Pakistan called ‘bonsai democracy’ in London seminar
The recent removal of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister was seen as another example of Pakistan allegedly having a “bonsai democracy” at a seminar here that was addressed by academics from Britain and the United States.
The event organised on Thursday by the Democracy Forum saw robust exchanges between speakers and a section of the audience that opposed viewing Pakistan in critical terms. The forum is headed by Charles Bruce (Liberal Democrats), a member of the House of Lords.
Farzana Shaikh, a Pakistani-origin fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, described Pakistan as a “bonsai democracy” or a state restricted by its environment: “Nowhere has this been more keenly felt in recent times than in the dismissal of Nawaz Sharif.”
According to Christine Fair, associate professor at Washington’s Georgetown University, Sharif was ousted in a “judicial coup”. She did not see the Pakistani judiciary as independent, but as “a new condominium emerging" between the army and the Supreme Court.
“The army has to develop new tools to keep pruning the grass of democracy, to prevent it from taking root in Pakistan,” she added.
Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court last month for being dishonest while declaring his assets. The court gave its ruling in the Panama Papers case after a joint investigation team probed the Sharif family’s assets.
Lawrence Sáez of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) said he “initially considered the ousting of the corrupt Nawaz Sharif as a positive step”, but had since revised the view “since it increased unaccountability in Pakistan”.
Burzine Waghmar, also based at SOAS, highlighted the alleged complicity of Pakistan’s deep state with the “pick up and dump routine” while trying to suppress the freedom struggle in Balochistan province.
Marie Carine-Lall of London University’s Institute of Education user her research to say: “Democracy does not seem to be the system of choice among the young in Pakistan and there is a tendency towards a pro-order and/or pro-army view, especially among the more educated youth.”
An 18-year-old gunman shot dead 14 children and a teacher at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday, the state's governor said. The assailant "shot and killed, horrifically and incomprehensibly, 14 students and killed a teacher," Governor Greg Abbott told a news conference. He said the shooting suspect, a local teenager, was also "deceased," adding that "it is believed that responding officers killed him."
A leak of thousands of photos and official documents from China's Xinjiang has shed new light on the violent methods used to enforce mass internment in the region, researchers said Tuesday. Activists say Chinese authorities have detained more than one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in a network of detention centres and prisons in the region, which Beijing has defended as training centres.
As many as 200 bodies were found in the basement of an apartment building in Mariupol after workers dug through the debris, authorities said Tuesday even as Russian forces were conducting an all-out assault to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin cities straddling a river in eastern Ukraine - a battle which could determine the success or failure of Moscow's main campaign in the east.
The first African to head the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was re-elected Tuesday with overwhelming support after running unopposed for a second term. Sources in the room said he had received 155 of the 160 votes cast. "I am a child of war," he said, the emotion palpable in his voice. "Not only a child of war, but following me throughout," said Tedros. Peace "is a prerequisite for health", he added.
Here are today's top news, analysis, and opinion. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from Hindustan Times. Andhra minister's house set ablaze amid protest against district's renaming The houses of Andhra Pradesh minister Pinipe Vishwaroop and MLA Ponnada Satish were set on fire as protests against the change of Konaseema district's name turned violent on Tuesday, local reports indicate.