Can a Strong Clean Leader Solve All the Problems of Pakistan- Mythical Narratives

Is it possible to eradicate corruption by only changing the person at the top,  the man at the helm of affairs? Unfortunately, this seems to be the predominant narrative in Pakistan.  This narrative of “Pakistan Needs a Strong, Clean and Decisive Leader at the Top” has been selling in Pakistan since 1950s. This narrative states that Pakistan cannot progress without a strong decisive leader and therefore supports the changing the person at the top narrative under the doctrine of necessity. The narrative erects the bogey of Pakistan’s survival is at stake and the fear of Pakistan’s breakup is therefore used to justify the ushering in of strong dictators, one after the other, and sells the idea that politicians are weak and corrupt and responsible for all the malaise.

On one hand, this narrative justifies usurpation of the right of people to elect their leaders and learn from their mistakes. It also stops devolution of the power to provinces and from provinces to the district level as the specter of ethnic divide and fear of dismemberment is raised to stultify the experimentation of people with different political parties and types of leaders.
This narrative also justifies rule by military dictators and un-elected elites.

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Imran Khan got elected to the top by selling the narrative that “If the leader is corrupt, all those below  the PM will be corrupt”, what we only need to do to eliminate corruption is to “get a clean, strong leader at the top, and then all will become clean down the hierarchy”. Unfortunately,  this also seems to be the CJP’s assumption behind the removal of the chief executive of the government i.e the Prime Minister in 2017, through the Panama Case whose judgment made it the Iqama Case. However, this assumption has been proven wrong in March 2018 by the the disclosure of the corrupt 20 MPAs out of the 35 PTI MPAs in KPK under the certified Sadiq and Ameen,  righteous and sagacious leader,  Imran Khan!

Mere presence of IK at the top did not stop corruption in his own party. Even if we ignore that his move appears to be political and ceremonial,  and that it also seems crafted carefully and timed perfectly to a few weeks before the tenure of MPAs was to end as per the constitution [1], the point to note is that merely the presence of a righteous person at the top could not and did not determine the end of systemic corruption. This narrative has also been proven wrong since the election of Imran Khan as PM of Pakistan. A strong clean leader at the top is no guarantee for the elimination of corruption. This also seems to be case during the last two years of IK’s government and the recent announcement of Sugar/Atta Price Hike Commission Report: Sugar crisis probe report leaves ruling alliance red-faced.

Similarly, the assumption of the righteous and sagacious CJP resulted in a dramatic decrease in corruption in Judiciary? Has the efficiency of the courts increased dramatically? Has the delays in judgments been removed? 

It is not only changing the top man,  but also changing the system and the processes underlying the operations of large organizations and interconnected systems. Change management, even in private sector organizations, is  extremely difficult because it requires changing the culture, behavior of people and designing efficient and responsive processes.  Changing the system in the government sector is many times more difficult than in the private sector because of the bureaucratic tangle, legal hurdles, procedural complexities in coordinating among several independent departments and ministries. Above all the dominant conventional wisdom in government is whoever takes the decisions becomes eventually the scapegoat and hence no one in government wants to assume responsibility and take ownership of the end to end processes.

If snap suo-motto judgments of a righteous man could have removed corruption,  then why the current CJP had not been able to eliminate corruption from Pakistani court system and why he has not been able to increase the disposal of court cases that have risen from 1.8m to 2+ Million during his time. Justice delayed is justice denied, after all!
On one hand, this narrative justifies usurpation of the right of people to elect their leaders and learn from their mistakes. It also stops devolution of the power to provinces and from provinces to the district level as the specter of ethnic divide and fear of dismemberment is raised to stultify the experimentation of people with different political parties and types of leaders.
This justifies rule by military dictators and un-elected elites.

Change Management in Big Organizations

What needs to be understood is that complex systems (like governmental systems or software with millions of lines of codes with hundreds of interconnected subsystems) can not be redesigned or improved just by changing only  the top man with a snap judgement.  Changing a system while it is live, online and functioning,  without degradation of performance, is a tedious long term process.  It requires very different skill sets and a huge team with patience and change leadership aptitude. It definitely requires much more than the snap Suomoto judgements reminding of DoN Quixote “Tilting at the windmills”.

Since 1950s,  Pakistan has been running after that elusive angel-like strong leader who will be the savior on horseback, wielding his sword of Doctrine of Necessity (DoN). DoN godfathers have wreaked havoc with the country as described in the following posts. The system has deteriorated instead of improving with each incarnation of the new DoN.
This is the time for a deep introspection and let the system heal itself not by band-aid solutions like suo-moto judgements but real changes through trial n error as per constitution and law.

Narratives to Support Dictatorial Interventions and Continuous Series of Destabilizations 

A deeper look at the dictatorial interventions and a continuous series of destabilization efforts during civilian rules indicate that this kind of destabilization is present in all the developing countries and is part of post-colonialism exploitation by the world superpowers, this has been named as neo-colonialism. My post on narratives designed to dishonor popular choice and support neocolonialism explains how neocolonialism spreads destructive narratives in developing countries which are taken up by vested interests and un-elected elites. These narratives are used to dishonor the will of the people, and justify the takeover by un-elected elites. This seems to be the history of post-colonialism in developing countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and on and on through out all the old colonies of the imperial powers. This is how they are kept perpetually destabilized and hence “perpetually developing”.


[begin Wikipedia excerpt]
Neo-colonialism or neo-imperialism is the practice of using capitalism, globalization and cultural imperialism to influence a developing country in lieu of direct military control (imperialism) or indirect political control (hegemony). It was coined by Kwame Nkrumah in the context of African countries undergoing decolonization in the 1960s.

In Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism, Kwame Nkrumah wrote:

In place of colonialism, as the main instrument of imperialism, we have today neo-colonialism . . . [which] like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries. . . .

The result of neo-colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of the less developed parts of the world. Investment, under neo-colonialism, increases, rather than decreases, the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world. The struggle against neo-colonialism is not aimed at excluding the capital of the developed world from operating in less developed countries. It is aimed at preventing the financial power of the developed countries being used in such a way as to impoverish the less developed.
[End excerpts from Wikipedia]

Notes and References:
[1] As per constitution,  dissolution of assemblies  and their replacement with caretaker governments takes place 2 months before the upcoming elections. 

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