was that, in the absence of a mass upsurge, one has to tactically participate in the elections and not repeat the mistake of boycotting the 1985 elections. Also, by winning the public support through an election campaign one can successfully move towards democratisation or—in case of rigging—call for a mass agitation. They argued that a passive boycott would serve the interests of the king's parties favouring military-led quasi civilian rule. The transformationists, on the other hand, considered participation in the election tantamount to legitimising a flawed electoral process under General (Retd.) Musharraf and insisted on complete transformation of civil-military relations and opted to boycott the elections. Ms Benazir Bhutto was the main proponent of the transition line and initiated dialogue with the military regime. She successfully presented herself as an alternative to General (Retd.) Musharraf before the international community and forced him to doff his uniform. However, against her advice, Musharraf did not doff his uniform before his election as the president from the outgoing assemblies. Contrary to Musharraf's condition not to return from self-exile before the elections, Bhutto decided to come back and led a massive campaign of her party against extremism, terrorism and authoritarianism. She strictly kept to her transition line and also persuaded Mr Nawaz Sharif not to let the field remain vacant for the king's parties and participate in the elections. As Sharif followed suit, the boycotters were isolated. While riding a popular wave against the regime and terrorists, Ms Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on 27 December 2007, by the powers that be who felt threatened by her onslaught and popularity. Due to massive reaction against her murder, the regime found an excuse to postpone the elections to let the sympathy wave pass before the polls. As referred to earlier, the pre-election rigging did not allow an even playing field to all political players. The state machinery and resources were blatantly used in favour of pro-Musharraf parties. Under the emergency rules, new curbs were imposed on the media and the judiciary was coerced to take a new oath of allegiance to General (Retd.) Musharraf under the Provisional Constitutional Order of November 3. The election campaign was restricted and the assassination of Ms Bhutto adversely affected the whole electoral mood. The restrictions, coupled with the threat of suicide bombing, did not allow the political leadership to run an open mass campaign. Had the elections not been postponed for 40 days mourning for the late Ms Benazir Bhutto—a postponement opposed by the PPP and other parties—the PPP would have

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won with greater margin due to a sympathy wave. However, after Ms Bhutto’s exit, Nawaz Sharif was seen as the real challenger and benefitted from his focus on the popular demand of restoration of the deposed judges. Will It Last? The elections resulted in favour of both mainstream democratic parties. This disproved the transformationists and the boycotters. While the PPP and PML-N subscribed to a radical Charter of Democracy, signed in 2006, the ANP mostly agreed with the common democratic agenda of the two major parties. The Charter of Democracy seeks radical transformation of civil-military relations, ensures good governance, strengthens democratic values and provides a code of ethics for an unruly politics in Pakistan. The question is: given the presence of General (Retd.) Musharraf and domination of military in spheres beyond its constitutional domain, will this grand coalition of four parties survive? The National Assembly that has come into existence after the February elections is most committed to its own sovereignty and civilian assertion vis-à-vis the garrison. It is fated to come into conflict with the man who allowed it to come into existence. The conflict between President Musharraf and the new democratically elected National Assembly has been written into its fate by the electorate. Before the Parliament could seize its moment of self-assertion, it is faced with the popular issue of the deposed judges for whose restoration the lawyers' community, media and civil society have been struggling for more than a year. The Bhurban Declaration issued by the PPP and PML-N promised to restore the judges within 30 days through a resolution of the National Assembly. This is such a conflicting issue that it will bring the president into direct conflict with both the Parliament and the judiciary. A lack of two-thirds majority in the Senate (upper house), restrains the National Assembly to retrieve all the executive powers of the prime minister that have been usurped by the president; these include the power to dissolve the assemblies through Article 58-2(b) and make appointments to almost all major constitutional offices such as services' chiefs and governors. The politicians, especially co-chairman of the PPP, Asif Ali Zardari and president PML-N Nawaz Sharif, have so far conducted the political affairs well. Everything depends upon the unity of these two major parties and the two national leaders. If Mr Zardari is extra conscious and careful, Mr Sharif is too eager to settle his accounts with President Musharraf. However, they both know that their own survival depends on their unity. If they kept their unity in the interest of the assertion of the sovereignty of the Parliament and consolidation of democratic process, the hegemony of garrison will be neutralised. No doubt the challenges before the national democratic dispensation are immense—especially with regard to terrorism and the economy —however, with their unity they can handle these issues. If this coalition worked well, it will be a very good omen for peace and regional cooperation in the region.

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Sri Lanka: “Old” Democracy in a Trap Jayadeva Uyangoda

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wo equally tenable arguments can be made about the nature of Sri Lanka's democracy. The first is that it is old and ailing. The second that it is an old, yet resilient, democracy capable of surviving amidst even the most violent challenges to its continuity. An article published in one of Colombo's weekly English newspapers in February 2008 encapsulated Sri Lanka's ailing democracy thesis. This particular article was written as a critical response to the official celebration of the island's 60th anniversary of independence from the British rule. Its caption was “Reaching sixty and nowhere to go?” (Perera 2008). The article highlighted how the unresolved ethnic conflict had escalated into a protracted civil war, threatening the very foundations of Sri Lanka as a nation state. The ailing democracy thesis also says that Sri Lanka's liberal, parliamentary democracy has not been able to reform itself to accommodate the multi-ethnic realities of post-colonialism. Rather, as this argument further claims, the majoritarian democracy has given a reform resistant character to Sri Lanka's postcolonial state (Uyangoda 1999). Unreformed, this “old democracy” has sustained a majoritarian ethnocratic state which now survives on the political benefits of a protracted civil war. It is a democracy for the survival of which the continuation of the war has become something of a precondition. The thesis of resilient democracy can draw a picture in contrast. It may highlight how democratic institutions, practices and processes continue in Sri Lanka without falling into authoritarian or military rule, despite multiple armed insurgencies against the state spread over a period of more than three decades. Similarly, despite occasional tendencies towards regime authoritarianism, there has not been a serious threat of one-party rule being imposed. Tendencies towards regime authoritarianism—in the mid-1970s under the United Front regime and in the 1980s under the United National Party (UNP) regime—have been effectively reversed by the mobilisation of political parties, civil society movements and the working of institutional checks-and-balances. Another key argument which the resilient democracy thesis can marshal is Sri Lanka's success in maintaining multi-ethnic coalition regimes amidst a protracted ethnic war. A multi-party system, although with hegemonic two-party dominance, exists with a legislature that secures representation to all the ethnic minority communities—NorthEastern Tamils, Plantation Tamils and the Muslims. Quite significantly, all the governments in Sri Lanka since the late-1980s have been multi-ethnic coalitions. They can even be described as proto-consociational regimes.1

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Meanwhile, elections have been fairly regular in Sri Lanka. Voter turn-out at elections continues to remain one of the highest in the region, often around 75 to 80 percent. Some exceptions to this trend were visible during circumstances of civil war and violence. For example, at the presidential election of December 1988 and the parliamentary elections of March 1989, the voter turn out was as low as 35 percent. The imposition of an election boycott by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVPPeople's Liberation Front), which had by that time launched a violent armed insurgency to capture state power, caused this sharp drop. In the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) controlled areas of the Northern province, the right of the Tamil voters to exercise their franchise has always depended on the LTTE's political agenda. For example, during the parliamentary elections of April 2004, the LTTE encouraged Tamil voters to vote overwhelmingly to elect their legislators. In the presidential election of November 2005, the LTTE imposed a boycott on the Tamil voters. However, in the long and broad history of electoral politics in Sri Lanka, these can be viewed as exceptions and aberrations. They have occurred in a polity where citizens from all social classes and ethic backgrounds treat their vote-casting as a sacredly secular exercise of an exceptionally valuable right. Electoral democracy has also successfully accommodated a number of insurgent political groups who had waged war against the state into the “democratic mainstream”. The JVP, which led two unsuccessful armed insurgencies against the state—first in 1971 and then in 1987-1989—is a powerful entity in Sri Lanka's legislature at present, with 39 MPs elected in the parliamentary polls held in 2004. Among the Tamil rebel groups that have joined the parliamentary process are the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), Eelam People's Revolutionary Front (EPRLF), People's Liberation Organization of the Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and, of course, now the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), a major breakaway faction of the LTTE in the Eastern province. The EPDP is even represented in the Cabinet. The TMVP, while carrying arms in coalition with the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), has scored a resounding win in the local government elections in the Eastern province, held in early March 2008. Thus, the doors of electoral politics have not only been open to rebels of all hues, electoral politics has also tamed many of them and redirected their careers in the direction of embourgeoisment with all the temptations and benefits available in the mainstream of politics—power, money, patronage, good living and, as in the case of the ex-militant Tamil groups, the right to continue to carry arms. This is no mean achievement. Meanwhile, only the LTTE, fighting a 25 year long secessionist war with the state, seems to have shunned the attraction of the political mainstream. The LTTE apparently thinks of itself as the mainstream group in Sri Lanka's Tamil minority polity. In terms of the sociology of political power, the democratic process in Sri Lanka has facilitated a very significant transformation without bloodshed, and has subsequently prevented any further transformation. This is a key paradox in the political change of the post-colonial Sri Lankan polity. The initial alteration in the social composition of the ruling class occurred in the 1950s and was quite peaceful. The term “ruling class”

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in the singular is inadequate to encapsulate the complex story of the dominant and secondary elites who constitute a framework of love-hate relationship with the country's ruling bloc. In the first decade of political independence, from 1948 to 1956, the governing class was at the top most echelon of the indigenous elite. They were a class of urban professionals and “capitalists” invested in plantations and trade, yet closely knit in terms of class, family, kinship and school ties. Jupp (1978), borrowing a phrase from Weber, has described this stratum as “notables”; a narrow class of urban gentry who, spread within a few square kilometres in Colombo, saw the Sri Lankan society as being composed of just two social classes, themselves and the rest of the citizenry. The first significant change in the social composition of the ruling elite occurred in 1956 as the immediate outcome of parliamentary elections held in April that year. A new social and ideological coalition, mobilised along Sinhalese-Buddhist ethnic identity politics, won the majority in the Parliament. This coalition was led by a politician of the old patrician elite, Solomon Bandaranaike. Despite belonging to the upper-class, Bandaranaike led the new coalition and its government, until he was assassinated in September 1959. Shastri (1983) has described this coalition of Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP-People's United Front) as an “intermediate regime”, a description that foregrounds the intermediate class character of the social forces that constituted the coalition.2 They were also different from the established elite in a cultural sense. They were “indigenous” in the sense that they spoke the vernacular, as opposed to English. They valued their Buddhist and “traditional” religio-cultural identity, as opposed to the “western” value systems and standards. They were also committed to empowering the Sinhalese-Buddhist social forces as the dominant stratum of the ruling elite so that ethnic foundations of the postindependence Sri Lankan state would be radically different from its colonial past. The “revolution” of 1956 achieved these objectives quite peacefully and through parliamentary-electoral means. The only challenge to this shift in the social bases of state power came in 1962 in the form of a failed and bloodless military coup attempt led by the military and bureaucratic elements belonging to the old ruling elite. However, the story of a stable democracy that could endure political change with relative peace was interrupted in a rather violent fashion on two fronts, both highlighting some of the fundamental and structural deficiencies of Sri Lanka's “old” democracy. The first was the “youth rebellion” in the Sinhalese society that challenged the political dominance exercised by the traditional and the new strata of the ruling elite in the early 1970s and then in the mid 1980s. In fact, the smooth working of parliamentary democracy and periodic elections had allowed the old and the new ruling elites to alternate their control of government. But it was precisely that model of two-party governance that the JVP—representing the new generation of the intermediate classess—sought to alter by means of two armed insurgencies. The second challenge came from the Tamil ethnic minority first in the form of a movement for regional autonomy and then a protracted rebellion for secession. The secessionist war began in the early 1980s, replacing the regional autonomy movement. The war

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has now passed its 25th year with no signs of sustainable de-escalation. The way in which Sri Lanka's ruling elites have responded to the challenge of these two rebellions, that may have cost least two hundred thousand lives in the span of three-and-half decades, points to the inherently conservative nature of Sri Lanka's post-colonial polity, despite its democratic institutional foundations. The JVP's twin insurgency laid bare some of the fundamental structural deficiencies in Sri Lanka's socio-economic system and called for some far reaching reforms to be effected in the socio-economic-political order. The Tamil minority insurgency highlighted an equally fundamental deficiency in the way in which the post-colonial state has been organised in Sri Lanka in an ethnic majoritarian framework. What, nonetheless, has amazed students of Sri Lanka's politics during the past three and half decades is the ruling elite's refusal to carry out any significant reform designed to address the root causes of the anti-state insurgencies. If the JVP insurgency in the Sinhalese south occurred in a context of increasing socio-economic disparities and limited opportunities for upward social mobility for the rural poor, these conditions continue to exist along with greater degree of social discontent accumulated under new conditions of economic liberalisation. No meaningful policy regimes have so far been implemented to reform the socio-economic structure to stabilise a regime of social welfare and redistributory justice or in devolving state power to the periphery and to the ethnic minority communities. The only significant constitutional reform measure that sought to address the Tamil minority grievances was introduced in 1987, not as a policy option decided on the basis of political conviction, but in response to the direct diplomatic and military pressure from the Indian state. The Indo-Lanka accord of July 1987 resulted in creating a system of provincial councils through a constitutional amendment. It offered a limited measure of regional autonomy to Tamils. It was indeed not a voluntary reform measure conceived and implemented by enlightened ruling elite that had learned some constructive lessons from continuing social and political upheavals. It was, in fact, a half-hearted reform initiative which a reluctant ruling elite was compelled to introduce in response to pressures from a regional super power. In 1995, there emerged a moment of exception. A reformist presidential candidate received an overwhelming electoral mandate to resolve Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict through negotiations and state reforms. That president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, completed two consecutive terms in office, achieving no progress whatsoever in her state reform agenda. Not even the great humanitarian disaster caused by the Tsunami in 2004 pushed the Sri Lankan political elites in a direction of state reforms. Now in 2008, when the war has escalated, state reforms are being treated by the dominant political class as anti-national blasphemy. How does one explain this culture of reform reluctance—one may even say, reform resistance—so deeply embedded in the democratic politics in Sri Lanka? This in a way is the nature of Sri Lanka's old democracy. It precisely is the problematique of Sri Lanka's actually existing democracy. Sri Lanka's democracy has produced certain

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outcomes that define and shape the trajectories of Sri Lanka's politics in a framework where rebellion and counter-rebellion, radicalism and conservatism, protest and conformity seem to co-exist and reinforce each other in logic of indistinction where these binaries have no real meaning. It also suggests that the very capacity of Sri Lanka's democracy to accommodate dissent and incorporate tamed resistance has also produced democracy's own negation by producing—out of radicals of yester years—the most conservative and counter-reformist stakeholders of the existing system of power. It is a democracy which has facilitated mutually contradictory dimensions of politics—democracy and undemocracy, electoral mobilisation and violence, parliamentary politics and rebellion, protest and conformity, conflict and peace—to co-exist in a continuing framework of mutual co-existence. The above point requires explication through examples. Good examples come from both the Sinhalese and Tamil societies. The JVP, which led two unsuccessful counterstate rebellions in 1970s and 1980s, is the best example from the Sinhalese polity of radical-turned-arch-conservatives in a democratic polity. The JVP's radicalism has been a paradoxical one. It wanted, in 1971 and again in 1987-1989, to capture state power from the hands of the ruling elites by means of an armed struggle. It had a radical anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist social and economic agenda. However, its political agenda concerning the ethnic relations of the state was utterly conservative. The JVP had highlighted working class and petty-bourgeois class demands, but repeatedly opposed any measure of state reform that would offer regional autonomy—deviating from the colonial unitary model—to the ethnic minorities. The JVP's second insurrection of 1987-89 was in fact precipitated by the Indian intervention to resolve the ethnic conflict through political means and by reforming the state. The JVP opposed not only Indian intervention through this violent act of resistance, but also the move to create provincial councils for regional autonomy. The UNP regime established the provincial councils while decimating the JVP through a bloody counter-insurgency war. In its third incarnation in the mid-1990s and after, the JVP became a parliamentary party. In 2004 it emerged as a powerful partner in the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) coalition regime. The JVP has consistently opposed any negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict throughout this third phase of its existence. When the UNP government initiated negotiations with the LTTE in 2002, the JVP provided the centre of ideological and organisational gravity to all the Sinhalese nationalist forces that were opposed to any measure of compromise and reform. The JVP's counter-reformist grip over the polity was dramatically illustrated in 2005 when the UPFA government, led by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, attempted to sign a minor peace deal with the LTTE by setting up a post-tsunami administrative mechanism. With 39 MPs in the Parliament, the JVP was a partner in the UPFA coalition regime. The JVP mobilised so much resistance within and outside the UPFA regime against the post-tsunami peace deal that it died politically within a few months. Still being a member of the present ruling coalition, the JVP continues to provide the ideological and organisational leadership to those who oppose even a minor state reform measure initiated by President Mahinda Rajapakse.

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Once a radical political movement deriving inspiration from the radical left, the JVP, having joined the political class, has now become the most committed defender of the unitary, centralised and Sinhalese majoritarian state in Sri Lanka. Ironically, the political programme and the agenda that the JVP is upholding is the one that both the UNP and SLFP—the two political factions of the traditional ruling class—had abandoned as outmoded. Paradoxically, the price the mainstream democratic political order of Sri Lanka seems to have paid for opening its doors to the radical JVP is a costly one. It is now fostering a committed counter-reformist political entity possessing a great deal of social energy for resistance and mobilisation. The scenario of the Tamil society is no less astounding. Interestingly, state reforms first originated in the Tamil minority politics in the form of a demand for federalist regional autonomy. This was in the early 1950s, only a few years after the political independence of 1948. Tamil political leaders crafted their federalist project in a context where the Sinhalese political class began to establish Sinhalese ethnic hegemony over the post-independence Sri Lankan state. In this process, a new logic of political dialectic worked to de-legitimise any attempt towards reforming the state, because the federalist reform demand came from an ethnic minority. It further reinforced the Sinhalese nationalist commitment to the existing unitarist state. In the competition for power in the process of parliamentary politics, the two main Sinhalese political parties, the UNP and the SLFP, repeatedly used the Sinhalese popular fear of the Tamil demand for federalism. This generated a specific framework of electoral competition which has been described as “ethnic outbidding” (DeVotta 2006). In the politics of ethnic outbidding, the party in the opposition would not allow the party in power to pursue any meaningful policy to address the minority's grievances. When ethnic mobilisation had become a relatively easy political exercise, the ruling party would abandon its reform agenda in fear of an electoral backlash organised by the opposition. Meanwhile, the opposition party, having returned to power after parliamentary elections, would attempt a reform measure only to be blocked by the new opposition party whose reform agenda had earlier been thwarted. This politics of ethnic outbidding began in 1956 and it continues even today, in 2008, with new actors and stakeholders playing their roles more vigorously. Tamil demand for autonomy, having suffered rejection by the Sinhalese political elites, shifted in the late 1970s from regional autonomy to secession. With that shift, the Tamil nationalist movement also entered a phase of armed struggle for separation. The onset of the secessionist project ended the reformist phase of Sri Lanka's Tamil nationalist politics. Secession as a political project is for a radical break from the state, and not for making changes in the existing system. Meanwhile, the protracted secessionist war reminded the political elites in Sri Lanka, particularly in the 1980s and the 1990s, that Sri Lanka as a nation state could survive only if the military response is paralleled with a political reform programme. It was the Indian government and the officials who kept telling their Sri Lankan counterparts the necessity of a state reform agenda that could effectively address core political issues that had provided the basis for secession. However, the war has created a political

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psychology of fear of state reforms among all layers of the Sinhalese political elite, including its newcomers, the JVP. Any state reform without decisively defeating the LTTE and disarming the Tamil resistance is viewed by the Sinhalese political class as prelude to actual secession. Thus, the war reinforced the argument that federalism or regional autonomy to Tamils could be the beginning of the end of Sri Lanka's existence as a single nation-state unit. Amidst the new phase of war that began in 2006, Sri Lanka's ruling elites have now shed even the little commitment they earlier had to federalist state reforms. The country seems to have returned to the 1970s when the idea of the unitary and centralised state was seen as the modular form of the postcolonial polity. A conceptual question arises out of this situation: Has Sri Lanka's democracy foregrounded ethnos at the expense of the demos? That, quite alarmingly, seems to be the case. In a context of a protracted ethnic war, all the communities and all the political actors—except small groups in the radical left and intellectual liberalism—appear to imagine politics, political struggle and political emancipation in categories of ethno-identity. The dominant modes of political imagination and vision of political emancipation have become so distinctly ethnicised that democratic as well as counter-democratic politics continues to be conducted as an ethnic zero-sum game. This is where Sri Lanka's “old” democracy seems to find itself in an inescapable trap. There, however, is a ray of hope. It comes from the continuing trust in democracy that the Sri Lankan people, as opposed to the political and intellectual elites, seem to maintain. In the State of Democracy in South Asia survey, conducted in 2004 and 2005, the findings provided a picture of how democracy has become embedded in the political imagination of the people, average citizens, despite its misappropriation by all types of elites. Out of a sample of a little over 4600 voters surveyed, 92 percent affirmed their belief that democracy was most suitable to Sri Lanka, while 98 percent preferred rulers directly elected by the people. 71 percent of voters surveyed preferred democracy to any other form of government, while only 11 percent thought that sometimes dictatorship was better (SDSA Team 2008). The survey also found that trust in democracy is greater among the youth. This data stands in sharp contrast to opinions expressed by political and social activists as well as intellectuals that democracy in Sri Lanka has failed in many of its promises. Some elites have appropriated democracy, some others have moved away from it. Still some other elites feel utterly disenchanted with democracy. However, ordinary citizens continue to trust democracy as a way of political life. There seems to be an increasing gap between how the elites and the masses treat democracy; the former in an instrumentalist perspective and the latter as a culture of common sense. This is yet another of many puzzles and anomalies that the old democratic process in Sri Lanka has generated. Hopefully, it will deal with this anomaly too without opting for any other form of government.

Endnotes 1. “Consociational regimes” are grand ethnic coalitions in which political elites of all ethnic communities come together to share political power on an agreement of mutual accommodation. 2. “Intermediate regimes” is a concept introduced by Michael Kalecki, a Hungarian Marxist, in the early 1960s to describe governments that had emerged in the non-European world at the time with the representatives of the middle classes, lower echelons of the capitalist class and the rich peasantry performed the role of the ruling class. These were not the capitalist class as such. They were “intermediate” in the sense that they were composed of a range of class strata located in the middle of the class structure. Bibliography l DeVotta, Neil. “From Ethnic Outbidding to Ethnic Conflict: The Institutional Bases for Sri Lanka's Separatist War”. In Politics of Conflict and Peace in Sri Lanka edited by P. Sahadevan and Neil DeVotta. New Delhi: MANAK Publications Ltd., 2006. 3-29. l Jupp, James. Sri Lanka: a Third World Democracy, London: Frank Cass, 1978. l Perera, Kusal. “Reaching Sixty and Nowhere to GO?” Daily Mirror (Colombo), February 04, 2008. l SDSA Team. State of Democracy in South Asia: a Report. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008. l Shastri, Amita. “The Political Economy of Intermediate Regimes: The Case of Sri Lanka, 1956-1970.” South Asia Bulletin (1983) vol. III, no. 2, (Fall). 1-14. l Uyangoda, Jayadeva. “A State of Desire? Some Reflections on the Unreformablity of Sri Lanka's Post-colonial State.” In Sri Lanka at Cross Roads edited by Marucs Meyer and Siri Hettige. Colombo: University of Colombo, 1999. 92-138.

Dr Jayadeva Uyangoda is the head of the Department of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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Figure 2: Average annual rainfall in selected districts of Pakistan's cotton belt, 1998 MKH

Issues Affecting 1 Pakistan's Cotton Belt Karin Astrid Siegmann, Nazima Shaheen and Shahbaz Bokhari

RP LD KHW DGK MT HB

Pakistan's Cotton Belt Cotton is grown on more than 3 million hectares (ha) in Pakistan (Agricultural Census Organization 2003), i.e. 15 percent of the total cropped area. Nearly 80 percent of area and production come from Punjab and 20 percent from Sindh (Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock 2006). Whereas, currently the areas under cotton cultivation in Balochistan and NWFP are insignificant, according to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, these two provinces have greater potential for cotton cultivation (The News 2007d). The main cotton-growing areas of southern Punjab and Sindh are commonly referred to as Pakistan's cotton belt. Important cotton-growing districts in Punjab in terms of the area cultivated with cotton include Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur, Vehari, Muzaffargarh, Lodhran, Khanewal, Multan, Rajanpur, and Dera Ghazi (DG) Khan. The hot and dry climate in Sindh, especially in the districts of Sanghar, Ghotki, Khairpur, Nawabshah, Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas and Naushahro Feroze, is conducive to cotton-farming (Agricultural Prices Commission 2004). This “belt” is wound along the river Indus and its main tributaries in Punjab, the Chenab and Sutlej. To the west, the Sulaiman and Kirthar ranges form a natural boundary of these main cotton-growing areas. The Cholistan and Thar deserts frame it in the east. The areas close to the Indus and its tributaries are characterised by fertile alluvial soils, whereas the eastern parts, in particular, are sandy. The area is characterised by hot and dry summers from March (Sindh)/April (Punjab) to October and cold and dry winters. Maximum temperatures of up to 45° C are reached during summer days, whereas during winter nights the thermometer commonly does not fall below 5° C (Population Census Organization 2000a-q). Precipitation in the cotton belt ranges between 100-200mm annually (Figure 2). For the main cotton-growing districts in southern Punjab, rainfall is well below the provincial average (Siegmann and Shehzad 2006). In the western parts of the cotton belt, hill torrents provide a water source besides surface water sources from the Indus basin irrigation system and groundwater accessed through tube wells.

BP NF KHP SG NS RYK GK MG VH 0

50

100

150

200

250

Source: Population Census Organisation (2000a-q) Key: MKH=Mirpurkhas, RP=Rajanpur, LD=Lodhran, KHW=Khanewal, DGK=DG Khan, MT=Multan, HB=Hyderabad, BP=Bahawalpur, NF=Naushahro Feroze, KHP=Khairpur, SG=Sanghar, NS=Nawabshah, RYK=Rahim Yar Khan, GK=Ghotki, MG=Muzaffargarh, VH=Vehari Dark shaded bars=located in Sindh, light=located in Punjab

The population of the main cotton-cultivating districts listed above totalled about 30 million in 1998. The majority of the population belongs to the Siraiki ethnicity in southern Punjab and Sindhi in Sindh. The western districts of southern Punjab, such as Rajanpur and DG Khan, are inhabited by a significant Baloch population (up to a fifth of the population). The northern districts of the cotton belt like Khanewal and Vehari are predominantly Punjabi. The overwhelming majority of the inhabitants are Muslim, whereas, especially in Sindh, a significant Hindu minority exists. In-migrants represent about five percent of the population with the majority of them originating from within the same province (Table A1 in the Annexure). Cultivating Pakistan's “White Gold” Players in Pakistan's textile chain Cotton cultivation and cotton-based manufacturing play a crucial role in Pakistan's national economy. Cotton directly accounts for nine percent of the value added in agriculture and contributes about two percent to GDP. Through its use in the textiles and clothing (T&C) industry, it is indirectly responsible for another tenth of the GDP and about 2/3 of total merchandise exports (Finance Division 2006). Pakistan is one of the few countries that integrate the whole textile chain from planting cotton seeds to garment manufacturing.2 Ginning is the second stage in cotton processing after seed cotton is harvested. Through the ginning process, cotton

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seeds are removed from the seed cotton. The result is raw cotton that is sold to spinning mills. About 631 ginning factories were operating during the 2005/06 season in Pakistan (Rana 2006). They are mostly located in the cotton belt directly (Business Recorder 2007a). In terms of equipment, the fact that machinery from the 1950s is not an uncommon sight in ginning factories indicates their lack of capital for investment. Pakistan's spinning mills supplied 27 percent of world yarn demand in 2004 (APTMA 2006). The approximately 500 spinners are well-organised in the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA). It represents 360 textile mills out of which the majority are spinning or composite units (APTMA 2007). Karachi, Lahore, and Faisalabad are their main hubs. Their group is small in number, but characterised by large financial strength and good political connections. Other than growers and ginners, they have alternative options regarding procurement of the raw material and the sale of their products, strengthening their bargaining power in the market. Spinners' dependence on domestic cotton has decreased during the past two decades. Whereas at the beginning of the 1990s less than 1 percent of domestic consumption was catered for by imports, in 2003/04, this share had risen to almost 20 percent (Orden et al. 2006). Cotton yarn is subsequently woven into cloth or knit into garments. The weaving sector is divided into a formal segment of large organised mills using latest technology and a large informal division that produces cloth in cottage industries. This cottage or non-mill sector represents about 90 percent of Pakistan's effective weaving capacity (Finance Division 2003). Whereas Pakistan's T&C industry has historically focused on the early stages of the value added chain, such as yarn and cloth production, in recent years, a movement towards higher value addition in the form of made-ups and garment production has taken place (Finance Division 2006). The manufacturers of woven garments are a large group; it is estimated that about 5,000 units produce predominantly in the cottage industry, mainly in Karachi and Lahore (Finance Division 2003). Cotton growers, their revenues, and land Cotton is produced by 1.6 million farmers, i.e. about a tenth of all households in the country (Orden et al. 2006). Annual production surpassed 2.4 million tonnes (12.4 million bales)3 in 2004/05, Pakistan's highest ever cotton production. It made the country the fourth largest producer world-wide (Finance Division 2006). Figures 3a and 3b illustrate the larger cotton production in Punjab as compared to Sindh, in terms of acreage and harvest. Average yields are higher in the main cotton-cultivating districts of Sindh, though. Earnings from cotton sales account for 40 percent and 45 percent of household income of landowners and sharecroppers, respectively. Rather than making them rich, this high degree of dependence on one crop makes them vulnerable. As compared to wheat farmers, for example, who use their produce for household consumption as well, cotton-producers are entirely at the mercy of market fluctuations. Resultantly, among cotton farmers, 40 percent of landowners and 2/3 of

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sharecroppers are in the lowest 2/5 of the consumption distribution (Orden et al. 2006). The cotton cultivation cycle commonly starts with sowing in May, involving the purchase of inputs and land preparation. During the growing stage from June to October, weeding takes place as well as water and pesticide applications. The latter becomes more intensive during the flowering of cotton buds. Cotton-picking is a seasonal activity. In three to five waves, from August up to February (Agricultural Prices Commission 2004), about two million cotton pickers were estimated to harvest the fuel for Pakistan's export engine. More than 2/3 of cotton growers own some or all of their land, whereas 21 percent are sharecroppers with no land-ownership (Orden et al. 2006). Sharecroppers are paid in cash or kind, commonly receiving a 50 (Sindh) to 60 (Punjab) percent share of crop. Figure 3a: Cotton production and productivity in main growing districts of Punjab, 2002/03-2004/05 1200

1000

800 Area (ha) 600

Production (bales) Yield (kgs/ha)

400

200

0 RY Khan

B'pur

Vehari

M'garh

Lodhran

Khanewal

Source: Agricultural Prices Commission (2004)

Figure 3b: Cotton production and productivity in main growing districts of Sindh, 2002/03-2004/05 800 700 600 500 Area (ha) 400

Production (bales) Yield (kgs/ha)

300 200 100 0 Sanghar

Ghotki

Khairpur

Nawabshah

Hyderabad

Source: Agricultural Prices Commission (2004)

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In Sindh, share tenants usually do large holdings' cultivation. Crop production shared between tenants and land owners on a 25/75 percent basis is found to a limited extent in Badin, Tharparkar, Mirpur Khas, Sanghar, Hyderabad and in the southern part of the Nawabshah district. Obviously, this is a very disadvantageous contractual situation for the tenant. Leasing of land is also common in Sindh, in which a landowner, who cannot cultivate the land, frequently leases it. As compared to ricecultivating areas, rents are high in the cotton zone (SZABIST 2001). In southern Punjab, cultivation of landholdings is allotted on annually renewable contracts known as patta. Sharecroppers are paid in cash or kind, receiving a 60 percent share of crop. Parchi (receipt) is a specific type of cash payment. It denotes slips that can be encashed at the end of the season (Hussain 1999). Hence, it basically represents a loan extended to the grower by the sharecropper. The distribution of farmland is unequal. Small and marginal farms operating less than 2.5 acres accounted for 18 percent of the total cotton area in the country and half of the total cotton-growing farms in the country. With an average 20-25 percent of cultivation costs, land rent represents a substantial share of farmers' expenses (Figure 4). Agricultural Inputs Cotton seeds are a crucial agricultural input. Although they do not represent a major cost to producers (Figure 4), their purchase nonetheless involves financial and other risks. Pakistan produces seeds since the mid-1970s by the Sindh and Punjab Seed Corporations. In recent years, some private firms have also started producing cotton seed. The Federal Seed Certification Department exercises quality control of crop seeds. One of the problems faced is the inefficiency of public sector departments in approving seeds, affecting crop production negatively (SZABIST 2001). Also, unregistered seed companies often sell substandard and premature seed varieties. Amongst others, unapproved varieties are more prone to pest attacks. It is estimated that there are over 800 unregistered seed dealers in the cotton-growing areas of southern Punjab alone (The News, 2007c). Seed is treated with fungicides before sowing, which causes additional cost to the growers (Business Recorder 2007b).

Figure 4: Per acre cost of production of seed cotton, 2005/06 (% of gross cultivation cost) 120 100 80 60 40 20

24 22 13 19

14

14

8 9 10

11 8 7 6 4

20 7

0 Punjab

Sindh

Land rent Plant protection Fertilizer Irrigation Picking Land preparation Interculture Seed & sowing

Box 1: Use of Bt cotton in Pakistan The genetically modified Bt cotton contains a foreign gene taken from soil bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis. In Bt cotton, an insecticide is produced within the plant. When insects, especially bollworm larvae, hatch, they inject the Bt protein along with plant tissue. In reaction, the protein becomes active and kills the larvae. The cultivation of Bt cotton is not legally allowed in Pakistan. Pakistan Plant Quarantine Rules 1976 strongly oppose the import of any plant or material, which may be a source or medium of infection and pests destructive to agriculture except under a valid import permit. Similarly, under the Pakistan Seed Act 1976, the sale of any seed of any notified variety or species is prohibited unless its variety or species is identifiable and conforms to stipulated limits of germination and purity standards. Finally, the National Biosafety Committee (NBC), Ministry of Environment also restricts the use of Bt cotton (Bhambhro no date). The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock cleared a new variety of the Bt cotton “IRFH901�, though, it is yet to be formally approved by National Biosafety Committee (Hussain 2007). Despite these legal barriers, Bt cotton is being cultivated illegally in Pakistan. Initially, Bt cottonseed was smuggled from Australia to Pakistan and cultivated at a few private farms in the Umerkot district in Sindh. The smuggled seeds were multiplied there and shifted to nearby ginning factories at Shahdadpur, Sanghar district. Subsequently, the Bt cottonseed was distributed further to the farmers of the Nawabshah, Mirpur Khas, Hyderabad and Sanghar districts (Hayee no date). It is estimated that more than 500,000 acres are presently under the genetically modified Bt cotton, which so far has not been approved by authorities (Rao 2007). During the Kharif, i.e. from April to October, season of 2002, cultivation of Bt cotton was undertaken in the districts Khairpur and Sukkur, over a joint area of 70 acres (Bhambhro no date). Figure 5 provides an estimate of the area cultivated with Bt cotton in selected districts of Sindh. Supporters claim that growing Bt cotton would help farmers to reduce their significant pesticides-related expenses and, hence, have benign effects on workers' health and the environment. In contrast, opponents assume that, in the long run, Bt cotton will become vulnerable to pest attacks. Bt cotton escaping from pollen grains might harm other crops in the neighbourhood and the environment. This genetically modified crop also requires the intensive use of specific pesticides by the same multinational company that is a major promoter of Bt cotton (Bhambhro no date).

Source: Agricultural Prices Commission (2004)

89

90

Figure 5: Distribution of area and growers of Bt cotton in selected districts of Sindh, 2002 (acres) 160

4500

140

4000

120

3500 3000

100

2500 80

2000

60

1500

40

1000

20

500

0 Growers Nawabshah Area

0 Sanghar

Mirpurkhas Hyderabad

Total

Source: Hayee (no date)

Almost all of the cultivated area in Punjab, as compared to 37 percent in Sindh, received irrigation in 2002/03 (Ministry of Food Agriculture & Livestock 2004).4 These shares were similar in 1979-80 apart from a major increase in the share of irrigated area of Punjab (Ministry of Food Agriculture & Livestock 1996). Zaidi (1999) also notes that the tube-well development crucial for irrigation during the Green Revolution was highly concentrated in Punjab. Table A2 reflects this greater role of tube-well irrigation in Punjab. The irrigation share in cotton cultivation costs is higher in Punjab than in Sindh, presumably due to the fuel/electricity expenses necessary to run tube-wells. Overall, irrigation costs represent about 1/10 of total cultivation costs (Figure 4). It is possible to identify considerable regional difference in the distribution between irrigation users at the head and in the tail-end of the canal command within provinces. Within a watercourse command, water delivered to the head farmers is generally 32 percent and 11 percent more than to the farmers at the tail and middle reaches, respectively (Afzal 1996). Similarly, minor or distributory canals receive different amounts of water. In view of the shortage of canal water in the country, the regions at the tail-end of the canal system are therefore at a disadvantage in adopting new crop varieties and adjusting crop patterns. Farmers in Sindh are particularly adversely affected since they are located at the tail-end of the canal distributory system and they cannot make use of the groundwater due to its salinity (Khan 1999). Illegal pumping from canals and excessive losses add to the inequity in the distribution (Afzal 1996). The distribution of irrigation water discriminates against small farmers because of the unequal power of small and large landowners in the villages (Khan 1999). Pest and Pesticides' Risk In Pakistan, cotton is the crop on which most pesticides are applied. It is estimated that farmers are using PKR10 billion worth of pesticides annually out of which 80

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percent are used for the protection of the cotton crop during its growing period (Rao 2007; Mahmood and Jamil 2005). The pesticide treadmill, i.e. the necessity to use more and more pesticides due to resistances developed in pests (Banuri 1998) as well as the fact that pesticide prices have dropped due to import liberalisation in 1995 (Zia 1998, quoted in Hussain 1999) have raised consumption exponentially. During the same period, yields have not risen significantly, though, raising questions regarding the effectiveness of increased pesticide consumption (Ahmad and Poswal 2000 and Poswal and Williamson 1998, both quoted in Khan et al. 2002). Whereas the cultivation of organic cotton plays a negligible role in Pakistan, the government has encouraged integrated pest management (IPM) (FAO, UNDP and Government of Pakistan 2001). Research indicates that farmers' education on IPM in cotton cultivation can contribute to more cost-effective and environmentally friendly crop management (Khan and Iqbal 2005). Small and marginal farmers face risks due to the high incidence of pest infestation, and equally great financial and health hazards resulting from the use and overuse of pesticides for “plant protection�.5 Khan et al. (2002) estimate the total external costs of pesticide use in terms of their effects on human health and the environment as high as PKR12 billion. The high costs of pest control as well as the proliferation of substandard pesticides in the market put these groups at a disadvantage; good quality pesticides are expensive and often in short supply (Orden et al. 2006). Pesticides alone represent about a fifth of the costs incurred in cotton cultivation (Figure 4). Due to a lack of storage facilities and the money to hold on to the produce for better prices, farmers are forced to sell their produce immediately after the harvest in order to meet cash requirements for the purchase of inputs. Often, they even sell their standing crop (Anwar 2006; Orden et al. 2006). The high rate of inflation during the past years has aggravated the situation while cotton contamination also lowers cotton prices.6 Resultantly, many farmers are trapped in a debt spiral. Table 1: Outstanding debt from formal and informal sources by tenure and farm size, 2000 (million PKR) Owner Owner-cum-tenant Tenant total Total by farm size (% formal) (% formal) (% formal) (% formal) Small 511,051 (42.55) 107,313 (44.82) 70,043 (6.88) 688,407 (39.27) Medium 194,289 (42.84) 33,105 (29.24) 38,267 (4.68) 265,661 (35.65) Large 192,824 (62.68) 70,320 (54.28) 14,580 (18.33) 277,724 (58.22) Total by tenure 898,164 (46.94) 210,738 (45.53) 122,890 (7.55) 1,231,792 (42.77) Source: Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock (2006b)

Farmers' formal sources of loans include the Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan (ADBP), commercial and cooperative banks as well as through the revenue department. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the Rural Support Programmes have become an important provider of agricultural loans. More than 70 percent of the total agricultural credit was supplied by ADBP during 1998-99. Agricultural credit against the hypothetication of the cotton crop increased drastically after the privatisation of the pesticides business, indicating the impact of pesticides marketing campaigns by the private sector (FAO, UNDP and Government of Pakistan

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2001). Farm credit is provided on the basis of availability of passbooks, which have not been issued to all the farmers. The procedure for obtaining the loan is tedious, causing malpractice in the system (SZABIST 2001). However, smallholders and tenants do not easily obtain formal credit due to lack of (sufficient) access to land. Therefore, they get loans from informal sources. Often, they borrow from their landlords, middlemen or dealers at high interest rates. With time, their debt multiplies and causes debt bondage. In lower Sindh, including the districts of Hyderabad, Sanghar and Mirpur Khas, bonded labour is often a result of indebtedness (SZABIST 2001; Box 2). Except for the few formal loan schemes targeted at females and the increasing number of micro-finance schemes, women are virtually excluded from access to loans. Table 2: Pearson correlations of (changes in) harvest, yield, land size and cash wage with (changes in) female field labour, 2004/05 and 2005/06 2004/05 2005/06 Changes 2004/05-2005/06 Harvest (maund) 0.17 (0.18) 0.29 (0.03)** -0.28 (0.03)** Yield (maund per acre) 0.04 (0.75) 0.26 (0.04)** -0.31 (0.01)** Land size cultivated (acres) 0.21 (0.09)* 0.18 (0.16) 0.18 (0.16) Changes in cash wage (ordinal) -0.09 (0.49) Notes: p-values in brackets. *Correlation statistically significant at 90 percent level. ** Correlation statistically significant at 95 percent level.

Table 1 reflects that smallholders have greatest aggregate demand for loans. Tenants, though, hardly access formal credit. Conversely, large farmers' lesser need for credit appears to go hand in hand with smooth access to formal loans. 7

Working in Cotton Fields

Seasonal cotton-picking represents by far the largest share of employment in cotton cultivation, with more than ten times more female than male field workers. Most of the pickers are women and girls. A high percentage of cotton pickers belong to rural landless households, which are generally the poorest strata of the population (FAO, UNDP and Government of Pakistan 2001). Sprayers and tractor drivers as other agricultural labourers, on the other hand, are commonly men. Sometimes female children brought to the field help picking and thus raise the pickers' meagre earnings. Out of the large group of child labourers in Pakistan, the majority works in the agricultural sector in rural areas (Box 2). Picking is commonly done in groups of 5 to 25 workers. They are organised by contractors, which often select workers who are connected to him/her on the basis of kin or acquaintance. Exchange of labour, i.e. collective work of several families on one family's fields in order to prevent losses, is also common (Habib 1996). In a study conducted in southern Punjab in 2005/06, the level of field employment appears to be positively associated with the total harvest, the productivity and the size of the cultivated land, whereas the observed decreases in yield and harvest changes are correlated with negative employment changes (Table 2; Siegmann and Shaheen 2007). This can be explained by the greater effort necessary to harvest on a low productivity field.

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Figure 6: Average monthly income in rural Pakistan by sex, 2004/05 (PKR) 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 Male

0 Punjab

Female Sindh

Pakistan

Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics (2006b) In a triple sense, cotton pickers are informal workers. As mentioned above, cottonpicking is a seasonal activity. They are contract workers, not in a direct employment relationship with the growers. Finally, they are piece rate workers as wages are paid per the weight of output rather than per unit of time. The financial risks of a late harvest, low yields, poor harvesting effort, illness and other unforeseen disturbances are thus born by the pickers. Payment was made in kind traditionally, namely 1/16 of the harvest (Orden et al. 2006). In recent years, the majority of growers have moved to payment in cash (Hussain 1999). A common mode of cash payment is the aforementioned parchi system. It implies the provision of payment slips for the daily harvest that can be encashed at the end of the season or exchanged against food items within a particular area (Hussain 1999). Whereas this institution frees the grower from the need to provide cash on a daily basis and monitor the financial transactions, it shifts the problem of daily cash requirements to the pickers, who have even less access to financial resources. In addition, the encashment at the season's end is commonly done by male family members, reducing the women workers' access to and control over financial resources. Cotton pickers' earnings are lower than those of male agricultural workers reflecting overall wage gaps prevailing in the region (Figure 6). One maund, i.e. 40kg, appears to be what a fast picker can harvest in a day. PKR50-80 were reported to be common rates during the 2005/06 season. The piece rate system of payment for harvesting translates into meagre daily earnings. Pickers report daily earnings of between PKR10-60, depending on the regionally different rate and on working hours in the field. Picking rates are reported to be negatively related to the field's productivity, as a picker would be able to gather one maund of raw material in a field full of cotton relatively quickly as compared to, for example, during the third pick. Orden et al. (2006), therefore, note higher rates in the initial and end periods of the cotton season. Picking labourers' bargaining power is severely constrained by their informal status,

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the oversupply of labour for this task, pickers' low education levels, and intertwined work schedules in the home and the field. All of these factors are mediated by the pickers' gender and the associated normative expectations. Agricultural labourers and their communities in the cotton belt are directly and indirectly exposed to poisonous pesticides. During their work in the fields, cotton pickers are exposed to residuals of these sprays. Picking cotton is common during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Often, children are tended while picking cotton. Whereas, in some instances, spray-men are given some, though inadequate, information on the health hazards of pesticide exposure and are sometimes provided with protective gear (FAO, UNDP and Government of Pakistan 2001), Hussain (1999) found no instance where cotton pickers were given advice on how to prevent the poisoning effects of pesticides. All this poses additional risks to the workers and their children's health. Labourers and their household members consume water that is contaminated with pesticides. Besides, the chemicals enter the food chain via the exposure of the soil, of livestock, and as remnants in cotton seeds that are pressed to produce edible oil. Cotton stalks are often used as fuel wood in cotton-growing areas (Hussain 1999; Habib 1997). Residuals are thus inhaled by the labourers and their communities. High rates of malnutrition, especially of women and children, raise their vulnerability to the effects of the poisonous chemicals. The result is chronic pesticide poisoning, with its symptoms ranging from mild headache via skin allergy to cancer of internal organs (Mahmood and Jamil 2005; Colborn, Myers and Dumanoski 1996, quoted in Hussain 1999). One of the few studies on the level of poisoning conducted in Pakistan showed chronic pesticide poisoning among cotton pickers, especially in the post-harvest period. After the season, blood samples of only 10 percent of female pickers was found to be in the normal range whereas this level was hazardous among 42 percent of the pickers (Tahir et al. 2001, quoted in Khan et al. 2002).8 Gendered Livelihoods in the Cotton Belt Women in rural Pakistan, including the cotton belt, play a major role in agricultural production, livestock raising and cottage industries. About 1/3 of all agriculturalwork in rural Pakistan is undertaken by women. As reflected in Table 3, their labour force participation is not significantly lower than men's. However, a majority of women, i.e. 58 percent, works as unpaid family helpers (Federal Bureau of Statistics 2006b). They participate in operations related to crop production such as sowing, transplanting, weeding and harvesting, as well as in post-harvest operations such as threshing, winnowing, drying, grinding, husking and storage (Habib 1997). The women carry out these tasks in addition to their domestic chores of cooking, taking care of the children, the elderly and disabled, fetching water and fuel, cleaning and maintaining the house as well as some of its construction. Obviously, these women work longer than men. Surveys have revealed that a woman works 12 to 15 hours a day on various economic activities and household chores. Despite their

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Table 3: Labour force participation in rural Pakistan by sex, 2004/05 (% of total female/male population) Punjab Sindh Pakistan Female 35 42 37 Male 52 52 50 Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics (2006b) economic involvement, women have hardly any ownership or control over resources and they are expected to surrender their rights in favour of their brothers or husbands. Women work and produce on land they commonly do not own. Due to the societal perception of men as the household's main “breadwinner” and women as supplementary income-earner, they are prevented from searching paid employment and, consequently, have limited access to, and control over, financial resources. The harvest is commonly sold by and through men who control the income (Habib 1997). Besides seasonal labour in cotton and rice cultivation, women hardly face other opportunities for income-generation. Rural manufacturing as well as nursing and teaching, subsumed under “Community, social & personal services” in figure 7, are other sectors that employ a significant share of women. Men face comparatively more choices in the labour market, such as in trade and construction (Figure 7). Many men in the cotton-growing belt migrate for industrial or construction employment to urban areas. This has led to a rapid growth in the urban centres of e.g. southern Punjab.

Figure 7: Employed persons in rural areas of Punjab and Sindh by major industry and sex, 2005/06 (% of total female/male employment)

100.00 90.00

Community, social&personal services Trade

80.00 70.00 60.00 50.00

Construction

40.00 30.00

Manufacturing

20.00 10.00 0.00

Agriculture

Pj-Female Pj-Male S-Female S-Male

Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics (2006a) Notes: Pj=Punjab, S=Sindh

As noted above, if women access income, they face wage discrimination. Other factors like gender discrimination in access to credit facilities, transfer of new technologies and required training, education and extension further compound the matter. Patriarchal gender norms reinforce the economic subordination. Girls are taught not

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to value themselves when it comes to equality with males in the family. This is expressed in the distribution of food between female and male household members as well as in females' lack of decision-making power regarding education, health, marriage, family-planning etc. (Habib 1997).

of eyes and skin during chilly picking and eye and throat sore during pesticide spraying were widely reported by the children. The study reveals that a majority of children are unhappy with their current work but they do not have alternatives due to heavy burden of debt on their families. They are aware of economic and social sanctions that they will have to suffer if they leave the work. Debts ranging from PKR5,000-100,000 tie them to their employer along with their parents and siblings. The wish to change their occupation and the desire to get education was widely voiced by the children. However, they know that their dreams would never come true until they pay back a debt, which has often been already inherited by their grandparents

Significant gender gaps in education and health indicators are the result. For instance, in rural Punjab and Sindh, the average female adult literacy is 24 percent and 14 percent respectively, as compared to 56 percent for men in both provinces. The cotton-growing districts of Punjab are at the bottom of the provincial ranking of female literacy. Overall, access to and achievements in schooling are lower in the cotton belt as compared to the respective provincial averages. Whereas 55 percent and 52 percent of boys drop out of school before completing primary school in rural Sindh and Punjab respectively, the figure is as high as 88 percent and 72 percent for girls in these two provinces. Tables A3a and A3b in the Annexure also highlight the wide gender gap in access to education that widens with age. This discrimination is legitimised by the assumption that investment in girls' education is wasted as they will leave their parents' household and are unlikely to enter the paid labour market.

Box 2: Child Labour in Pakistan Estimates of child labour in Pakistan vary widely. Hussain (1985, quoted in Hussain 1998) calculated 14 million child workers, which made 40 percent of the child population of the country at the time. Cochrane et al (1990) estimated 31 percent child labour force participation for boys and 7 percent for girls in the age group 10-14 years. Sathar (1993) assumed a range of 19-25 percent of male children and 22-32 percent of female children working in the country. Forced and bonded child labour can be found in all sectors of the economy. However, bonded labour is most widespread in agriculture, particularly in the interior of Sindh and southern Punjab where land distribution is highly inequitable. Bonded labour in agriculture often emerges from historically hierarchical relationships between landlords and peasants. These relationships are reinforced by contemporary agricultural policies, which give landlords privileged access to land, resources, and credit. In many cases peasant children inherit the debt and, thus, the working conditions of their parents. According to a recent study (Bokhari, forthcoming), agricultural work done by children constitutes hazardous work with no safety measures. Children are exposed to multiple health risks due to the presence of hazardous substances in agricultural work. In addition, they have to face dangerous animals, insects and objects during their work. Snake bites, poisonous insects, injuries by agricultural tools, itching/bruises during carping, burning

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.

Tables 4a and 4b indicate that the population in cotton-cultivating regions have a poorer health status than the provincial and national rural averages. Interestingly, whereas Punjab's immunisation ratio is higher than in Sindh, infant mortality is also higher. Poor conditions regarding water and sanitation aggravate the abovementioned health hazards due to pesticide exposure. Only a minority of the population in the cotton growing areas has safe access to water and sanitation. Piped water is available to less than a fifth of the population of the cotton belt (Figures 8a and 8b) and the majority does not have toilets in their households. This induces new health risks. Water-related diseases, such as diarrhoea, hepatitis, dysentery and malaria are among the main causes of death in Pakistan. They affect the vulnerable, such as children, most Table 4a: Health status in main cotton-growing districts in rural Punjab, 2004/05 (%) RY Khan B’pur Vehari Females sick/injured 8 12 9 Males sick/injured 7 11 7 Infant mortality rate (per thousand) 89 80 90 Immunisation coverage 40 18 61 Sources: Federal Bureau of Statistics (2006a); SDPI/WFP (2004)

M’garh

Lodhran

Kh’wal

Punjab

7 5

8 8

9 9

6 6

91 21

89 35

91 44

52

Table 4b: Health status in main cotton-growing districts in rural Sindh, 2004/05 (%) Sanghar Ghotki Khairpur N’shah Females sick/injured (%) 4 10 6 6 Males sick/injured (%) 4 5 6 6 Infant m ortality rate (per thousand) 36 61 45 43 Immunisation coverage (%) 12 18 18 12 Sources: Federal Bureau of Statistics (2006a); SDPI/WFP (2004)

H’bad

Sindh

Pakistan

7 8

8 8

8 7

47

-

-

45

32

41

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Figure 8a: Water and sanitation in main cotton-growing districts in rural Punjab, 2004/05 (%) 80 70 60 50 Tap water

40

No toilet 30 20 10 0 RY Khan

B'pur

Vehari

M'garh

Lodhran

Khanewal

Punjab

Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics (2006a)

by their gender, leading to the conclusion that low prices for seed cotton are parasitic on women's subordination. Land is scarce, unevenly distributed and its ownership associated with power structures that go beyond the purely economic realm. High risks of purchasing adulterated inputs as well as their high financial and external costs are a severe problem not just for cultivators, but also for their employees and communities. Pesticide poisoning, in particular, is a major risk for all stakeholders involved in cotton cultivation. Poor water and health-related infrastructure aggravates the situation and creates vicious cycles of poverty leading to poor health status that again augments poverty. The lack of credit access creates cycles of indebtedness, which can even lead to debt bondage. Low levels of, and wide gender gaps in, education let the prospects for more equitably shared cotton-based economic development appear gloomy.

Figure 8b: Water and sanitation in main cotton-growing districts in rural Sindh, 2004/05 (%) 40 35 30 25 Tap water

20

No toilet 15 10 5 0 Sanghar

Ghotki

Khairpur

Nawabshah Hyderabad

Sindh

Pakistan

Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics (2006a)

severely. Nationally, 1/3 of under-five (years of age) deaths are owing to diarrhoea. Poverty Despite Productivity A recent study undertaken by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) identifies close ties between global cotton markets and poverty in Pakistan's cotton belt.9 It shows that lower cotton prices in Pakistan, resulting from the decline in world prices in the second half of the 1990s, contributed to the rising levels of poverty among cotton-producing households. A simulated increase of low cotton prices in 2001/02 is assumed to move up to two million cotton farmers out of poverty (Orden et al. 2006). The present brief assessment elaborates on this association. It identifies the multifaceted face of poverty in Pakistan's cotton belt. Some of its aspects include the comparative poor bargaining power of the growers, sharecroppers, pickers, and other workers involved in cotton cultivation. It implies poor pay for hard and hazardous work in the cotton fields and a meagre return for the raw material that fuels Pakistan's export engine. The poor bargaining position of pickers is established and reinforced

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Endnotes 1. The research underlying this paper was carried out for IKEA Services. Ms. Sarah Siddiq has carefully edited the draft. All remaining shortcomings are solely our own. 2. The following paragraphs are based on Siegmann (2007b). 3. One Pakistani bale equals 170 kg. 4. This paragraph is based on Siegmann and Shehzad (2006). 5. These paragraphs are based on Siegmann (2007a). 6. “Contamination� means that other materials, including threads of polypropylene bags, shreds of cloth, pieces of rope twine, paper, human or animal hair and any other matter are part of the lint. The national economy is estimated to lose up to USD2 billion annually due to cotton contamination. 7. This section is based on Siegmann and Shaheen (2007).

100

8. 9.

Similar study results are quoted in Hussain (1999), Banuri (1998) and Habib (1997). This paragraph is based on Siegmann (2007a).

Bibliography l Afzal, M. “Managing Water Resources for Environmentally Sustainable Irrigated

Agriculture in Pakistan.” Pakistan Development Review (1996) Vol. 35, No. 4. l Agricultural Census Organization. “Pakistan 2000 Agricultural Census”, Lahore, 2003.

Available at: http://www.statpak.gov.pk/depts/aco/publications/agricultural_ census2000/agricultural_census2000.html. l Agricultural Prices Commission. “Support price policy for seed cotton, 2005-06 crop.” Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2004. l Anwar, S. “Fibre Testing machines due in a week”, The News, April 28, 2006. l All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) (2007), “About Us”. Available at: http://www.aptma.org.pk/Aboutus.asp (retrieved August 16, 2007). l APTMA. “Pakistan share of textiles in world trade.” 2006. Available at: http://www.aptma.org.pk/Pak_Textile_Statistics/ptrade.asp. l Banuri, T. “Environmental impact of cotton production and trade.” Paper prepared for UNEP project on trade and environment, Islamabad, 1998. l Bhambhro, S. A. (no date), “Cultivation of Bt cotton in Pakistan.” Available at: http://www.webtex.com.br/arquivosPDF/Cultivation_Bt_cotton.pdf. l Bokhari, S. “Bonded Child Labour in Pakistan.” SDPI Project Report Series, Islamabad (forthcoming). l Cochrane, S., Kozel, V. and Alderman, H. “Household Consequences of High Fertility in Pakistan.” World Bank Discussion Paper No. 111. The World Bank, Washington, DC., 1990. l Food and Agriculture Organisation of The United Nations (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Government Of Pakistan. “Policy and Strategy for Rational Use of Pesticides in Pakistan. Building Consensus for Action.” UNPAK/FAO/2001/002, Islamabad. l Federal Bureau Of Statistics (2006b), “Labour Force Survey of Pakistan (2005-2006): Three Quarter-Yearly Report (Jul 2005 Mar 2006).” Islamabad. Available at: http://www.statpak.gov.pk/depts/fbs/publications/lfs0506_q3/lfs0506_q3.html. l Federal Bureau Of Statistics. “Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM) 2004-05.” Islamabad, 2006a. Available at: http://www.statpak.gov.pk /depts/fbs/statistics/pslm0405_district/pslm0405_district.html. l Finance Division. “Economic Survey 2005-06.” Islamabad, 2006. Available at: http://www.finance.gov.pk/survey/home.htm. l Finance Division. “Economic Survey of Pakistan 2002-03.” Islamabad, 2003. Available at: http://www.accountancy.com.pk/docs/Economic_Survey_2002-03.pdf. l Habib, N. (1997), “Invisible farmers rural roles in Pakistan”, Pesticides News No. 37, September 1997, pp. 4-5, available at: http://www.pan-uk.org/pestnews/Issue/ pn37/ pn37p4.htm (retrieved August 16, 2007). l Habib, N. (1996), “Invisible Farmers: A study on the role of women in agriculture and the impact of pesticides on them”, Khoj Research and Publication Centre, Lahore. l Hayee, A. (no date), “Cultivation of Bt Cotton Pakistan's experience”, Action Aid, Islamabad. l Hussain, F. “BT cotton developed by Nibge awaiting approval”, Business Recorder, April 20, 2007. l Hussain, N. “Poisoned Lives: The effects of cotton pesticides.” Shirkat Gah, Women's Resource Centre, Lahore, 1990. l Hussain, A. “Child Workers in Hazardous Industries in Pakistan.” The Lahore Journal of Economics (1998) Vol. 2 (2). l Khan, M. A. and Iqbal, M. “Sustainable Cotton Production Through Skill Development among Farmers: Evidence from Khairpur District of Sindh, Pakistan.” Presentation at the

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21st Annual General Meeting & Conference of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists, Islamabad, December 19-21, 2005. l Khan, M.H. “Agricultural Development and Changes in the Land Tenure and Land Revenue Systems in Pakistan”, In 50 Years of Pakistan's Economy, edited by Shaheen Rafi Khan 1999. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1999. l Khan, M. A., Iqbal, M., Ahmad, I. and Soomro, M. H. “Economic evaluation of pesticide use externalities in the cotton zones of Punjab, Pakistan”, The Pakistan Development Review (2002) Vol. 41, No. 4, Part II. l Mahmood, N. and Jamil, N. A. “Cotton under threat”, The Nation, October 9, 2005. l Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock. “Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan 2004-2005.” Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock (Economic Wing), Islamabad, 2006. Available at: http://www.faorap-apcas.org/pakistan/Agriculture%20Statistics %20of%20Pakistan % 202004-05/index.htm. l Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock. “Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan 2002-03.” Islamabad: Food, Agriculture and Livestock Division (Economic Wing), Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Government of Pakistan, 2004. l Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock. “Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan 1995-96.” Islamabad: Food, Agriculture and Livestock Division (Economic Wing), Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Government of Pakistan, 1996. l “More land for cotton cultivation”, The News, June 6, 2007d. l “Seed mafia playing havoc with cotton economy”, The News, June 4, 2007c. l “Agriculture Department issues guidelines to cotton growers”, Business Recorder, May 6, 2007b. l “Seed cotton arrivals down 0.90 percent.” Business Recorder, January 20, 2007a. l Orden, D., Salam, A., Dewina, R., Nazli, H. and Minot, N. “The Impact of Global Cotton and Wheat Markets on Rural Poverty in Pakistan.” IFPRI, Washington DC, 2006. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Rahim Yar Khan.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000a. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Bahawalpur.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000b. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Lodrhan.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000c. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Vehari.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000d. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Khanewal.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000e. l Population Census Organization. "1998 District Census Report of Rajanpur." Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000f. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Bahawalnagar.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000g. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Multan.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000h. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Muzaffargarh.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000i. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Dera Ghazi Khan.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000j. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Sanghar.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000k. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Ghotki.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000l. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Khairpur.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000m. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Nawabshah.” Statistics

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Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000n. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Hyderabad.” Statistics

Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000o. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of MirpurKhas.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000p. l Population Census Organization. “1998 District Census Report of Naushahro Ferozo.” Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2000q. l Rana, P. I. “Cotton output short by 14.26 per cent.” Dawn, February 4, 2006. l Rao, I. A. “Bt cotton: what the future holds.” Dawn, May 12, 2007. l Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and World Food Programme (WFP). “Food insecurity in rural Pakistan 2003.” Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) Unit, World Food Programme (WFP), Islamabad, 2005. l Siegmann, K. A. “The players in Pakistan's cotton league.” The News, August 5, 2007b, Available at: http://jang.com.pk/thenews/aug2007-weekly/nos-05-08-2007/6. l Siegmann, K. A. “Poverty despite productivity.” The News, July 29, 2007a, Available at: http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2007-weekly/nos-29-07-2007/5. l Siegmann, K. A. and Shaheen, N. “Weakest link in the textile chain-Pakistani cotton pickers after the quota expiry.” Paper submitted to Applied Economics Research Centre (AERC) conference Globalisation: Issues and challenges for Pakistan's economy, 2007. l Siegmann, K. A. and Shehzad, S. “Pakistan's Water Challenges: A Human Development Perspective.” SDPI Working Paper No. 105, Islamabad, 2006. l Sathar, Z. A. “Micro-consequences of High Fertility: The Case of Child Schooling in Rural Pakistan.” In Fertility, Family Size and Structure: Consequences for Families and Children, edited by Cynthia B. Lloyd, 1993. Proceedings of Population Council Seminar, New York 9-10 June, 1992. New York Population Council, New York. l SZABIST. “Report on agriculture in Sindh: issues & options.” SZABIST, Center for Information & research, Karachi, 2001. l Zaidi, A. “Issues in Pakistan's Economy.” Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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Annexure Table A1: In -migration by district, 1998 Migrants Population (% of (thousands) population)

Rural (%)

Origin from Same province (% of migrants)

Punjab Rahim Yar Khan 3,141,050 4.87 Bahawalpur 2,433,090 6.20 Lodhran 1,171,800 5.21 Vehari 2,090,410 12.06 Khanewal 2,068,490 8.16 Rajanpur 1,103,610 1.71 Multan 3,117,000 5.04 Muzaffargarh 2,635,900 4.09 DG Khan 1,643,118 1.46 Sindh Sanghar 1,453,030 3.04 Ghotki 970,550 1.33 Khairpur 1546,590 1.19 Nawabshah 1,071,530 3.49 Hyderabad 2,891,000 3.26 906,000 7.59 Mirpur Khas Naushahro Feroze 1,087,570 0.89 Source: Population Census Organization (2000a-q)

Other province (%)

Other countries (%)

58.86 60.33 74.76 76.17 76.44 63.83 47.05 70.79 58.88

65.00 77.20 69.10 63.80 64.20 68.30 47.90 74.60 52.40

14.10 4.30 1.50 3.60 2.40 14.60 5.80 5.50 31.90

20.90 18.50 29.40 32.60 33.40 16.70 46.30 19.80 15.70

87 19 73 20 23 87 28

44.47 25.12 36.28 45.51 60.94 50.54 41.97

3.20 13.25 11.25 6.30 2.62 11.52 3.10

23.29 17.52 5.91 21.19 20.44 31.50 36.64

Table A2: Area and sources of irrigation in selected cotton-growing districts of Pakistan, 1998 (ha) District Total area Canal irrigation Tube well irrigation Well irrigation (number) (number) (number) Punjab Rahim Yar Khan 1,188,000 (623) Bahawalpur 2,483,000 (5) (1,590) Lodhran 179,000 217,407 (2) Vehari 436,400 454,000 (2 main) 23,000 (9,282) Khanewal 434,900 65740 (1 main) 193453 (11,577) 7,000 Rajanpur 1,231,800 (3) Multan 372,000 11,000 410,000 (12,270) 4,000 Muzaffargarh 824,900 (3) (18,373) DG Khan 1,192,200 (3 main) Sindh Sanghar 1,072,800 (6) Ghotki 608,300 (1 main) Khairpur 1,591,000 (3) Nawab shah 450,200 (2 main) Hyderabad 551,900 (7) Mirpur Khas 292,500 (2 main) Naushahro Feroze 294,500 (2 main) Source: Population Census Organization (2000a-q)

104

Table A3a: Adult literacy and enrolment in rural areas of cotton growing districts in Punjab, 2004/05 (%) RY Khan B’pur Vehari Female literacy 17 19 22 Male literacy 44 44 51 Girls' net enrolment rate primary (6-10) 39 39 56 Boys' net enrolment rate primary (6-10) 49 46 59 Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics (2006a)

M’garh 11 44

Lodhran 13 45

Kh’wal 26 58

Punjab 24 56

33

33

53

57

Nepal: Trade vis-à-vis Political Dependency1

51

54

63

66

Shiv Raj Bhatt

Table A3b: Adult literacy and enrolment in rural areas of cotton growing districts in Sindh, 2004/05 (%) Sanghar 12 59

Ghotki 17 67

Female literacy Male literacy Girls' ne t enrolment rate primary (6-10) 31 48 Boys' net enrolment 51 66 rate primary (6-10) Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics (2006a)

Kh’pur 20 64

N’shah 9 52

H’bad 15 60

Sindh 14 54

Pakistan 24 56

41

22

33

33

49

61

51

51

52

62

N

epal's trade, both exports and imports, has been heavily concentrated on a single country—India—and a few primary products. Political and economic risks associated with such a heavy dependence have been realised by Nepal's policymakers since long. To overcome risks and vulnerabilities associated with such dependence and to achieve high growth, export diversification2 was considered the primary goal of Nepal's development strategy.3 Accordingly, various measures were introduced to diversify the Nepalese economy and trade. The most important were Exporters' Exchange Entitlement Scheme (EEE scheme),4 Dual Exchange Rate (DER) system,5 duty exemption on export commodities, special financial arrangement for production and export, simplification of licensing and customs procedures, introduction of new industry and trade related acts, establishment of special economic zones, among others (Poudyal 1988, SAWTEE 2006). Another instrument adopted by the government to diversify trade (or expand its market access opportunities) is global and regional integration of the economy.6 After 1980, a few manufactured products that did not require sophisticated technology, such as readymade garments, carpets and pashmina emerged as Nepal's promising export sectors and since then dominated Nepal's export basket. However, growth in exports of these products was largely due to a specific niche, specialty market (carpet, pashmina) and quotas (garments), rather than the government's export diversification strategy and Nepal's comparative strength in these products. As a result of quota phase out (decline in garment export), and Nepal's achievements in diversifying export products and destination were once again in the question mark. Export diversification is thus still an unfinished agenda for Nepal, trade dependency remains a serious challenge and is one of the factors contributing to Nepal's political dependency. The Context Nepal is a relatively open economy in South Asia with trade to GDP ratio at about 50 percent; average tariff rate is about 14 percent, and there is almost no quantitative restriction on trade (MOICS 2004). During the last 50 years, Nepal's trade sector displayed a mixed performance; annual growth of both exports and imports remained more or less positive. In the fiscal year (FY) 1956/57, Nepal's exports and imports was only 95.5 and 169.9 million rupees respectively, which increased to 60074.8 and 162840.7 million rupees respectively in 2005/06. After 2000, both exports and imports have shown positive growth rates except in FY 2001/02, when they declined by 19.0 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively. The growth of imports has remained

105

106

higher than that of exports; as a result Nepal's trade deficit has continuously increased (see figure 1). Figure (1): Trade Balance of Nepal 200000

Nepal's Trade Dependency Problem Nepal traded with more than 100 countries (imports from 101 and exports to 85 countries) in thousands of products in 2004-05 (TEPC, Overseas Trade Statistics, 2005/06). But a few countries and products constitute a large share in Nepal's export (see Tables 1, 2 and 3).

150000

50000

2004/ 05

2001/ 02

1998/99

1995/96

1992/ 93

1989/ 90

1986/87

1983/84

1980/ 81

1977/ 78

1974/75

1971/72

1968/ 69

1965/ 66

1962/63

1959/60

-50000

Table (1): Nepal’s Major Trading Partners 1956/ 57

Million Ru p ees

100000

0

-100000

-150000

Exports

Import

Trade balance

Continuingly rising trade deficit has been one of the frequently discussed topics among Nepal's policymakers and trade analysts and export diversification/promotion and import substitution are the policy prescriptions provided by most of them to narrow down trade deficit. Following their prescriptions, the government of Nepal adopted various measures to promote and diversify exports (Poudyal 1988, SAWTEE 2006). As a result, Nepal's trade with overseas countries started to expand, especially after the mid 1960s. However, progress in export diversification has been very low and Nepal's trade dependence, in terms of both products and countries, is still very high. India still occupies a two-third share in Nepal's exports and three countries (USA, Germany and UK) occupy two-third shares in its overseas exports. Similarly, a few primary commodities still occupy large shares in Nepal's exports basket (Table 2 and 3). Economic and political risks associated with heavy dependence on a few commodities and countries are hotly debated issues among policymakers, academics and trade analysts in Nepal. It was felt that heavy dependence on a narrow base of export products to an equally narrow set of market destinations potentially makes the economy vulnerable to external shocks (SAWTEE 2006). Therefore, diversification of export portfolio has been considered a primary goal of national development strategies and trade policies in Nepal. Despite weaknesses related to infrastructure and productivity, various studies show Nepal as a potentially competitive country across a range of labour intensive manufacturing and agricultural goods and services sectors (MOICS 2004, SAWTEE 2006). On the other hand, despite Nepal's continuous efforts (of more than four decades) to diversify export basket, the situation largely remained unchanged.

107

Therefore, it is now necessary to initiate an integrated approach based on three basic components, viz. identification of products with comparative advantage; formulation and implementation of sector development strategies and, development of a negotiation strategy in bilateral and multilateral forums (SAWTEE 2006).

Export (as % of total export) S. N. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Countries India U.S.A Germany U.K Italy France Sub Total

2001/02

2002/03

(2003/04)

59.00 19.79 8.53 1.71 1.20 1.00

52.85 25.37 7.11 2.14 1.06 0.91

57.05 17.97 6.61 3.11 1.08 1.09

2004/05 66.89 12.84 5.29 1.78 1.04 0.99 88.83

2005/06 68.30 11.60 4.70 2.00 1.20 2.20 90.0

91.23 89.44 86.91 11.17 10.00 8.77 10.56 13.09 Note: NR=Not in the rank in that particular year Source: Compiled from Overseas Trade Statistics(various issues), Trade and Export Promotion Centre, Nepal. Other Countries

Table 1 reveals that Nepal's export is heavily concentrated with India and a few other countries (US, Germany and the UK). The top six countries constitute 90 percent of Nepal's exports in 2005/06. A declining share (though marginal, from 91.23 percent in 2001-2002 to 86.91 percent in 2003-2004) of export trade with major trading partners indicates the possibility of further diversification of trade in the future. However, in recent years, re-concentration of Nepal's export in India has largely eroded such possibilities (see figure 2). In FY 2005/06, 68.3 percent of Nepal's goods were exported to India, while India's products occupied 67.1 percent of Nepal's total imports. These figures would be even more staggering if informal trade across the porous India-Nepal border were documented.8 For example, Nepal's total export to India is around US$ 321 million in 2000/2001, among which US$ 141 million (43.9 percent) is informal (Taneja 2007). Similarly, informal imports constitute 52.8 percent in Nepal's total import from India (ibid.). Product-wise too Nepal's export is heavily concentrated in a few items, most of which do not have comparative and competitive advantages. Nepal's main exports to India are vegetable ghee, polyester yarn, jute goods, zinc sheets, textiles and threads (Table 2). Nepal's top ten export commodities to India constitute more than 50 percent of Nepal's total export to India in recent years.

108

Table (3): Share of top 10 commodities in overseas export (percent)

Figure (2): Re-concentration of Nepal's Trade with India Nepal's trade with India (as % of total)

Commodities

100

2004/05

2005/06+

41.28

30.95

29.94

80

Woollen Carpet Pashmina

22.64 4.93

24.54 4.60

29.66 5.31

28.91 8.22

70

Handicraft ( Metal and Wooden )

1.50

2.71

3.26

1.67

60

Silverware and Jewelleries

1.48

1.59

1.84

1.51

50

Nepali Paper & Paper Products

1.11

1.21

1.21

1.22

40

Tanned Skin

0.97

1.34

1.19

1.51

30

Pulses Tea

0.91 0.19

1.21 0.49

0.54 0.54

1.00 0.55

20

Herbs

10

Total share of above commodities 2004/05

2002/03

2000/01

1998/99

1996/97

1994/95

1992/93

1990/91

1988/89

1986/87

198 4/85

198 2/83

1980/81

197 8/79

Imports 1976/77

1974/75

197 2/73

1966/6 7

1964/65

1962/6 3

1960/61

1958/59

1956/57

1968/6 9 1970/71

Export

0

Table (2): Share of top 10 commodities in total export to India Commodities Ghee (Vegetable) Polyester Yarn Jute Goods Zinc sheet Textiles Thread Wire Readymade garment Juice Chemicals Share of above 10 commodities

2002/03 14.42 2.49 7.19 3.67 3.32 4.67 0.57 1.51 2.27 0.56 40.68

2003/04 9.61 3.62 6.12 9.05 5.79 5.32 2.31 2.04 2.56 1.98 48.39

2004/05 11.91 4.87 6.92 4.27 7.70 5.69 3.14 0.94 2.80 3.62 51.87

2005/06+ 9.98 8.24 6.54 5.92 5.08 4.53 3.71 2.84 2.66 2.63 52.13

Note:+ First 11 months only. Source: Nepal Rastra Bank.

Nepal's overseas exports are also heavily concentrated in three main items: readymade garments (52.85 percent), woollen carpets (24.2 percent) and woollen/pashmina goods (7 percent).9 Though the share of these three commodities in Nepal's overseas export has declined in recent years, yet their share is still more than two-thirds of the total exports. The top 10 export items constitute nearly 75 percent of Nepal's overseas export (Table 3). Table 3 also shows that the phasing out of quota system10 share of major export item (garment) in Nepal's overseas exports is declining continuingly in recent years. Nepal depends on India for trade and economic activities because it is landlocked and does not have access to the sea. The Indo-Nepal treaty, renewed every five years, allows tariff-free movement of agricultural goods between the two countries. Nepalese manufactured goods are also granted tariff-free entry to India, while Indian manufactured goods enjoy preferential access to Nepal. The treaty also allows free movement of labour and payment between the two countries. Nepal's historic

109

2003/04

50.59

90

S.N. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

2002/03

Readymade Garments

0.14

0.21

0.28

0.07

84.46

79.18

74.76

74.61

Note: + First 11 months only. Source: Nepal Rastra Bank.

dependency of trade on India has created a national economic policy that is highly reactive to the prevailing social, economic and political conditions of India. This heavy dependency on India makes Nepal's economy vulnerable to unfair or unfavourable economic and trade practices of India. Compared to the significance of Indian exports and imports for Nepal's trade makeup, Nepalese exports and imports have a much lower significance to India. In FY 2004/05, Nepal made up less than one percent of India's total imports and exports (SAWTEE 2006). Furthermore, while Nepal exports raw materials and goods to India, it imports processed goods of higher quality and price from India. Beside India, the US, Germany and the UK are Nepal's three major trade partners, together occupying more than two thirds of Nepal's overseas export. In terms of commodities too, Nepal's export is heavily concentrated in a few products. Few agricultural commodities (mainly vegetable ghee, jute goods, and pulses) are dominant in Nepal's exports to India. Overseas exports are also heavily concentrated in a few products. Export Diversification Initiatives in Nepal: An Overview Nepal adopted export diversification and import substitution strategies since the third five year plan (1965-70). This two pronged foreign trade strategy of Nepal was meant to narrow down the huge trade deficit, promote industrialisation and help diversify the economy. Various measures were introduced to diversify the Nepali economy and trade. The most important were Exporters' Exchange Entitlement (EEE) scheme, dual exchange rate (DER) system, duty exemption on export commodities, special financial arrangement for production and export, simplification of licensing and customs procedures, and introduction of new industry and trade related acts, among others (Poudyal 1988, SAWTEE 2006). After 1980, a few manufactured products that did not require sophisticated technology, such as readymade garments, carpets and pashmina, dominated Nepal's export basket. However, growth in these products' export was largely attributed to a specific niche, specialty market (carpet, pashmina) and quotas (garments), rather than government's export diversification strategy and comparative strengths in these

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products (SAWTEE 2006). Trade vis-Ă -vis Political Dependency of Nepal The landlocked position of the country (three sides bordered with India), traditional business and trade relationship with India, open border with unrestricted movement of capital, labour and payment between the two countries and relatively good transportation links, among others, are the main factors behind this high trade dependency (SAWTEE 2006). Heavy trade dependency of Nepal, however, is directly associated with Nepal's political dependency11 and also constrains its decisive power to settle the internal problems domestically. Cross country visits of political leaders, from and to the most important trading countries, most frequently India and less frequently the US take place before any major political change in Nepal. Most of Nepal's political leaders rely on Indian political power centres for their internal or inter party decisions, while a few groups also rely on the US (second largest trade partner of Nepal) for these matters. In the present political setting of Nepal, the dominance of China12 and other countries is, however, very negligible. Prospects for Export Diversification As mentioned before, despite Nepal's efforts to diversity trade, its export continues to be dependent on a few products and destinations. Poor infrastructure, unfriendly investment climate and inadequate mechanisms and incentives for firms to acquire new technology, contribute to low price competitiveness and productivity in the economy (MOICS 2004). In addition, Nepal's rigid labour markets discourage investment and employment in the formal sector, inadequate bankruptcy and foreclosure provisions raise the costs of reallocation of factors of production to more productive uses, weak transport and transactions delays, and an unpredictable regulatory framework further raise the production costs (ibid.). Despite such weaknesses, Nepal has demonstrated its competitiveness across a range of labour intensive manufacturing and agricultural goods (MOICS 2004), and in various services sectors (Bhatt 2005, SAWTEE 2006).

(cardamom and ginger), leather and leather products (hides, skins, blue chromes), hand-knotted wool carpets, polyester yarns, garment and pashmina, niger seeds, stone carved Buddha statues, specialty teas, and fragrant grasses and oils sub-sectors as "areas of opportunity" for Nepal. Similarly, Industrial Development Perspective Plan: Vision 2020, Industrial Sector Profiles and Cross-Sector Issues (UNIDO 2002) mentioned lentils, spices seeds; leather and leather products; fibres, yarn, and textiles; apparel and clothing; cardamom and ginger; niger seeds, hides, skins and wet blue chromes, carpets, and pashmina as the products/sectors where Nepal has comparative advantage. A similar report prepared by Global Development Solutions, LLCTM (Asian Development Bank 2004) has identified some additional dynamic prospects for future export growth that includes sets of goods in arts and crafts, jewellery, specialised and origin branded foodstuffs (honey, tea, coffee), and handmade papers. The studies mentioned above provide a good picture of Nepal's comparative advantage products. Unfortunately, all these studies emphasised only agriculture and manufacturing sectors, while they ignored the services sectors. Available data on services trade shows that Nepal has tremendous potential in various services trade, particularly related to the tourism industry, software, education and health services, and trading of mode 4 services (Bhatt 2005; SAWTEE 2006). The study conducted by SAWTEE identified tea, medicinal herbs and leather as export potential sectors that have strong backward linkages; raw materials used in the sectors are produced domestically and there is much room for value addition. Moreover, these products require low skill and unsophisticated technology; the ratio of women employed in these sectors is significant compared to other industries. In addition, these products have the potential to generate employment opportunities in rural areas, where human development is much lower. Since tea production is entirely concentrated in eastern Nepal, leather production is more concentrated in central Nepal and the production and processing of herbs is concentrated in high mountains and western Nepal, it is claimed that the promotion of these three sectors will also lead to a geographically balanced development of the country.

A Review of Past Studies The Nepalese government, the private sector and some donor agencies have conducted various studies to identify sectors with comparative advantage for Nepal. The theory of comparative advantage suggests that it is beneficial for a country to specialise in products over which it has the highest comparative advantage against the rest of the world. However, in practice, quantifying comparative advantage is a difficult task as it depends on a host of variables. Generally speaking, it is understood that in Nepal's case, the presence of abundant labour—mostly unemployed and of working age—makes it a low cost factor of production. It is usually deduced that the country possess comparative advantage in labour-intensive industries. However, low labour costs alone are not sufficient; labour productivity, which measures the amount of input required to produce a good, is required to evaluate Nepal's comparative advantage in labour intensive industries.

The same study also suggests that various services (particularly related to travel and tourism and ICT, especially software development) have huge export potentiality; these services, therefore, can be a large source of income for Nepal. In Nepal, the travel industry accounted for 65.9 percent of Nepal's total service exports in 2003. The Himalayas, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural diversity provide Nepal with a natural advantage in the tourism industry. Tourism services can stimulate development through employment generation and foreign exchange earnings. In addition, the industry has a high multiplier effect and positive spill-over effects. The industry also generates a higher proportion of women employment. In Nepal's case, tourism also has the potential to aid rural development and contribute towards preservation of historic, natural and cultural sites.

Nepal Trade and Competitiveness Study (MOICS 2004) identified lentils, spices

Similarly, even though the current level of export in ICT services is not very

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remarkable, there are tremendous opportunities for outsourcing in geographically isolated landlocked countries like Nepal, especially when a majority of the educated people have working knowledge of English. Moreover, many ICT services like web design, data entry, coding, computer programming are highly labour intensive and, therefore, can significantly contribute in the promotion of human development in labour abundant countries. In Nepal, a few ICT related services are already showing promising signs of growth, such as the establishment of some outsourcing companies. In addition to a contribution towards exports earnings, ICT ventures can act as training ground for entrepreneurs and as a medium for transfer of technology. ICT related services increase the efficiency of other sectors of the economy and make it possible for Nepali entrepreneurs to compete internationally. As the Nepali economy modernises, demand for home-grown software and hardware will increase. In this context, it is essential to develop ICT services not only for foreign earnings and employment, but also to enhance the efficiency of other sectors of the economy. On the basis of the above facts it can be said that Nepal possesses huge potential to diversify its export trade across the varieties of goods and services. However, given the increasingly competitive global economy, Nepal will have to make significant efforts to improve its competitiveness by removing a number of supply side constraints, including weaknesses related to infrastructure, policy, governance, inter agency coordination and cooperation. Conclusion High trade dependency, in terms of both markets and products, has been a matter of great concern for policymakers due to the political and economic risks associated with such dependence. It is argued that trade dependence on a narrow base of export products to an equally narrow set of market destinations potentially makes an economy extremely vulnerable to external shocks. Hence, diversification to nontraditional, manufactured goods and services has been considered a primary goal of national development strategies in many low-income countries, including Nepal. The government had initiated and implemented various plans and policies such as the five year plans, agricultural perspective plan, industrial, investment and trade policies to diversify the economy and trade. Though there have been some achievements in diversifying the economy and trade, they are far below expectations. Weaknesses in the plans/policies and in their implementation are blamed for the unsatisfactory results. The most important weaknesses are implementation of plans and policies in an uncoordinated manner; weak links between various sector plans and policies with overall national plans; lack of monitoring and evaluation system; weak public private partnership; lack of sector development strategies and weak institutional capacities for marketing and research a development, among others. In this context, an appropriate strategy is necessary to diversify Nepal's export in order to help the country overcome vulnerabilities associated with high trade dependency, and to promote economic growth. Therefore, the government needs to intensify the programmes on export promotion and diversification with maximum priority and explore areas of public private partnership and cooperation. A few actions

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to be undertaken for a successful export diversification can be: (i) identification of export potential products/sectors, (ii) preparation and implementation of sector development plans/programmes, (iii) formulation and implementation of sector development strategy for key advantageous sectors/products, (iv) mobilisation of diplomatic missions for export promotion, (v) enhanced efforts to increase public private partnership and inter-governmental partnership/coordination and (v) development of a negotiation strategy in bilateral and multilateral forums with the active partnership of private sector and civil society. Mr. Bhatt is a Trade Policy Analyst at the UNDP supported "Enhancing Nepal's Trade Related Capacity Project" under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Government of Nepal. Views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily represent UNDP or the government of Nepal. Endnotes 1. Parts of this paper are drawn from the research study entitled, "Export Diversification Strategy for Nepal: An Account of Sectors with Export Potential", South Asia Watch on Trade, Environment and Economics (SAWTEE) and ActionAid Nepal with the support of UNDP Regional Centre in Colombo. The author was the lead researcher in the study. 2. Many empirical studies find that export diversification contributes positively to economic growth (Herzer and Felicitas, 2004 and UNESCAP, 2004). 3. Nepal adopted export diversification and import substitution strategy since the third five year plan (1965-70). This two pronged foreign trade strategy of Nepal was meant to narrow down the huge trade deficit, promote industrialisation and help diversify the economy. 4. The exporters were entitled to use certain portions of their export earnings for the purpose of importing otherwise restricted products. 5. Exchange rate was fixed higher for exporters than the of normal market rate. 6. Nepal joined the WTO in April 2004 as its 147th member country, and became a contracting party of the Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). 7. Represents Nepali Rupees throughout this paper. 8. For details see Karmacharya, 1999; Taneja et al., 2002 and Taneja, 2007. 9. Trade Promotion Centre, Nepal Overseas Trade Statistics (2004/05). 10. Gradual phase out of WTO's Agreement on Textile and Clothing affected Nepal's garment industry negatively. 11. It can also be said that Nepal's political dependency on India might be one of the major contributing factors in Nepal's trade dependency with India. 12. China's influence in Nepal's political affairs was very significant pre-1990. Bibliography l Bhatt, Shiv Raj. "How Nepal could benefit from trade in education." The Himalayan Times, Kathmandu, November 18, 2005(a). l Bhatt, Shiv Raj. "Service Trade Liberalization under WTO: Implications and Strategies for Nepal." Research report prepared for Nepal Window II Trade Related Capacity Building Programme, UNDP/HMG Nepal, December 2005 (b). l Bhatt, Shiv Raj. "Nepal’s WTO Membership: Opportunities and Challenges." South Asian Journal (April-June 2006a) Vol. 12, South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) . l Bhatt, Shiv Raj. "Services under SAFTA: How to Make It Work for South Asia?" South Asian Journal (October-December 2006b) Vol. 14. l ESCAP, UN. "Export Diversification and Economic Growth: The Experience of Selected Least Developed Countries. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific."

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United Nations, Development Paper No. 24, 2004. l Herzer, Dierk and Nowark-Lehmann D., Felicitas. What Does Export Diversification Do for

Growth? An Econometric Analysis, Georg August Universitat, Gottingen, August 2004. l Humphrey, John and Oetero, Antje. Strategies for Diversification and Adding Value to

Food Exports: A Value Chain Perspective. UNCTAD November, 2000. l IFSD. "An Analytical Study of Basic Social Services in Nepal." Institute for Sustainable

Development, NPC/UNICEF, 2006. l Karmacharya, B.K. Informal Trade in Nepal and their implications for South Asian Free

Trading Arrangements. International Development Centre for Japan, 1999. l MOF (various years). Economic Survey, Ministry of Finance, Government of Nepal. l MOICS. "Nepal Trade and Competitiveness Study". Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies - Government of Nepal, 2004. l NPC, Eight, Ninth and Tenth Plans, National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal. l NRB (various years), Quarterly Economic Bulletin, Nepal Rastra Bank, Kathmandu. l Poudyal, S.R. Foreign Trade, Aid and Development in Nepal. Commonwealth Publication, New Delhi, India, 1988. l SAWTEE. Export Diversification Strategy for Nepal: An Account of Sectors with Export Potential. A research report submitted to UNDP regional Centre in Colombo. SAWTEE: Kathmandu, 2006. l Taneja, N., Sorvananthan M., Karmacharya, B.K. and Rohit S. Informal Trade in South Asian Region: A Case Study of India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. SANEI: New Delhi, 2002. l Taneja, Nisha. "Formalising informal trade flows in South Asia." Trade Insight, (2007) Vol. 3, No. 1. South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment. l TEPC (various years), Nepal Overseas Trade Statistics, Trade and Export Promotion Centre, Kathmandu, Nepal. l UNCTAD. Diversification in Commodity-Dependent Countries: The Role of Governments, Enterprises and Institutions, UNCTAD September, 1997. l UNESCAP. "Export Diversification and Economic Growth: The Experience of Selected Least Developed Countries." UNESCAP, 2004. Development Paper No. 24.

“Public-Private Partnerships” in Education Dr Pauline Rose

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he term “public-private partnership” (PPP) has become popular in international policy debates over the last decade. While more caution has been taken in adopting a PPP approach in basic education compared with other basic service delivery (including health, water and sanitation), it is being increasingly considered as a possible strategy to assist countries in reaching their “Education for All” goals. As the paper illustrates, the term “PPP” is narrow and does not fully reflect the range of actors involved in education provision (which go beyond conventional “for profit” private providers). In addition, as others have highlighted, the term “partnership” is often used as short-hand (or a euphemism) for complex forms of relationships between the state and non-state sectors. As such, the paper prefers to adopt less restrictive terminology of non-state/state relationships, which both allows for consideration of different types of actors, as well as of interactions which would not always be classified in terms of “partnership”.1 The paper focuses on primary schooling, where education is commonly understood as a fundamental right, as well as important for human and social development (Colclough 1996; Hannum and Buchmann 2005). State provision of primary schooling has commonly been justified on the grounds that there would be underinvestment if left to the market. At the heart of this justification is the notion of education as a “public good” given that benefits of educational investment not only accrue to individuals through enhanced life opportunities but also have positive contributions to society at large (Colclough 1996). These benefits include contributions to economic growth through increased productivity in the labour market, as well as “externalities” in terms of reduced fertility, improved health etc. However, recent interest in non-state provision internationally has occurred in recognition that the state has been unable to fulfil its role in extending access of appropriate quality to all children in the context of the Education for All (EFA) agenda since the 1990s. As emphasis has been placed on expanding access to primary schooling including through fee abolition, private provision at relatively low fee levels has grown to fill the gap. In addition, in some countries, NGOs, faith-based and philanthropic associations also play a role in supporting education provision to those underserved by the government system. Roles and Scope of Non-State Providers Non-State Providers (NSPs) have a long history of educational service delivery in many developing countries. These include the activities of missionaries and other

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faith based organisations, those of not-for-profit community and international NGOs often focusing on under-served areas, and those of for-profit private institutions catering to domestic elites. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, NSPs were established prior to mass public education (Peano 1997). In many of these countries education systems were nationalised. However, in practice this was untenable and, by the 1980s, in the context of economic liberalisation more generally, governments began to recognise and tolerate their existence again, and sometimes actively encourage their role in provision.Private/non-state provision of education has been defined as: “all formal schools that are not public, and may be founded, owned, managed and financed by actors other than the state, even in cases when the state provides most of the funding and has considerable control over these schools (teachers, curriculum, accreditations etc)” (Kitaev 1999, 43). This definition highlights the complexity of distinguishing between private/public spheres in education, with different arrangements possible in relation to provision/financing/regulation. Even where schools are owned and managed by the private sector, they are often subsidised by the government who pays the costs of curriculum development, inspection, examinations, and teacher training. In most cases, the state attempts to maintain some control over all education institutions (both private and public) through regulation. “Actors other than the state” may include NGOs, faith-based organisations, communities and commercially-oriented private entrepreneurs, each with different motives for their involvement in education. In recent years, attention is being paid to the role that non-state providers are and could play in scaling up service delivery, particularly to those under-served by the government system. This raises an issue of how to identify “underserved groups”. In the context of this paper, the term is adopted to mean those for whom access to affordable government services of appropriate quality is most problematic. This raises important questions about assessment of “appropriate quality”, which cannot be easily identified in the context of education (UNESCO 2005a). For the purposes of this paper, quality is understood from the perspective of those potentially using the service. This includes low income households not sending children to government schools on the grounds of their perceptions of poor quality, and so “choosing” private schools. Consideration is also given to the “underserved” in terms of those unable to access government-provided primary education due to supply-side constraints. In the education context, “underserved” also raises issues of other forms of exclusion (gender, street children, pastoralists, indigenous groups, language, faith, disability, refugees, etc.) (Sayed and Subrahmanian 2003; UNESCO 2004). These forms of exclusion may interact with income-related poverty, but can also result in children not being able to go to school for socio-cultural reasons etc. (Colclough et al. 2003). Despite the attention, in most countries the government is the main provider of education, with private providers filling the gap in poor quality government provision (meeting excess demand); NGOs, philanthropic associations and communities providing access to those unable to access the government system (due to insufficient or inappropriate supply), and religious organisations meeting differentiated demand.

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Some non-state providers provide access to schooling opportunities for the poor, either explicitly as part of the design of their programme or by default, in response to excess demand to which the government is unable to respond. Private providers of basic education in many developing countries offer services across a wide spectrum of fee levels. These include not only schools serving elite populations, but also ones charging relatively low fees which those on relatively low incomes can afford. In many contexts, there appears to be a mushrooming of unregistered private schools of this kind, which operate without any engagement with the state. Such schools are usually small scale (often with fewer pupils, teachers and space compared with nearby government schools), and owned by individual proprietors. Unless government provides financial support in the form of direct grants to schools or via voucher schemes, there is little incentive for schools to register; governments, however, often do not have the capacity to ensure that they do.2 Even where low-fee private schools have been expanding, in most contexts government remains the main provider. The growth in private provision of this kind appears to have occurred to a greater extent in Pakistan than other countries, although this is in a context where overall enrolment remains low raising questions of whether the private sector can extend to those not currently in school (both in terms of whether private providers will be willing to open schools in more remote areas, as well as whether the population below a particular income threshold would be able to afford even their relatively low fees). With respect to NGO provision, ministries of education usually do not have information on the scope or scale of their activities giving rise to concerns in some contexts that these are uncoordinated, and potentially overlapping. Given that NGOs most often aim to provide access to pockets of children most difficult to reach, the overall scale within countries is usually small relative to government provision (for example, in Bangladesh, where NGO provision is understood to be more widespread than many other contexts, it is estimated to be 8 percent of total primary enrolment). Non-State/State Relationships in Providing Education There are a variety of ways in which state and non-state roles intersect to provide education. Regardless of the formality of the relationship (with formal agreements often expressed in terms of “public-private partnership” particularly apparent where there is a transfer of financial resources and/or management responsibilities to the non-state sector), there are frequently informal relationships that take place between non-state providers and the state.3 With respect to formal relationships, there are limited examples of direct government contracting of non-state providers for primary school provision. However, a few cases of this are apparent where donors channel funds through government to support NGO provision (for example, the UNICEF-supported Basic Education for Hard to Reach Urban Working Children programme in Bangladesh). In India, the “Alternative and Innovative Education” (AIE) strategy in the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Universalisation of Elementary Education Programme) provides the opportunity for states to contract to NGOs to cater for those that the government is unable to reach. There are also examples where NGOs provide support to state schools without taking over the overall

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management, with the primary responsibility for delivery remaining with the state. This form of “partnership” is often termed “school adoption” or “school improvement”, and can range from NGOs providing support to physical facilities to more on-going support to improving teaching and management in government schools. A recent development in public-private partnership arrangements is “contract schools” which remain publicly owned and funded, but are managed by the private sector in exchange for a management fee. Again, there are no examples of these in the sub-Saharan Africa context, and few in low-income countries more generally (World Bank 2002). These schools have been found to be controversial in countries where they have arisen (Patrinos 2005). Within public education institutions there may be contracting-out to private companies of some aspects of the service (for example, education management services, quality assurance services etc.) (Pampallis 2004). The private sector may also be involved in education through the supply of educational inputs to both private and public schools including publication of textbooks and other learning materials, building schools and other infrastructure, running student hostels etc. (World Bank 2002). Voucher schemes are viewed as an alternative approach to public-private private partnerships, where government provides some of the funds to support provision, giving parents the choice of whether to send their children to private or government schools. Voucher schemes are advocated on the grounds of allowing parents and students to choose between different types of schools, where vouchers can be redeemed to help offset all or part of the cost at either public or private schools (World Bank 2002). It is suggested that vouchers can help to encourage innovation and—through promoting competition and choice—improve efficiency in both public and private schools (Patrinos 2005). Vouchers are more common in relatively developed systems, including examples in Latin America, but there are extremely few examples of these in low-income countries. The recent experience of vouchers in Pakistan is an exception, although in this case, financial incentives are given to households rather than vouchers. As such, these seem to resemble stipend programmes that are in place in other contexts (for example, in Bangladesh). Higher proportions of private enrolment are reported to be evident in countries where voucher schemes are in operation (UNESCO 2005b). However, there are very few rigorous evaluations of voucher schemes in developing countries (Kremer 2003). Private tutoring is widespread in some countries, occurring most frequently in urban areas. Some tutors specialise in this activity and take it on as a full-time occupation, but more often it is undertaken by teachers employed in the public sector working outside school hours to earn extra income. In some societies, this type of work is an economic necessity because teachers' salaries are very low (Bray 2003). However, private tuition is extremely difficult to regulate and there are extremely limited opportunities for the state to develop a relationship with private tutors.

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Figure 1: Responsibilities of state and non-state sectors in education provision Competition? Choice? Cost-effectiveness? Comparative advantage?

State

Inclusion Quality Equity Innovation Curriculum Assessment Policy Non-state Regulation Contracting Accountability Funding Management

In summary, definitions of non-state providers indicate a blurring of boundaries between state and non-state responsibilities, with implications for different ways in which the sectors might interact in service delivery (Figure 1). While the state commonly maintains control of curriculum, assessment, policy design and regulation, NSPs support to state service provision can range from supporting the supply of inputs, management, and associated services to non-state management and running of government schools, as well as their independent establishment of non-state schools. Depending on the roles that the non-state sector plays (and the type of nonstate provider involved), a different relationship with the state can develop, ranging from informal to formal contractual arrangements. This also has implications for the role that the two sectors play in policy dialogue, forms of regulation, management and financial contributions (see Rose 2006). This, in turn, raises questions of whether the state and non-state sectors are seen to be in competition with each other, or whether their roles can be complementary, with implications that their relationship has for inclusion, equity, quality and innovation of provision. International Perspectives on State/Non-State Relationships As indicated at the outset of the paper, the EFA agenda has led to growing attention towards non-state provisions even though the World Declarations on EFA expressed at both Jomtien and Dakar are relatively silent about this (see Rose 2007b). More generally, the global governance agenda questions the need for direct state provision of basic services i.e. promoting a view that, while it is important to ensure schooling is available to all, this could be achieved through the support of different providers rather than necessarily through state provision, although the state generally continues to be seen as provider of last resort (World Bank 2002). Given that NSPs are potentially contributing to the achievement of government goals associated with EFA, questions arise of the ways in which government can collaborate with these providers,

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in particular to ensure that children underserved by state provision are not denied access to a basic education. Recent interest in non-state provision in basic service delivery has emerged from views related to comparative advantage (and disadvantage) of different potential providers, with categorisations of these in terms of: l Governments: seen to be monolithic, intrusive, clumsy and bloated; critics call for downsizing, contracting out and business-like practices. l Markets: understood to allocate resources most effectively and provide least-cost solutions most responsively. However, seen as hard-edged and uncaring, favouring private over societal interests. l NGOs: viewed as softer and kind hearted, able to mobilise voluntary effort, linked to communities, and value-driven (although with concerns about their accountability). “These popular stereotypes provoke calls for changes that favour one sector over the others, and underestimate extent to which the three sectors interact” (Brinkerhoff and Brinkerhoff 2002). However, these authors continue by noting that “a deeper view of the governance landscape exposes the connections and linkages among all three sectors, and emphasizes [sic] not simply their differences but their interrelationships”. This gives rise to the current interest in “partnerships”, which the authors identify in terms of mutual trust, accountability and responsibility; as well as mutual influence on the means and ends of provision. As such, this suggests a focus on collaborative arrangements aimed at promoting complementarities, rather than competition. Such arrangements imply that the partners agree on the public policy goal and play different roles in achieving it, sharing in the risks (and benefits). Even so, international agency perspectives vary and many agencies are not explicit about whether, when and how they support non-state provision, or PPPs. This could be attributed to a concern that the promotion of the role of non-state providers is often associated with an ideological debate about the role of the state, in which many international agencies are understandably cautious about getting involved. However, the recent World Bank Education Sector Strategy Update has become more open in viewing the state's role as one of service deliverer and funder, rather than necessarily provider, noting that:

apparent, proposes a need for a strong role to be played by the state: “In most successful countries, states are the main provider of services. Even when there is a large degree of provision by the private sector, this works only when there is strong co-ordination, financing and regulation by government.” (Oxfam International 2006. Emphasis added). Even where there has been increased attention to NSPs internationally, in practice the expansion of non-state provision has been taking place in a policy vacuum in many contexts. National government education plans often appear nervous to discuss the role that NSPs play in primary education, for fear that government may be criticised for not fulfilling its responsibility in basic service delivery. Moreover, where governments face capacity constraints in providing education, it is very likely that they face constraints in registering and regulating providers that emerge to fill gaps. As such, much of the provision is not formally recognised. Such constraints are apparent in Faisalabad (Pakistan), as expressed in the Faisalabad Strategic Plan which notes that private schools are expected to register with education department but there is: l no systematic assessment of their current contribution or growth; l no strategy of how to integrate them within an overall system of planning for the

education sector; l little capacity to properly record information on them.

With respect to NGOs, the Faisalabad Strategic Plan indicates that while NGOs play an important role in filling a gap in provision, and mobilising and empowering communities around basic service delivery, they face problems in scaling up, and difficulties in establishing effective linkages with government: “The Department [sic] does not always know which agencies are working in the area and what the contribution of each agency is in the education sector in Faisalabad.” The difficulties faced in Faisalabad are by no means unique. The latter issue—of NGOs establishing effective linkages with government—reiterates the point made by Brinkerhoff and Brinkerhoff, and will be considered further below.

“Although the [World] Bank does not support tuition fees at the primary level, private provision is often as good as, if not better than, public provision, and governments can subsidize private schools by paying teachers' salaries [...] or by contracting[...]” (World Bank 2006. Emphasis added).

A move towards developing PPPs has been adopted in contexts such as that of Faisalabad is an attempt to make the role of NSPs more visible, at the same time as aiming to identify complementarities between the state and non-state providers, and to clarify their respective roles. This can help to ensure that government maintains control of the education sector, while recognising that others can have a role in supporting its responsibilities towards basic service delivery.

This quote suggests that the World Bank is more explicit about seeing private provision as desirable. On the other hand, a recent review by Oxfam International is more cautious about the role of the private sector in provision and, even where this is

Consequences of Cooperation/Contention for Service Delivery This section provides an overview of issues arising from our research study on state/non-state relations in basic service delivery undertaken in Bangladesh, India

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and Pakistan.4 The research seeks to understand the ways in which different degrees of formality in the relationship between non-state providers (with a focus on NGOs) and the state influences the extent of cooperation/contention between the two parties. The type of relationship is then considered with respect to how this affects services that are delivered to those who would otherwise be underserved. In India and Pakistan, the selected NGOs5 were ones involved in both direct non-state provision, indirect state provision through state sub-contracting to the NGOs, as well as support to direct state provision through “school adoption”. This allowed a comparison of the influence on the relationship of different approaches within cases, as well as between them. School adoption was generally less apparent in Bangladesh and in the study in this country, the focus was on the NGO's direct education provision. NGO provision in Bangladesh and India involved different forms of organisational relationships with government (including vertical contractual arrangements) that were explored. The stated missions of the NGOs included in the study highlight the way in which they see education as having broader benefits, both to the future of individuals as well as for society more generally. Such human development and rights-based approaches to education are also apparent in government visions in the three countries. In Bangladesh and India, the NGOs share the common view that government should play the main role in education provision, but seek to contribute to this. By contrast, in Pakistan, the NGO has a broader perspective that different actors play a role in improving the education system (including philanthropists, the private sector, donor agencies, NGO alliances as well as government) and is keen to work with any of these. The latter perspective is in line with the government agenda in Pakistan, which also has a more broad-minded perspective about the role of different actors than apparent in Bangladesh and India. In general, across the three cases, there is an apparent consensus over purposes of public action which provides a motivation for both government and NGOs to interact namely, they are both committed to ensuring EFA of acceptable quality (in line with international commitments), with particular concern of reaching out to the poor, vulnerable and marginalised. In reality, national governments are more focused on expanding access to the mass of the population requiring a relatively standardised model of provision, which is unable to cover those with particular needs (often classified as “hard-to-reach”). It is these groups that NGOs intend to address in particular, and hence the view of seeing their role as complementary to the state, and supporting it in fulfilling its agenda. In principle, NGOs are considered able to accomplish this role given that they are closer to the communities in which they work and so able to deliver services in a flexible and innovative way. By contrast, governments have very large, relatively inflexible and bureaucratic structures which make it difficult for them to adapt to different environments. However, as the research indicates, the ability of NGOs to respond to changing needs of the population can depend on the type of relationship that they develop with government.

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As Table 1 illustrates, the forms of agreement between state and non-state providers identified in the research range from ones where there were no written rules to very formal, structured “subordinated” contracts. Examples where there were no written rules for the relationship were particularly apparent in Bangladesh, in situations where international agencies were providing funds directly to the NGO for its own provision and so bypassing the government. Although nothing was written, it was apparent that there were several instances when the government and the NGO would need to interact. The interaction would be initiated by the NGO as it needed to get access to government resources and information. This has become increasingly important in recent years as greater concern has been put on providing the opportunity for NGO graduates to be “mainstreamed” into government schools, rather than seeing NGO provision as an end in itself. This emphasis has meant that NGOs need to access government textbooks to ensure students cover the same curriculum as those in governments schools, and that their students are allowed to take government school examinations. Moreover, their provision needs to be recognised by government (even though NGOs do not register with the Ministry of Education) to ensure that it is accepted as being equivalent to government provision. While government officials at a local level were responsive to NGOs demands, both NGOs and local government officials felt that there would be benefits from having written guidelines to ease the interaction. From the perspective of the local government officials, this was found to be important as they were concerned about their authority to make decisions in their interactions with NGOs, given that they were ultimately responsible to those higher up in the government hierarchy from whom they did not have formal permission to engage with NGOs. While the lack of unwritten agreement led to uncertainty for both parties which could cause delays, this arrangement allowed the NGO to make decisions on how to deliver its provision without interference from government, and so could be flexible and adapt as needed. Examples of “mutual contracts”, often under the terms of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), were most common in Pakistan with some experience also in the Indian case. The use of mutual contracts was in part due to the type of activity that the NGOs were engaged in within these settings, namely, that where NGOs were involved in using school facilities (either to support teaching and management of government provision, or to use the facilities after hours for their own provision), it was important to have an agreement on the roles and responsibilities of each of the parties. In these situations, there was no exchange of money but government and NGOs came into contact on a more on-going basis at the level of service provision. In Pakistan, the MOUs were designed by the NGOs, drawing on the technical skills of the leader which the government lacked. In general, the government did not have objections to the MOUs, although the process of finalising them could take some time. The government's acceptance of the MOU was in part because the clauses mainly stipulated the responsibilities of the NGO, without stipulations of how the government would be held to account in the relationship. The reason for this was no doubt that it was in the interests of the NGOs to gain access to the government facilities, allowing them to work in innovative ways within a flexible but clearly

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Table 1: Consequences of forms of agreement between NGOs and the state for cooperation/contention and service delivery Agreement Unwritten rules: NGO direct provision funded by non-government sources ‘Mutual’ contracts: School adoption NGO direct provision using government facilities Subordinated contracts:

Type of interaction Access to government textbooks and exams to mainstream graduates

・ NGO support teaching/management in government schools ・ NGO negotiate use of government facilities after school hours

・ Stipulation of inputs – size or rental property, teacher

NGO direct provision funded through government

salaries etc.

・ ・

NGO/govt relationship NGO initiates interaction Government reactive

・ Some MOUs developed by government, some NGOs ・ Relatively vague ・ Stipulate NGO contribution ・ Limited enforcement ・ Strict but incomplete terms ・ Difficult to enforce. ・ No legal sanctions if break rules ・ Government can withdraw funding

Consequence One-off cooperation NGOs as innovators On-going cooperation NGOs as innovators

Contention NGOs as implementers

documented agreement. With respect to subordinated contracts, these were apparent in both Bangladesh and India. They were used where the government was providing funding to NGOs to provide education (in the case of Bangladesh, this was as a result of UNICEF channeling funds to NGOs through government). In the case of Bangladesh, in particular, the contracts clearly stipulated inputs that NGOs would need to make (including levels of teacher salaries, and size of rental space for their centres). These stipulations meant that NGOs had very little scope for introducing innovation into their provision. Rather, they became implementers of the government programme. Moreover, the contracts became a cause for contention as the NGOs felt that teacher salaries offered in the contract were too low, and it was not always possible to find the appropriate size of rental space for the amount of money allocated in the budget. NGOs attempted to make adjustments by using the rental space for two shifts for example, thus saving money which was reallocated to teacher salaries. However, government officials considered this to be breaking the terms of the contract, and so used their authority to withhold money. These adjustments made by the NGOs would not necessarily have an impact on the outcomes of the service provision. However, the contracts were incomplete in terms of specification of outcomes (partly no doubt due to difficulties in measuring them). Despite the difficulties, the NGOs were keen to minimise conflict to ensure that they did not jeopardize cooperative relations with local government officials that had developed through its other activities (funded directly by donors), as well as to ensure they would not be backlisted from future opportunities of government contracts. Overall, while subordinated contracts appeared to be most restrictive in terms of allowing NGO innovation (a primary reason for NGOs being engaged in service provision), they were able to respond to concerns raised of ensuring NGO accountability where government remains responsible for service delivery. The use of mutual contracts seemed to provide a compromise between ensuring some degree of NGO accountability to the government, while also leaving scope for NGO innovation. Their success was dependent on the professional and technical skills of the NGO

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leader who was able to design the contracts in a form that would be acceptable to both parties. At the same time, the process ensured that government was seen to remain in control of the relationship, and so did not threaten its role as being responsible for service delivery. Conclusion “Public-private partnerships” or, more broadly, non-state/state relationships, have become an increasing area of interest over the last decade in recognition of the interconnections between different actors in achieving “Education for All”. This paper highlights the various ways in which state and non-state actors are likely to interact. It then provides an analysis of the influence of the degree of formality of a relationship on the approach to service delivery, focusing on NGO activities in particular. During the honeymoon period of NGOs in the 1980s they were seen to offer an alternative route for international agency funding, bypassing what were often considered to be inefficient state bureaucracies. This allowed NGOs to be left to their own devices, and to develop their own innovative approaches. However, with moves towards a desire to mainstream children into government schools, calls for scaling up of NGO provision beyond small pilot projects, as well as NGOs engaging in more complex activities including support to government schooling in a variety of ways, there has been a shift more recently towards written agreements either in the form of “mutual” or “subordinated” contracts. This shift marks both a desire of NGOs to have greater clarity on the scope within which they can work with government, as well as to ensure NGO accountability to government given that responsibility for service delivery remains the responsibility of the State. In cases where there has been a change from one extreme of having no written agreement to the other extreme of subordinated contracts, evidence indicates that this has resulted in NGOs changing from innovators to implementers of service provision. Mutual contracts appear to provide more scope for ensuring both accountability of NGOs to government and allowing NGOs to have greater flexibility to innovate. The degree of formality of the relationship relates in part to whether NGOs are funded directly by donors, or contracted by government to provide a service. In addition, the effect of the formality of the relationship on service provision is influenced by strategies of NGOs, with successful relationships most apparent where NGOs invest time and energy in developing cooperative relationships. Finally, where aid modalities (including sector-wide approaches and direct budgetary support) and public finance approaches aimed at ensuring government ownership of programmes are leading donors to channel resources through government rather than supporting NGOs directly, it is possible that this will change the way in which NGOs can operate, giving rise to questions of whether their comparative advantage of responding to the communities they serve will remain, or whether alternative approaches to subordinated contracts for NGO provision of basic education under such arrangements can be developed. Such approaches will need to consider the possibility of permitting less rigidity in the design of provision within contracts (allowing NGOs scope for innovation), at the same time as ensuring that NGOs are accountable to government for the outcomes of their service provision.

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Dr Pauline Rose is reader at the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex, UK. This paper was presented at the Conference on “Embedding Quality Education for All. District Initiatives across Pakistan� held on 5-6 March 2008. Endnotes The paper draws on work undertaken by the author on multiple provision of education for the Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity (CREATE www.create-rpc.org. See Rose, 2007a and b); and on non-state/state relationships in education in South Asia as part of a project for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) programme on Non-government Public Action see http://www.idd.bham. ac.uk/ service-providers/nonstateprovidersESRC.htm). 1. See papers associated with the ESRC project for further discussion of these issues http://www.idd.bham.ac.uk/service-providers/nonstateprovidersESRC.htm. 2. See Rose 2006 for further discussion. 3. See Teamey 2007 for a review of literature of the forms of relationship in relation to NGO providers 4. Work on the research project is still in progress information on the research team, background papers and some preliminary findings can be found at http://www.idd.bham.ac.uk/service-providers/nonstateprovidersESRC.htm. The research also involved cases related health and sanitation. 5. NGOs are not named in this paper as some issues are still being confirmed with them, giving their sensitivity with some aspects raised.

delivery to support access to the excluded?' CREATE Pathways to Access No 3. http://www.create-rpc.org/pdf%20documents/PTA3.pdf l Rose, P. (2007b) 'Supporting non-state providers in basic education service delivery'. CREATE Pathways to Access No 4. http://www.create-rpc.org/ pdf%20documents /PTA4.pdf l Rose, P. "Collaborating in Education for All? Experiences of government support for nonstate provision of basic education in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa." Public Administration and Development (2006) 26 (3). l Sayed, Y. & Subrahmanian, R. eds. Education Inclusion and Exclusion: Indian and South African Perspectives. IDS Bulletin (2003) 34 (1). l Teamey, K. (2007) Literature Review on Relationships between Government and Nonstate Providers of Services. http://www.idd.bham.ac.uk/serviceproviders/nonstateprovidersESRC.htm l UNESCO. EFA Global Monitoring Report: Gender and Education: The Leap to Equality. Paris: UNESCO, 2004. l UNESCO. EFA Global Monitoring Report: The Quality Imperative. Paris: UNESCO, 2005a. l UNESCO. World Education Indicators. Montreal: UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 2005b. l World Bank. Handbook on Public-Private Partnerships in Education. Washington: EdInvest, 2002. www.ifc.org/edinvest/public.htm

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20 - Democracy—the South Asian Story