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Election funding, India-Pakistan jigsaw mash up

September 7, 2009 1 comment

Army Chief Mirza Aslam Baig had advised the ISI in September 1990 that it should give logistic support to transfer of funds from the business community in Karachi to the IJI during the 1988 election, the report stated.

Durrani said in the affidavit that he opened several bank accounts in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Quetta, the daily reported. A man from Karachi called Younus Habib had deposited Rs140 million in one of the accounts in Karachi. Some of the amount had been transferred to the accounts in Quetta and Rawalpindi and the rest to a special fund, according to the report.

According to the affidavit, submitted before the apex court on July 24, 1994, former caretaker PM Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi received Rs 5 million, former Sindh Chief Minister Jam Sadiq Rs 5 million, former Prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo Rs 2.5 million, Nawaz Sharif Rs 3.5 million, the Jamaat-e-Islami Rs 5 million, and Lt Gen Rafaqat Rs 5.6 million for managing the media campaign. There were many other names on the affidavit. (via Nawaz, others got money from ISI: Pak ex-CJ).

Power, pelf and wealth

Bribes to politicians are neither unique or a monopoly to Pakistan. Funding of power struggles is a part of polity – and is more a problem of the structuring election funding, rather than the moral fibre of politicians.

The Lodis from Afghanistan, petty horse traders, regained India from West Asian invaders. The Lodis could do this, by reducing the cost of raising an army. Being horse traders, they access to low cost horses, essential for a large cavalry-based armed forces of the time.

The Afghan Lodis ended the short 200 year stint in Delhi by the frequently defeated West-Asian invaders. Western historians have painted the Lodis as Islamic conquerors – without differentiating between Indian-Muslim rulers and West Asian Muslim rulers. Afghanistan was last ruled by the rulers of Punjab – Maharaja Ranjit Singh, till about 1830s.

This brings to mind two things.

Political funding in the West

All political systems must necessarily create a system for funding access to power. ‘Modern’ democracies have no systemic channel for funding. Those who follow the ‘system’ – are left behind by those who break it.

The Roosevelt family fortune was built on opium ‘trade’ with China. The Kennedy families fortune was built on initially bootlegging (smuggling alcohol) and Wall Street shenanigans (sold all his shares just before  the Wall Street Crash) and Hollywood capers (Alexander Pantages affaire). In each case, he turned legal – and started a alcoholic-beverage distribution company (Somerset Importers), SEC Chairman, Ambassador to Britain.

He ensured his son, JFK, became the only and ever, Catholic President of the USA. Behind Robert Kennedy’s appointment appointments as SEC head and Ambassador to Britain, was FDR – whose own family fortune was made by marrying rich and opium ‘trade’. Takes one to know one.

The much whispered and well-known funding of political parties by the Reliance Group or the well-oiled PR machine of the Tatas in India are another example.

Funding of Elections

A simple expedient would be to set up a tax-payer funded corpus, for each Parliamentary, State Legislature and local Government constituency – which would get proportionately divided between the top 5-7 candidates, based on votes polled – subject to a ‘clean’ record.

Based on a 500 (central Government), 5000 (state legislature) and 50,000 (local Government) constituencies, and a corpus of Rs.5000 crores each for Central /State /Local Government politicians, to be distributed every five years, would immediately clean up Indian politics and bring in a whole new breed of politicians. The annual cost of such funding will be Rs.3000 crores at current cost – which is far lower than the estimated ‘bribes’ that Indian politicians presumably collect.

To believe that a nation can depend on a constant supply of Tilaks, Boses, Gandhis, Vinoba Bhaves, et al is niether real nor possible.

Can Pakistani business clean up Pakistan

The other thing is the use of Pakistani business interests to clean up Pakistan. Mahbub Al Haq made a famous 22 families in Pakistan speech – which detailed how some 22 families in Pakistan control the Pakistani economy. India can provide a huge market, opportunity and growth to Pakistani businesses.

Is there a coherent anti-terrorism strategy? Is Indian diplomacy engaged with this segment of Pakistan – to find ways to clean up Pakistan. Are Indian banks, consortium-members that fund Pakistani businesses – which are on a “White’ list?

Or Indian diplomacy too busy engaging with the Unca Sam and the West?

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