Is Pakistan to be governed according to the will of the people of Pakistan – without manipulation by U.S. coercion, finance, or propaganda – or to the wishes of American business, industry, and finance? This is the key dilemma of U.S. foreign policy in Pakistan (and elsewhere): what mixture, in other words, of capitalism and democracy should the U.S. promote? The U.S. Senate has recently amended the Kerry-Lugar Bill to undermine what little democracy (and “good governance”) remains in Pakistan so as to promote (American) capitalism, by providing explicitly for the input of Americans (albeit of Pakistani origin) in the imperial governance of Pakistan. For the discontents of the emerging U.S. practice of governing through expatriates see, for example, “Should Expatriates Govern?”
According to a Pakistani NGO, Accountability Watch: (1) “Mr. Azam Swati, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Science and Technology has claimed that almost half the members of Parliament are ineligible to hold their office as they hold the citizenship of other countries,” and (2) “Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan said on Thursday that the draft of the new accountability law had been finalised according to which no politician would be arrested or disqualified under Ehtesab. He said the draft seeks to do away with disqualification of politician merely on charges of corruption. ” This is being done with the full knowledge and encouragement of the United States of America. The Americans were also instrumental in providing amnesty to politicians, and civil and military bureaucrats in Pakistan, who were guilty of embezzling billions of dollars of public funds [see here, here, here, here, and here, among innumerable reports], and possibly of the murder of foreign citizens [see here, here, and here] and other terrorist activities.
It is in this perspective that we note that on 24 June 2009 the Kerry-Lugar Bill (formally, the ‘Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009’) was passed in the US Senate. This (the “Engrossed in Senate”) version of the Bill now goes on to be voted on in the House of Representatives. It should be kept in mind that debate may take place on a companion bill in the House – the Berman Bill – rather than on this particular bill. The Berman Bill (formally, the “Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2009 or the PEACE Act of 2009”) was “Introduced in House” [pdf] on 2 April 2009; was reported by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on 20 May 2009 (with two amendments); and passed the House (“Reported in House”) on 11 June 2009 [pdf], when it was sent to be voted on by the Senate. The two bills will now be reconciled in a final version to be sent to the president for signature.
Significantly, when compared to the original (“Introduced in Senate”) version of the Kerry-Lugar Bill (the original text as it was written by its sponsors and submitted on 4 May 2009 to the Senate, and was referred to the Committee on Foreign relations), a new sub-section has been added to Section 9 (“Sense of Congress) of the Bill:
“[… the United States should – …] (5) explore means to consult with and utilize the relevant expertise and skills of the Pakistani-American community.” (Emphasis added.)
This new sub-section was added by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to whom the Bill was referred on introduction, and appears in the 16 June 2009 (“Reported in Senate”) version of the Bill that was sent by the Committee to the Senate. This reflects, no doubt, lobbying by Pakistani expatriates who are unable to find a role in governance of the United States, due to deep-rooted racial, national, and religious prejudice.
In legislative drafting, the expression “Sense of Congress” is used to provide the purpose or intent of law. While not law itself, the intent of law constitutes a statement of policy (that, inter alia, is relied upon to guide action in areas where the law itself may be silent). Section 9 of the Bill now reads:
SEC. 9. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
It is the sense of Congress that the United States should—
(1) recognize the bold political steps the Pakistan electorate has taken during a time of heightened sensitivity and tension in 2007 and 2008 to elect a new civilian government, as well as the continued quest for good governance and the rule of law under the elected government in 2008 and 2009;
(2) seize this strategic opportunity in the interests of Pakistan as well as in the national security interests of the United States to expand its engagement with the Government and people of Pakistan in areas of particular interest and importance to the people of Pakistan;
(3) continue to build a responsible and reciprocal security relationship taking into account the national security interests of the United States as well as regional and national dynamics in Pakistan to further strengthen and enable the position of Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally; and
(4) seek ways to strengthen our countries’ mutual understanding and promote greater insight and knowledge of each other’s social, cultural and historical diversity through personnel exchanges and support for the establishment of institutions of higher learning with international accreditation.
(5) explore means to consult with and utilize the relevant expertise and skills of the Pakistani-American community.
This formalises the new style of imperial governance in which Expatriate citizens (and/or residents) of foreign origins are used to govern their home countries on behalf of America, and nationals who collaborate with America in governing their countries are provided foreign citizenship and/or residence. In the first category, in Pakistan, Moeen Qureshi and Shaukat Aziz have been prime ministers; S. J. Burki, adviser to the prime minister (de facto finance minister); and possibly, Asif Ali Zardari, president, among numerous others. In the second, Pervez Musharraf has recently relocated to Britain, where he joins Altaf Husain (a British citizen), among numerous others.
The shifting sands of styles in imperial governance have not gone unnoticed in Pakistan, as politicians and bureaucrats (retired; the serving ones have to make do with being nice to US officials stationed in or visiting Pakistan) have become frequent visitors to the emerging power-brokers in Washington, DC. Thus, for example, recent visitors (who seem to share much of the American vocabulary, narrative, and perspective of Pakistan) invited by the Pakistani-American scholar, Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council, include:
- Syed Fakhar Imam, a respected politician presently with the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, who is said to have spoken about building consensus within Pakistan’s political system, in addition to pleading for U.S. aid [US Must Bolster Aid to Help Pakistan: Fakhar Imam]; and
- Retired General Jehangir Karamat, a distiguished military officer, former Chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 1998, and head of a Lahore-based think tank called Spearhead Research, who is said to have discussed the challenges [of militancy] facing Pakistan’s army, while also endorsing the view that “the large amount of international assistance being offered to Pakistan is a positive opportunity for the country to ‘get its act together’.” (See also, “Pakistan can meet challenges with world support”.) [Listen to Podcast: mp3.]
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