Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Musharraf Earned Legitimacy By Good Governance

Former President Musharraf's detractors argue that he lacked legitimacy because he came to power through a coup which removed a duly elected government in 1999.

Implicit in Musharraf's opponents' argument is the assumption that the electoral process is the only source of legitimacy for a ruler. It ignores the possibility that the will of the people can also be expressed in ways other than elections to confer legitimacy on a leader. It rejects the notion that a leader can earn legitimacy in the eyes of the people by delivering results to the people through good governance.

Public Opinion Surveys:

Such an expression of people's will can come in many forms, including results of frequent public opinion polls conducted by multiple professional pollsters in Pakistan and many other countries around the world. One such credible survey is done regularly by Pew Global Research.  It shows that the majority of the people believed the country was headed in the right direction in Musharraf years. It also shows that people's satisfaction with Pakistan's direction has been in rapid decline. It has sharply fallen to about 8% in 2013.
Source: Pew Research in Pakistan

Another survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan  in August 2013 shows that 59% of Pakistanis have a positive view of President Muaharraf (31%  say they hold a favorable opinion of him and another 28% say he was satisfactory). 34% have an unfavorable opinion of the former ruler.

Judiciary and Parliament Approval:

Musharraf's actions of 1999 were legitimized by Pakistan Supreme Court in Syed Zafar Ali Shah v. General Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Pakistan (PLD 2000 SC 869). In addition to endorsing the coup, the Supreme Court granted extensive powers to the new Musharraf Government, empowering it to unilaterally amend the 1973 Constitution and enact new laws without the approval of Parliament.

Musharraf held parliamentary elections in 2002 and subsequently won a parliamentary vote to confirm him as President of Pakistan.

Good Governance Under Musharraf:

When Musharraf took over in 1999, Pakistan was essentially bankrupt with just a few hundred million dollars in reserves and a heavy debt load which it couldn't repay. Economic growth plummeted to between 3% and 4%, poverty rose to 33%, inflation was in double digits and the foreign debt mounted to nearly the entire GDP of Pakistan as the governments of Benazir Bhutto (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif (PML) played musical chairs. Before Sharif was ousted in 1999, the two parties had presided over a decade of corruption and mismanagement. In 1999 Pakistan’s total public debt as percentage of GDP was the highest in South Asia – 99.3 percent of its GDP and 629 percent of its revenue receipts, compared to Sri Lanka (91.1% & 528.3% respectively in 1998) and India (47.2% & 384.9% respectively in 1998). Internal Debt of Pakistan in 1999 was 45.6 per cent of GDP and 289.1 per cent of its revenue receipts, as compared to Sri Lanka (45.7% and 264.8% respectively in 1998) and India (44.0% and 358.4% respectively in 1998).

So what did Musharraf do to gain the trust of a very large number of Pakistanis who supported his rule after the 1999 coup? He undertook a number of economic and regulatory reforms to rejuvenate the country's economy. Deregulating telecommunications and liberalizing electronic media business, particularly television, immediately brought in significant first wave of domestic and foreign investment and created media and telecom boom in the country. Banking and financial services sector took off and rapidly grew and created lots of jobs. A construction boom followed which more than doubled per capita cement consumption and created millions of new jobs. Exports nearly tripled from about $7 billion in 1999-2000 to $22 billion in 2007-2008, adding millions of more jobs.

Pakistan Savings Rate as Percent of GDP (Source: World Bank)

Source: Credit Suisse and Cement Industry

Per Capita Cement Consumption in Pakistan Source: Credit Suisse and Cement Industry
Thanks to the dynamic economy under President Musharraf's rule, Pakistan created more jobs, graduated more people from schools and colleges, built a larger middle class and lifted more people out of poverty as percentage of its population than India in the last decade. And Pakistan has done so in spite of the huge challenges posed by the war in Afghanistan and a very violent insurgency at home.

The above summary is based on volumes of recently released reports and data on job creationeducationmiddle class sizepublic hygienepoverty and hunger over the last decade that offer new surprising insights into the lives of ordinary people in two South Asian countries. It adds to my previous post on this blog titled "India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2010".

The PPP government summed up General Musharraf's accomplishments well when it signed a 2008 Memorandum of Understanding with the International Monetary Fund which said:

"Pakistan's economy witnessed a major economic transformation in the last decade. The country's real GDP increased from $60 billion to $170 billion, with per capita income rising from under $500 to over $1000 during 2000-07". It further acknowledged that "the volume of international trade increased from $20 billion to nearly $60 billion. The improved macroeconomic performance enabled Pakistan to re-enter the international capital markets in the mid-2000s. Large capital inflows financed the current account deficit and contributed to an increase in gross official reserves to $14.3 billion at end-June 2007. Buoyant output growth, low inflation, and the government's social policies contributed to a reduction in poverty and improvement in many social indicators". (see MEFP, November 20, 2008, Para 1)

Contrary to what Musharraf bashers dismiss as "aid-fueled " or "consumption-driven" economy in 2002-2007, the economic growth was actually driven by private savings and investments. Private domestic savings rate was over 18% of GDP in Musharraf but has slumped to just 7% in recent years. Pakistan attracted record foreign direct investment (FDI) in telecom, banking, manufacturing and other sectors of the economy. Annual FDI flow into Pakistan reached $5.4 billion in Year 2007-08. As to US aid during and after Musharraf's years in office, it has actually tripled in size from $700 million in 2007-8 to $2.1 billion since 2010. If aid alone were responsible for economic growth, then the GDP growth rate should have accelerated, not plummeted, after Musharraf left office.

Pakistan FDI as Percent of GDP (Source: World Bank)

In addition to the economic revival, Musharraf focused on social sector as well. Pakistan's HDI grew an average rate of 2.7% per year under President Musharraf from 2000 to 2007, and then its pace slowed to 0.7% per year in 2008 to 2012 under elected politicians, according to the 2013 Human Development Report titled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”.

Overall, Pakistan's human development score rose by 18.9% during Musharraf years and increased just 3.4% under elected leadership since 2008. The news on the human development front got even worse in the last three years, with HDI growth slowing down as low as 0.59% — a paltry average annual increase of under 0.20 per cent.

Rising University Enrollment in Pakistan Starting in 2001-2002. Source: ICEF Monitor

Going further back to the  decade of 1990s when the civilian leadership of the country alternated between PML (N) and PPP,  the increase in Pakistan's HDI was 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf's watch from 2000 to 2007.

Acceleration of HDI growth during Musharraf years was not an accident.  Not only did Musharraf's policies accelerate economic growth, helped create 13 million new jobs, cut poverty in half and halved the country's total debt burden in the period from 2000 to 2007, his government also ensured significant investment and focus on education and health care. The annual budget for higher education increased from only Rs 500 million in 2000 to Rs 28 billion in 2008, to lay the foundations of the development of a strong knowledge economy, according to former education minister Dr. Ata ur Rehman. Student enrollment in universities increased from 270,000 to 900,000 and the number of universities and degree awarding institutions increased from 57 in 2000 to 137 by 2008. In 2011, a Pakistani government commission on education found that public funding for education has been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2007 to just 1.5% - less than the annual subsidy given to the various PSUs including Pakistan Steel and PIA, both of which  continue to sustain huge losses due to patronage-based hiring.

So Why Didn't the Musharraf Miracle Last?

It takes a long time to build and very little time to destroy a beautiful, well-manicured garden with flourishing plants and flowers. A new incompetent, lazy and corrupt gardener can turn it into a disaster by failing to fertilize, water and prune. That's what happened in Pakistan in 2008. A healthy, well-run and growing economy was quickly turned to shambles in a very short time because of policy inaction and neglect. Here's how Pakistani economist Dr. Ashfaque H. Khan explained it in 2010: "What went wrong? Why one of the fastest growing economies in the Asian region until two years ago has been totally forgotten in the region? Firstly, the speed and dimension of exogenous price shocks (oil and food) were of extraordinary proportions. Secondly, the present government found itself totally ill-prepared and clueless in addressing the challenges arising out of the shocks. While rest of the world was taking corrective measures and adjusting to higher food and fuel prices, Pakistan lurched from one crisis to another."

Constitution Not Suicide Pact: 

To those who say nothing should trump the constitution of Pakistan, let me remind them that there is legal precedent to suggest  that there are things more important than the constitution. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact" is an oft-repeated phrase in American political and legal discourse. It refers to the belief that constitutional restrictions on governmental power must be balanced against the need for survival of the state and its people. It is frequently attributed to Abraham Lincoln who is said to have used it in answering charge that he violated the United States Constitution by suspending habeas corpus during the American Civil War. Others who have used it include Justice Robert H. Jackson (Terminiello v. Chicago, 1949) and Justice Arthur Goldberg (Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 1963).

Here's a video discussion on the subject:

Civil-military Stand-Off on Musharraf Trial; Musharraf Govt's Performance Record from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Musharraf Wants to Face Trial; Military Opposed to it

Saving Pakistan's Education

Political Patronage Trumps Public Policy in Pakistan

Dr. Ata-ur-Rehman Defends Pakistan's Higher Education Reforms

Twelve Years Since Musharraf's Coup

Musharraf's Legacy

Pakistan's Economic Performance 2008-2010

Role of Politics in Pakistan Economy

India and Pakistan Compared in 2011

Musharraf's Coup Revived Pakistan's Economy

What If Musharraf Had Said No?

Human Development in Musharraf Years


Mayraj said...

Well, his detractors cannot claim that themselves, so what else they can they do?

Riaz Haq said...


@Asma_Jahangir calls @P_Musharraf tribunal "Kangaroo Court" says "next military coup won't be bloodless" #Pakistan http://www.riazhaq.com/2014/01/musharraf-wants-to-face-trial-but.html …

Mayraj said...

MNS misses big picture. But he is a short sighted thug himself, so what do you expect. Will poison all future military civil relations.

Ismat said...

Brilliant research, excellent article, Riaz Saheb. It would be great if this receives max publicity in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...


Attorney Asma Jahangir said yesterday at a televised news conf that she knows the judges on the tribunal which is trying Musharraf. "They are slapping their foreheads and privately saying they don't have a clue about the applicable laws in the case". "These clueless judges are being asked to render precedent-setting judgement", she added.

She called the tribunal a "Kangaroo Court" and added that "next military coup won't be bloodless"

CanadianBoy said...

How much everybody want to bet that Mr.Musharraf will die of mysterious causes, a car accident, a sudden cardiac arrest, a stroke. He will then be buried without proper autopsy thus leaving all sides with plausible dependability. Of course Ms. Jahangir this not the 70's or 80's anymore, army has learned it is wise to work behind the scene and in the front.

Suhail said...

The government seems to be continuing on the path of subduing the military, with Musharraf case becoming symbolic. Whether a military coup will take place or not depends on whether the military has already been castrated or not during the last six years. The article of Dec 2007
and the subsequent reign of Kayani and Iftikhar Chaudhary need to be seen in conjunction. The task of the present generals is tougher than the generals in 1999; we'll have to wait and see if they are committed (and courageous) enough to protect their institution.

Riaz Haq said...

86% of Pakistanis say Musharraf should not be tried alone for his actions of declaring emergency in 2007, according to a nationwide Gallup survey:

Majority Pakistanis (86%) believe individuals privy to and in favor of declaring emergency in the country in 2007 should be tried for treason along with Musharraf. GILANI POLL/GALLUP PAKISTAN

According to a Gilani Research Foundation Survey carried out by Gallup Pakistan, majority Pakistanis (86%) believe individuals privy to and in favor of declaring emergency in the country in 2007 should be tried for treason along with Musharraf.

A nationally representative sample of men and women, from across the four provinces was asked “In your opinion, should individuals who were privy to and in favor of former President Musharraf’s act of declaring emergency in the country in 2007 be tried for treason under Article 6 or do you believe that Musharraf should be tried alone?” Responding to this, 86% were in favor of trying all individuals associated with declaring emergency in 2007 while only 12% think Musharraf should be tried for treason alone. 2% did not respond.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan needs to do the following to wean itself of IMF:

1. Increase exports to earn foreign exchange

2. Build products domestically for import substitution

3. Take steps to encourage and incentivize foreign and domestic investments (FDI) by a) solving energy crisis b) improving security and c) increasing ease of business

4. Decrease reliance on foreign and domestic loans and grants

Riaz Haq said...

#Musharraf never double-crossed #US: SaysRobert Grenier, Ex #CIA Station Chief in #Islamabad Pakistan http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/11-Mar-2016/musharraf-never-double-crossed-us-ex-cia-official …

Former CIA top spy in Pakistan has conceded that General (r) Pervez Musharraf never double-crossed the Americans in the aftermath of 9/11.

“I can say with good authority that General Musharraf never double-crossed us,” Robert Grenier, former Islamabad station chief of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) told Daily Times in an interview. Several American journalists, analysts and politicians had repeatedly accused Musharraf of playing both sides, just to stay relevant in the eyes of the world superpower. After the US Marines’ raid to kill Osama bin Laden, another former CIA official Bruce Riedel had claimed that Gen Musharraf knew where the al Qaeda chief was hiding. Though, Riedel was quoting former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general, Ziauddin Butt.

Grenier is visiting Pakistan after 11 years to promote local publication of his book “88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary.” After his assignment in Islamabad, he spearheaded CIA operations, in Iraq, to topple Saddam Hussein. He also worked at CIA’s Counter Terrorism Centre. He was reportedly fired by then CIA chief Porter Goss, after he opposed the torturing of captured al Qaeda operatives. He also testified against Lewis Scooter Libby, adviser to former vice president Dick Cheney, who was accused and later sentenced for leaking the identity of a CIA agent, Valerie Plame.

Grenier recounted how at several occasions Gen Musharraf went the extra mile to help the Americans. He claimed it was Gen Musharraf who had made explicit instructions to powerful ISI to extend full cooperation to the CIA whether it was about convincing Mullah Omar expel bin Laden from Afghanistan or capturing important al Qaeda leaders. He was given the task of running CIA Islamabad station several months before 9/11. “Despite my request, I could not meet then DG ISI Gen Mehmood. He was too busy digging up corruption cases against (deposed prime minister) Nawaz Sharif,” he revealed.

On page 58 of his book, Grenier termed the ISI “an infamous organisation.” Asked to elaborate his position on the ISI, he took a diametrically opposite view and denied his own words. “What I wrote was merely a set perception about the ISI in the world. That was not my estimation. Throughout in my book I praised the role and services of the ISI,” he said. Grenier said the most important catches from Pakistan were Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, popularly known as KSM and Abu Zubeyda, two key al Qaeda leaders. He refused to comment on who had pocketed big bounties the Americans were offering on al Qaeda operatives.

The former CIA station chief sent an important memo to Washington in September 2001, which he described as the most important three-hour work of his entire 27-year career. In that memo he recommended covert operations in Afghanistan enabling Northern Alliance and Pushtun tribal leaders topple Taliban regime.

Riaz Haq said...

"Speaking fee for #Musharraf in $150K-200K range for a day," says Embark USA President David B. Wheeler. #Pakistan


"The [speaking] fee for Musharraf would be in the $150,000-200,000 range for a day," says Embark President David B. Wheeler, "plus jet and other V.I.P. arrangements on the ground." Wheeler says Clinton, for whom Embark has arranged speaking engagements in the Middle East, commands up to $250,000 per appearance. "If we did multiple events in multiple cities, [Musharraf] could get closer to the $500,000 to $1,000,000 range [for a series of talks]," he said. Embark, which promises "unique experiences that educate, entertain and enlighten," has also booked speeches for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Pakistanis who know Musharraf well say this is good news for the former president, who is not believed to have salted away a fortune as some of his predecessors have done (Musharraf will only receive a modest army retirement pension). But he is a long way from the poor house. Workers are putting the finishing touches on a mansion, said to be worth some $2 million dollars, that he is building on five acres of prime land just outside Islamabad. Since his resignation he has been playing golf and tennis with friends, surrounded by heavy security, and is also planning to write a sequel to his successful 2006 autobiography, "In the Line of Fire," which could easily net him another seven-figure windfall.

Riaz Haq said...

Dawn Survey Result: Who's been #Pakistan's best ruler? Liaquat Ali 1, Ayub 2, #Musharraf 3, ZA Bhutto 4, Benazir 5, Ghulam Mohammad 6, Nawaz Sharif 7, Zia 8, Iskandar Mirza 9, Yahya Khan 10, Zardari 11. https://www.dawn.com/news/1354690/survey-results-who-has-been-pakistans-best-ruler

Riaz Haq said...

Performance legitimacy in the age of COVID

How regime type and governance quality affect policy responses to COVID-19: A preliminary analysis


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has slowed down economies, upended societies, and tremendously affected the daily lives of ordinary people throughout the world. In the international context, various government responses have thus given rise to many political debates and discussions centered around the handling of these impacts and the novel coronavirus itself. Here, emphasis is often placed on how regime type (i.e., democratic or non-democratic) and governance quality influence policies aimed at responding to the ongoing crisis. By examining relevant scientific resources, including the COVID-19 Global Response Index (developed by FP Analytics), Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI), and Bjørnskov-Rode regime data, this study found that regime type was indeed related to governmental policy responses to COVID-19. Results specifically showed that governance quality (especially effectiveness) had moderate impacts on how well these policies were implemented. Due to several limitations, however, these findings should be regarded as preliminary evidence.

As a worldwide pandemic, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had already caused more than one million deaths fewer than nine months after the outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China. Still, the number of infections continues to increase at an unprecedented rate due to the dangerous transmission speed of the virus (Harb and Harb, 2020). As with many previous pandemics, scientific research has been pivotal in fighting COVID-19 through the development of drugs and other treatments. By contrast, political discourse has contributed very little to these life-saving measures, but has nonetheless resulted in the formation of targeted policy responses. However, little is currently known about how related political factors have impacted government responses to the pandemic.

Given this situation, Greer et al. (2020) called for synergistic collaboration between individuals working in comparative politics and scientific research. They further identified four variables that require continued investigation in order to explain how nations are responding to COVID-19, including (a) social policy, (b) regime type, (c) political institutions, and (d) state capacity (Greer et al., 2020). A variety of political science studies have addressed issues related to COVID-19 and past pandemics, particularly in regard to the debate on regime type, state responses, and how good governance affects outcomes.

Recent political science debates have focused on a possible link between regime type and national response to the COVID-19 crisis. Judging the timeliness of various government responses, Alon et al. (2020), Cepaluni et al. (2020), and Piazza and Stronko (2020) have argued that authoritarian regimes more promptly impose stringent public health measures, compared to democracies. Indeed, research has shown that nations with stronger democratic institutions tend to implement measures for combating coronavirus at a slower pace (Sebhatu et al., 2020). This tendency is also evident in historical events (Stasavage, 2020), such as the SARS outbreak of the early the 2000s (Schwartz, 2012). In contrast, while authoritarian regimes can more rapidly impose stringent health measures, they may also exercise their power to devise cover-ups that turn local contagions into a global pandemic (Alon et al., 2020). Frey et al. (2020) provided a contrast to the abovementioned studies, contending that democracies mount more effective responses to control the spread of COVID-19 by reducing its geographic mobility.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex spy chief Amarjit Singh Dulat tells DH why he thinks both India and Pakistan have their best chance at peace now


S. Raghotham of Deccan Herald: What is the legacy that Gen Pervez Musharraf, who passed away recently, has left on the Kashmir issue?

Ex RAW Chief AS Dulat: I was a great admirer of Musharraf. In fact, it was one of my unfulfilled desires that I wanted to meet him, but I never could. Having watched Kashmir for more than 35 years, I feel that there has been no Pakistani leader who has been more reasonable on Kashmir than Musharraf. From our point of view, the most positive thing was that he repeatedly said that whatever is acceptable to Kashmir and Kashmiris would be acceptable to Pakistan. There’s not been anybody else in Pakistan who has said that. Of course, Musharraf got into trouble when 9/11 happened, and he had to willy-nilly join George Bush’s War on Terror. And 9/11 definitely helped us, because it put pressure on Musharraf. And as part of that pressure, he was also told that he had to behave with India. In the years following 9/11, militancy went down. The other positive thing for us (post-9/11) was that the average Kashmiri....


Manmohan Singh is on record that they (he and Musharraf, after Vajpayee and Musharraf in Agra in 2001) were very close to signing an agreement.

Q: What happened that we didn’t?

A: I think we dragged our foot, we took too long…Musharraf kept waiting for Manmohan Singh’s visit to Pakistan. The visit never happened.

Q: So, the recent revelations by Gen Qamar Bajwa, that PM Modi was to go to Pakistan, stay in a temple there for nine days, and then come out with a peace accord that would freeze the Kashmir issue for 20 years. Is that all true? Is it still possible? ...

A: I wouldn’t know. But coming from the (recently retired) Pakistan army chief Gen. Bajwa, there has to be some truth in it. I mean…there may be some exaggeration in it. I think this year -- this is my hunch, my gut feeling -- that something should happen because the Pakistanis are very keen. And they are in a big mess. So, it could be a question of Modi actually bailing out Pakistan. And he could do it…I feel Modi is the right man, he is under no pressure to move forward, but he can move forward.