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DAWN - Opinion; 10 April 2005

April 10, 2005

Conflict in Dera Bugti

By Anwar Syed

CONFLICT between tribal chiefs in Balochistan and the government has erupted periodically in the past. Of late armed men under the control of Sardar Akbar Bugti have been attacking federal agencies and infrastructure in the province. One cannot be sure that their operation is now over and durable peace assured.

The “sardari” regime in Balochistan is a system of indirect rule in which the central authority chooses to leave certain areas of the country to be controlled by local chieftains, who profess allegiance to the state and acknowledge its “suzerainty.” They raise revenues, apply local custom to settle disputes and dispense “justice,” and maintain order to the extent they can or deem expedient. They live well and, as one might expect, they have developed a strong vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Many observers are inclined to attribute Balochistan’s relative underdevelopment to the tribal chiefs’ determination not to let forces of modernization, such as education and economic diversification, enter their areas. They fear that the resulting enlightenment will arouse their hitherto oppressed tribesmen to self-assertion. Tyranny of the feudal lords in Sindh and southern Punjab has likewise been blamed for the stark poverty and backwardness of the peasantry in these regions.

Twice during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s rule, newspaper headlines declared that the “sardari system” had been abolished. Actually, no such thing had been done. Similar claims were made concerning feudalism. Announcing his land reforms on March 1, 1972, Mr Bhutto claimed that the measure would eradicate “the curse of feudalism and man’s unjust overlordship of the good earth.” It would enable landless peasants to “lift their heads from the dust and regain their pride and manhood.”

Great words these, as the words in his orations often were. The Sindhi hari’s head remained in dust; manhood and honour continued to elude him. But these words were spoken more than 33 years ago. It is depressing as it is surprising that his successors have done nothing to abolish feudalism in Sindh or the sardari system in Balochistan.

We will have to contend with some fundamental issues, which our governments have been evading, if we are to remove the sources of the current turbulence in Balochistan. Some of them, such as that of provincial autonomy, agitate most politicians regardless of their tribal or ethnic affiliations. Then there are issues and problems that are specific to a certain tribe or region within the province. The present conflict in Dera Bugti would appear to belong to this second category.

The fields where natural gas is extracted, treated, and pumped out to much of the country are located in Bugti territory. A report in a recent issue of a Karachi newsmagazine has it that Sardar Akbar Bugti receives about 120 million rupees a year from Pakistan Petroleum, Limited (PPL) as “rent” for the land it occupies. In addition he gets two million rupees per month for providing security for the PPL pipelines and operations, and another one million rupees per month for contracting vehicles out to the company. Apparently, he thinks that all of this is not enough. According to some commentators, this is the basic issue in his confrontation with the government.

In a recent interview with newsmen at his home he is reported to have claimed that the land where the gas fields are situated is “his” land. This claim is open to question. A reference to the Constitution may be useful in this regard. Article 172 provides that “any property which has no rightful owner shall, if located in a province, vest in the government of that province.”

Article 24 allows the state to take possession of private property for public purposes under law that provides for compensation. It allows the state also to take over any property which has come into the possession of any person by “unfair means, or in any manner contrary to law.” Part II of the federal legislative list (fourth schedule) authorizes the federal government to make laws with regard to mineral oil and natural gas, and the development of industries where the law declares federal control to be expedient in the public interest (items 2 and 3).

Any settlement with Akbar Bugti must be one that the law permits. The same must also apply to similar situations elsewhere in the country. Let us suppose that one morning the owner of a tract of land in Lahore sees oil seeping out of a hole in his vegetable garden. Excavation reveals an oil well down below. In my understanding of the law, this oil well and the land containing it become the property of the state and the original owner ceases to have any right thereto except compensation for the acreage at the going rate. If that is what the law requires in Lahore, how can the gas fields in the Bugti area be regarded as belonging either to Akbar Bugti personally or to his tribe as a collectivity?

The tussle between Akbar Bugti and the government have gone on for quite some time during which he has been hiking his price for letting the PPL work the gas fields unmolested. His bargaining ability does not consist of rights under the law; nor does it consist of mere sticks and stones. It is made of modern weapons with which he has equipped some of his tribesmen, and got them trained in their use.

Most of us can only speculate as to the source of these weapons. But one can be sure that they have not all come in one sweep; they have been coming in over a period of several years. It is then most unlikely that our numerous intelligence agencies have been unaware of this infiltration. Unless we assume utter incompetence, or a most reprehensible kind of self-indulgence, on their part, it is difficult to understand how they could have allowed this operation to proceed to a point where the Bugti tribesmen can frustrate the Pakistan army or the paramilitary forces.

Some observers suggest that the “crisis” in Dera Bugti arose from the government’s virtual indifference to the rape of a woman physician in a local hospital, and then from an attack on Bugti tribesmen on March 17. These incidents may have fanned the fire that was already simmering, but if it is true that the fire had originated in Akbar Bugti’s covetousness, one may wonder why other Baloch organizations and spokesmen, even unrelated opposition politicians in the National Assembly and elsewhere, are supporting him.

They are speaking and acting as if the government had been the aggressor, and he the innocent victim. They allege, notwithstanding the government’s repeated denials, that it has launched a military operation in Balochistan. They commend “dialogue” as the appropriate way of resolving the “crisis,” without spelling out its nature or the terms for settling it. This mode of speech is of a piece with their broader posture as opponents of the present regime. Mr Bugti, having emerged as a forceful “enemy of their enemy,” is to be befriended. The merits of either side’s case are irrelevant to the opposition’s overall strategy.

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and other government representatives have had several negotiating sessions with Akbar Bugti, but they have told the nation nothing as to what exactly he wants and what they have been offering him.

If the Balochistan “problem” is to be met, its nature should first be understood and its ingredients identified. Three sets of issues are involved and, even if they are related, each of them may have to be handled separately. In the short run, a deal may have to be made with Akbar Bugti that will increase his allowances so as to make him peaceable. But in the longer term perspective, a larger issue has to be settled. Balochistan is said to be well endowed with mineral resources. Who will direct and manage the extraction, processing, and disposal of the various deposits when they have been located? The federation, the province, or the tribes and sardars under whose ground the deposits lie? All sides agree that Balochistan has been neglected in the past and the way must be opened for its socio-economic development and modernization. But who is to be the agent for initiating and carrying forward this process? There is much opposition to this role being assumed by the central government. It would then be both more sensible and expedient to entrust it to the provincial government, except in relation to projects that are located on federal land. But even here it may be advisable to provide for the provincial government’s participation in their planning and execution, especially to dispel suspicion or fear that the resulting advantages will go to outsiders at the cost of the local people.

This matter of initiative and responsibility for development and modernization is a part of the broader issue of provincial autonomy. There is agreement at all hands that the provinces should be allowed a larger scope for their powers and functions than they have now. There are different prescriptions relating to the needed measure of autonomy, ranging from a stricter implementation of the provisions in this regard in the Constitution of 1973 to schemes that will convert Pakistan into a confederation.

We will leave the quantum of provincial autonomy for discussion at a later date. But it should be emphasized here and now that in this respect the other three provinces of Pakistan must be treated the same way as Balochistan is. Balochistan has been treated as a special case long enough both before and after independence. Talk of constitutional amendments to address Baloch grievances is subversive of our national solidarity and integrity and it should cease. Similar grievances exist elsewhere in the country, even if their scale and intensity are not the same. Any amendments that are made must apply equally and uniformly to all four provinces.

The writer is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA.


Ending poverty in Africa

By Jeffrey Sachs

THE end of poverty is a choice, not a forecast. There are a billion people on earth fighting daily for their survival. The world has committed, in the Millennium Development Goals, to cut extreme poverty by half by 2015.

By 2025, extreme poverty can be banished. By dint of interest and calendar, the next step rests with Downing Street. Tony Blair has dramatically raised the stakes. Now, he must deliver. The Blair Africa Commission is a masterful display of diagnosis and politics. Africa’s leading development thinkers and Britain’s political leaders are aligned on a sound diagnosis and course of action.

Blair has promised that Africa and development aid will be at the core of this year’s G8 summit, which he will host in Scotland in July. Africans are daring to hope that this time offered help is not just empty words. The ways out of the poverty trap can be found. The financial costs of the needed development aid are utterly manageable, just 70p per #100 (0.7%) of the national incomes of the donor nations.

Yet will the rich countries follow through? While the UK has raised the banner of fighting poverty in Africa, the US has armed only for its war against terror. Bush never even mentions the Millennium Development Goals. The US spends just 0.15% of its national income on aid, while devoting nearly 5% to the military. Is a superpower that devotes 30 times more in spending to the military than to development aid a reliable partner in the fight against extreme poverty?

The money, including the US contribution, needs to be Blair’s focus in the lead up to the July summit, since the fight against extreme poverty cannot be won on rhetoric alone. The barriers to development in Africa are not in the mind, but in the soils, the mosquitoes, the vast distances over difficult terrain, the unsteady rainfall.

Africa faces three pressing and distinctive problems that were overcome in Asia 40 years ago. The first is growing enough food. Asia had its green revolution, Africa has not. The biggest difference is biophysical. Asia’s breadbaskets are in the great river systems flowing from the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. The Indus, Ganges, Mekong and their vast floodplains have enabled monsoon Asia to develop the world’s finest systems of irrigated, high-input farming. Asia’s green revolution was built on the combination of irrigation, fertiliser, and high-yield variety seeds. African agriculture, by contrast, is overwhelmingly rain-fed, without the floodplains and monsoons to underpin large-scale irrigation. The African savannah, with its long dry seasons and irregular rainy seasons, is home to hundreds of millions of poor subsistence farmers and their families. Nor can these impoverished farm households afford fertilisers or improved seed varieties, especially in view of the vagaries of water availability.

Yet modern science now points the way to a 21st-century African green revolution. Improved water management combined with proven methods of replenishing Africa’s soil nutrients, and improved seeds adapted to African conditions, now make it possible for Africa to achieve the same agricultural breakthrough that Asia achieved two generations ago.

Powerful and practical solutions similarly exist for Africa’s great second challenge, the control of killer diseases. Africa’s children are dying of malaria, diarrhoea, respiratory infection, chronic under-nutrition, and the lack of neonatal care.

In many places, 200 of every 1,000 children die before their fifth birthday. With modern public health and medical practices, these children can be saved. And when they are saved, parents will choose to have fewer children, secure in the knowledge that they will survive. Reduced child mortality and slower population growth, surprisingly enough, go hand in hand.

The most immediate campaign should be against malaria, a disease that will claim perhaps 5,000 African children today. As the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has long shown, insecticide-treated bed nets to keep mosquitoes away, combined with effective medicines, can cut child mortality decisively. By 2008, it would be possible to halve the malaria deaths. But we would have to help Africa to finance the effort.

Africa’s third distinctive challenge is the lack of basic transport, power, and communications infrastructure. Africa’s farm families need all-weather roads to get fertiliser into the villages and crops out to the market. Africa’s villages need trucks to rush a dying child or mother in complicated labour to a district hospital. Africa’s small businesses need mobile phones to get the latest market quote. The necessary investments are clear, and not particularly complex.

Ending poverty is a grand moral task, and a geopolitical imperative, but at the core, it is a relatively straightforward investment proposition.—Dawn/Washington Post Service

The writer is director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, US.

The strategy of strikes

By Kunwar Idris

IN terms of the loss and misery a general strike ordinarily inflicts, the people are lucky to have gotten away lightly last weekend. When the religious parties called three strikes at short intervals during September and October of 2001 (to protest the American attack on Afghanistan and against the Musharraf administration for distancing itself from the Taliban) the mayhem caused was much greater. On a single day six persons died in Karachi alone.

People have a reason to be grateful to the sponsors of the April 2 strike for not using violence to enforce it and even more grateful to the government for not trying to break it by force. If strike as an expression of political dissent cannot be abandoned (although it would be instantly argued that it should be) its damage must be restricted to disruption of civic and economic activity and not extend to death and arson.

The controversy whether the Saturday’s strike was complete, partial or altogether a flop is unnecessary. The verdict on its extent and impact cannot be unanimous as it has never been in past strikes. What matters is whether it has achieved, or will ever achieve, the purpose for which it was launched. To determine this it would be helpful to recall the end result of some strikes of the past.

The first, and the most appropriate, to recall would be a series of strikes these very religious parties had staged in 2001. The enormous loss of life and property those strikes caused at home neither saved the Taliban regime nor provided any succour to the famished and brutalized people of Afghanistan. To the contrary, the government since then has firmly aligned itself with America in its war on terror.

Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan spearheaded a strike in February 1995 in support of the people of Kashmir. In the accompanying violence, 12 people died in Karachi, and more elsewhere. A year later, Nawaz Sharif’s government itself gave a strike call for the same cause to steal the opposition’s thunder. That sent the whole country on a holiday. Mercifully, no life was lost but the government’s gimmick, unprecedented in itself, cost the economy a few billions without in anyway diminishing the sufferings of Kashmiris or raising their hopes of freedom.

Three years later, in 1998, Karachi merchants pulled down their shutters for six consecutive days to protest against the high taxes and growing lawlessness. Ironically, more than 100 people died in the lawlessness their strike generated and the taxes, too, went up and not down.

The same year Altaf Husain’s MQM staged a series of strikes to draw attention to the perceived injustices done to the Mohajir community. Their strikes in urban Sindh were effective, no doubt. But now that the very party is on the side of the government the strike called by its religious rivals was no less effective in Karachi than it was elsewhere in the country.

The mastery of the MQM to plan and launch strikes then and its inability now to counter those launched by other, weaker parties in its stronghold highlights three essential facts. First, it is easier to enforce a strike than to defy it; second, making success of a strike is more a function of the organization and the muscle power of its sponsors than the popularity of the cause; and third, the poor and unemployed, always in majority, do not resist the strike even if they do not like it.

The success of a strike, thus, should not cause despondency to the government or other elements opposed to it for the advantage lies in favour of the strikers. Those in regular employment get paid whether they go to work or not and the shopkeepers and transporters would rather forego a day’s income than risk damage to their shops or vehicles.

The non-availability of transport provides yet another excuse to workers for not going to work. Daily wagers hope to make up the lost income by working on a holiday. Most of them, in any case, are employed on construction sites or in small establishments which generally remain unaffected by strikes.

Of importance, therefore, is not the success or failure of a strike but whether it helps to achieve the objective for which it is staged. The instances recounted earlier in this article have shown that however effective a strike or laudable its objective the intended purpose is never achieved. This conclusion is only reinforced by the result of the most successful extended protest strike of 1977.

Then, even though Mr Bhutto had conceded the demand of the combined opposition to hold fresh elections the prevailing chaos combined with intrigue gave General Ziaul Haq the opportunity to seize power. The contending political parties had created somewhat similar conditions through the 1990s for General Musharraf to assume control both of politics and governance.

Now, the MMA through a strategy of strike and siege is pursuing a self-defeating objective. The religious parties aspire to dislodge Musharraf who sits at the top of the political structure of which they are a part and which, but for their help, he would not have been able to put it together. If Musharraf goes, so too will his system and all those who occupy positions of power and privilege in it.

In other words, the parliament in which the religious groups hold the balance of power and their governments in the NWFP and Balochistan would not be able to outlive Musharraf. The events as they are shaping suggest that Musharraf has other choices for survival in power while the MMA has none. Its strikes and marches can create chaos but not bring about change to its advantage.

In the political turmoil of the 1990s Air Marshal Asghar Khan had suggested general elections every two years. Governments kept falling at shorter intervals but refused to call fresh elections in the hope of completing the full-term of five years. The same full-term obsession characterizes the Muslim League Q and its truant ally — the MMA. Asghar Khan is still around to repeat his advice. This time round it should be heard.

What the agitator and parliamentarians alike need to understand is that neither strikes nor “deals” will make the parliament and assemblies any more representative or the president and the prime minister more accountable than they are now. Only elections will. Politicians of all creeds, clerics included, need to have mandate reincurred as much as the president and the prime minister.

Changing public opinion and domestic and international developments have deprived them of whatever little representative character they all possessed through the poorly extended, manipulated elections of 2002.

If a strike can be justified under the current circumstances, it is only to compel the authority to appoint a chief election commissioner who neither sides with the government nor is intimidated by the opposition. We are unlucky to have had none answering this description since 1970. In India, all did. That is why, quarrels and corruption aside, India all along had elected governments while Pakistan has been foundering from one authoritarian regime to another and its politicians have been shuttling between the Supreme Court and the GHQ.

Gains and risks in Iraq

IRAQIS once again have defied their sceptics and taken an important step toward stabilizing their country under representative government.

A political accord among parties representing the country’s major ethnic and religious factions led to the election as president of Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, representative of a people once slaughtered with chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein. A Sunni politician was elected speaker of the national assembly; a new Shia prime minister has been chosen.

This breakthrough was significant, and took many weeks, for precisely the reasons that pessimists said it couldn’t happen: The interim Iraqi constitution forced the dominant Shias and minority Kurds to reach a consensus, while political pragmatism drove them to include Sunnis in their deal. While the hard bargaining dragged on, the Bush administration wisely refrained from overt intervention.

That means the choice of government sets a precedent of hard-headed cooperation among the Iraqi parties, one they will need if they are to cross the still-higher political hurdles that lie ahead.

The wide-open politicking, itself a welcome novelty in the Arab world, caused some to fret that Iraqis would again grow disillusioned after the high point of the January 30 elections, or that Sunni insurgents would grow stronger. The opposite seems to be true. A poll taken in late February and early March showed that 60 per cent of Iraqis believed the country is headed in the right direction, and almost as many expected the situation will “slowly” improve.

According to reports by American, British and Iraqi commanders, insurgent activity has fallen off in recent weeks; coalition casualties in March were the lowest in more than a year. Since late March there have been four major encounters between Iraqi and US forces and large groups of insurgents. But this too is mostly good news: Two of the battles were initiated by government forces, and all led to lopsided defeats for the insurgents.

In one indication that some Sunni leaders have given up on armed resistance to the new political order, 60 members of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars last week ordered their supporters to join the Iraqi army.

The challenges still to be met by Iraq’s emerging leadership during the rest of this year are so daunting as to inspire anxiety in any outside observer. A new constitution is due by August; that must be followed by a referendum in which authorities will have to win a majority in at least some Sunni- and Kurdish-populated provinces.

After that comes another national election for a permanent government. To reach this week’s accord Shia and Kurdish leaders put off potentially explosive problems that soon must be defused, like the future of the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk. They still are at the beginning of their efforts to reach an accommodation with Sunnis and prepare a national army that can turn back the insurgency with less help from US troops.

Failure remains a distinct possibility, and the skeptics may eventually be proved correct. For now, however, the situation in Iraq looks better than it has since that first flush of military success two years ago — and President Bush surely has learned enough since then not to mistake progress for “mission accomplished.”

— The Washington Post

Bureaucracy’s role in a democratic system

By Zafar Iqbal

MS Condoleezza Rice has exhorted or possibly admonished General Musharraf to hold free and fair elections in 2007. The only free and fair elections in Pakistan were in 1970 under Yahya Khan — who, incidentally, was no champion of democracy but for some reason decided to go through this process. One does not know why he refrained from managing the results of the elections but it seems that he probably did. Perhaps he was certain that no party would emerge with a majority.

What induced him to change the parity formula to one man one vote, giving a majority to East Pakistan for the foreseeable future, still remains a profound mystery. However, all subsequent elections have been managed by the executive, the worst being the 1977 elections, which were rigged and gave Mr. Bhutto’s opponents a chance to mount a major agitation, possibly with support from the CIA. Mr. Bhutto himself acknowledged this by offering the Opposition a certain number of seats. Negotiations, however, broke down.

After General Ziaul Haq took power, his referendum and subsequent elections appear to have been managed by the ISI and MI. Being more circumspect, they have generated less controversy compared to the civil administration under Mr. Bhutto.

If one assumes that we are trying to become a democracy — and it is a wild assumption given our previous track record — the higher civil service should be selected on merit, be apolitical, so that it is impartial in its conduct and is respected and has enough confidence in itself to be committed to the public good. Perfection will never be achieved but there are certain prerequisites, which can make such an outcome more likely. The most important is that the government in power has to decide that it wants free and fair elections which cannot be held without a neutral administrative system. So far, all governments, after 1958, have acted otherwise.

General Jehangir Karamat, in his ill-fated speech at the Navy Staff College in October 1998, recommended a “neutral, competent and secure bureaucracy and administration at the federal and provincial levels.” However, no attempt has been made by the present (military) government to do anything about improving the performance of the civil service. Their answer seems to be to infiltrate it with as many military personnel as possible. As the military is the party in power — this is just patronage. How can they be expected to be neutral? They are also not likely to be an improvement on civilians.

In the early years of Pakistan, many of the best and the brightest opted for government service. The exceptions were often the Oxbridge educated and well-connected who preferred service with multinationals, mainly because of the salary differential. Also, because the multinationals probably preferred important connections over the ability to pass exams. There were, of course, exceptions either way. With the passage of time, the salary differential between the public and private sectors increased and young men began to look for careers elsewhere, especially after the IBA at Karachi was set up.

The system was structured in parallel with the arrangements across the border, which means there were two elite groups: the so-called administrative service or civil service personnel and those of the foreign service. The other superior services performed rather limited functions and their pay and prospects were also somewhat lower. there are pros and cons of such an arrangement.

The main argument in favour was that a society prone to sycophancy, nepotism and ethnic considerations, an elite initially selected on merit was likely to perform better than a free-for-all amongst a large number of competing individuals. The downside is that the elite chosen in this manner may not be uniformly the best because people do get left behind in the examinations and selection process who may otherwise be more competent. Besides, if the elite remain a little too exclusive, there is disaffection among other employees, which leads to another set of problems.

In the Bhutto reforms of 1973, the elite nature of the two services was abolished and everyone brought at par. With regard to promotion and prospects, the political government had the right to do more or less what it pleased. Senior civil servants could be retired at will and the jurisdiction of the High Court was removed. In its place an administrative tribunal was created, for all practical purposes, under the control of the Establishment Division.

This arrangement offered complete control over all public servants. Even upright and dignified senior civil servants were reduced overnight to errand boys. This bore its bitter fruit in the elections which, in turn, resulted in extremely unpleasant consequences for Mr. Bhutto.

In view of present attitudes how is General Musharraf going to ensure free and fair elections? Possibly, he will ask the ISI and MI to do this although their experience has been exactly the opposite. The Election Commission, generally headed by an important representative of the Supreme Court, has not covered itself with glory during the last thirty years. How do we get a strong and independent Election Commission? To add to the complications, the present arrangement of devolution will further muddy the election process as the nazims will do their best to support their political affiliates. To say that the nazims are elected on a non-party basis and, therefore, have no party political affiliations, is a delusion. In today’s political dispensation the number of independents have declined and will probably continue to do so.

Something could have been saved from the wreckage if a competent and upright management had been put in place. Unfortunately, the NRB seems to have had a deep dislike for the deputy commissioner; one doesn’t know whether it was motivated by ideology or because of some unpleasant personal indignity suffered at the hands of one or more pompous DCs.

Given the process through which people succeeded in the CSS exam, this could easily happen. The successful candidates were usually the bright boys who, after passing out, were more often than not offered teaching jobs i their colleges or universities. They continued to lead a sheltered life. When inducted into the service, they had had no contact with the real world.

The entrants into the CSP felt that they had achieved nirvana. They probably thought they already knew everything and there was nothing left to learn. The greatest achievement in life was to become a DC/DM. This was incidentally not true of the British ICS where a long serving district officer was derisively called a “clodhopping collector” — dull, diligent, dedicated, unimaginative, distant and pompous towards natives, as required by imperial policy.

The Pakistan CSP officer tended to model himself on the same lines forgetting the fact that he was also a native. It was the result of a serious lapse in the training process. We were taught criminal law, civil law, revenue law, the Evidence Act, etc. But there was no discussion of how the framework within which the civil service operated after independence had changed.

We were no longer merely servants of the government but employees of that abstraction known as the state which was sovereign and was supposed to be democratic. I came face to face with this problem when I took over my first subdivision. My predecessor had left a confidential note for me.

Amongst other things it had a section on prominent citizens. They were divided into three categories: (i) unreliable, (ii) to be used with caution and (iii) reliable. I was mystified by this classification. Since one wasn’t supposed to have any political affiliation, what were citizens supposed to be used for? However,it didn’t take longer me to realize where such thoughts had originated. It was how to deal with the “natives.” It was what a British officer would do when passing on the baton of rule to his successor.

I have mentioned the CSP because they and the DMG were the people who came most in contact with the public. Members of other services have rather more limited and specific operations — but in their own way they are not necessarily any better in their attitudes.

However, whatever their shortcomings, the summary elimination of the DC is likely to result in worse governance. Of course, some adjustments would have been necessary in view of the new local government set-up. Given our social conditions, it was belatedly realized that law and order could not be handed over to the nazims. As a result, the police have been given complete independence. Since police brutality is practically an international phenomenon, various toothless committees to look into complaints against the police have been formed to take care of their excesses. The DC being the man on the spot generally had a restraining influence.

Free and fair elections are not possible without a neutral administrative infrastructure. The system can be put on the path of improvement without major changes. It is the intent which will be decisive. The critical issues as General Karamat pointed out, are security, competence and (political) neutrality. These are determined by conditions of service, including financial and non-financial incentives, together with selection procedures for entrance and promotion. They have to be substantially independent of political influence, which the Indians appear to have achieved, but which we obviously do not like.