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Governance!

Conventional solutions of reorganization of existing institutions would


entail preparing plans for them. The solution offered is not conventional and as
such does not run along these lines. The plans are for new mechanisms to
replace existing overstaffed, incompetent, out of date Ministries, Departments
and other organs of governance.
For meaningful and positive change to take place, a different approach will
have to be used. Take the example of a large and rambling structure with many
rooms and halls. The structure is obsolete, has ill served the inhabitants, assailed
from within and without and is falling down. Is it possible to remodel the existing
structure with all its baggage? Is sudden change viable? Does it not entail
disruption of existing governance which, despite all its shortcomings and sins of
commission and omission, yet serves to employ thousands of Pakistani citizens
and (mis) regulates day to affairs, no matter how inefficiently?
The beauty of the proposed change is that it is non-disruptive,
evolutionary and in complete conformity with the Spirit of Islam. The All Mighty
Allah, being the Divine Creator, Best Knows His Creation and shows us an
evolutionary path towards progress. This is true physically, mentally,
economically, socially and spiritually.
We are all agreed that the current setup is totally unable to deliver
progress and prosperity. We also know that there is a fundamental gap in
Governance at the very basic level of society that leads to a free for all
dispensation, exploited only by the Power Elite for their own purposes. Are we
also aware that there exist Statutory Laws enshrined in the Constitution of
Pakistan to cover this gap? I refer to the Local Government Ordnance. Here
Governance is supposed to be devolved to the Village/ Mohallah level as a
prerequisite to Union; District; Provincial and National representation, which
precede elections of Minority, Female and Senatorial seats.
I suppose that from the top of Mount Olympus “Grass Roots” would be the
District level. However, Grass roots are Village/Ward or Mohalla level Councils.
The Devolution of Power to District Level on the part of the previous Government
was a step that did not go far enough to address mal-administration and
incompetent Governance. This is nothing but a manifestation of ruler and ruled
mentality. If we truly wish to empower our populace we must take this fact into
account.
The V/MDCs geographical units are small enough to render close
proximity and participation between Governance and Governed. This ensures
that administration is held accountable by being only a few minutes away from
those who are immediate affectees of administration. The establishment of
mutually competitive small time potentates is no solution to our problems.
Persons who are responsible for development and expend funds must reside in
an area that is small enough to be within easy access of the inhabitants of that
area. Secondly they must be of a level and stature that is approachable by the
people.
When the inhabitants of a Union Council can reach the door of their
representatives within minutes. When these people can react to wrong doings on
the part of those elected by them. When Administrators have no alternative or
means of avoiding those who have elected them. When social cohesiveness has
been attained through Associations and Networks. They will perforce have to
keep a clean nose.
When elected representatives have smaller problems to deal with. When
population levels are small enough to be dealt with. When ostentation and lavish
expenditure cannot remain hidden. Then and only then will Devolution be of any
consequence.
Tiers of Governance from Union Council to District to Regional to
Provincial and finally Federal Level will impart the necessary Checks and
Balances and provide ample opportunity to ensure monitoring; supervision and
external audit. At the same time the threat to provincial autonomy will be
removed. National integration will be ensured and true development will result. In
order to achieve all this we will have to work out the duties and responsibilities of
each tier of Governance. This does not mean unnecessary duplication and red
tapism. It means that Human Rights will have to be respected. We at the Khidmat
Foundation (NGO) have worked out such a plan and wish to be afforded the
opportunity to present it.
Further to the above concept there is the major issue of true
representation. True democracy or the rule of the maximum number of the
populace is not served by eliminating those who garner less support than others.
Does this not signify the disenfranchisement of large chunks of the populace?
This leads to disaffection on the part of those who fail to achieve representation.
For example in a population of 10,000 souls we witness the following results.
Come election time only 4,000 people cast their votes. Of these say 1,000 vote
for the leading candidate, 800 vote for the second place and 700 for the third
candidate. The rest are divided in small numbers. Do we mean to say that the
candidate supported by 10 % of the populace is a true representative of the
area? Certainly not! Representation that is meaningful will include the first three
in a council of representatives with voting rights in proportion to the number of
votes that they receive This is democracy and true representation! Opposition
members will be able to keep a strict watch upon the activities of each other. To
avoid deadlocks the leading member will the casting vote. This is
enfranchisement! To claim otherwise is merely eyewash.
I strongly urge the “Powers That Be” to review their intentions and make
sure that they know what they are doing. The process of “Selection” and
manipulation has got to stop. After all it has never worked before.
Those who uphold Western Democracy as an ideal are perhaps not aware
of the fact that they promote the rule of the largest minority instead of the
majority.The first and foremost hurdle that we encounter in any Development
oriented situation is “Who will Bell The Cat!” Populist Democracy as practiced by
most Countries rapidly degenerates into an Oligarchy or rule of the rich. This is
due to the fact that a materialistic society is soon enthralled by a display of
wealth to attract or even to purchase votes. Secondly, it is apparent that in a
polarized society, actual voter analysis soon draws the conclusion that this
Democracy is actually rule of the largest minority and not one of the majority.
This is exposed in a situation of say one hundred registered voters, forty five
percent turnout and five candidates. The leading candidate gets twenty votes, the
second gets sixteen votes, the third gets five, the fourth gets three and the fifth
gets one vote. Are we expected to believe that twenty percent is a majority? Are
not eighty percent unrepresented?
Those who claim that Islam has not enunciated a clear method of
Governance are sadly lacking in insight and knowledge. Vested interests soon
usurped power and cast the true methodology of Governance into obscurity.
Islam promotes participatory and egalitarian systems of Governance by
consensus as opposed to exclusivist, highly competitive oligarchies (rule of the
rich) disguised as democracies or representative Governance. For example in a
population of one hundred (or any number) if they are five candidates and forty
percent abstain from voting. If twenty five percent vote for one, fifteen percent for
another and the rest (twenty percent) are divided between the remaining three
candidates. The person who garners twenty five percent of the votes is deemed
to be successful. Is this not unfair to the remaining seventy five percent? This
system soon degenerates into voter buying, conflicts and rivalries and promotion
of divide and rule policies on the part of external and internal vested interests.
Technocratic responsibilities are undertaken by those who are unqualified for
these positions and the question arises as to why they vie for election and the
holding of power. Can we divorce human psychology from practical matters? As
referred to before those who are under the sway of the lower or animal self
commanding to evil, the Nafs-e-Ammara, are usually at the forefront in seeking
election and dominance in direct opposition to Islamic injunctions. For those who
object to this statement by citing the example of so called “Religious Parties” in
the fracas that is called Politics, are easily answered by the words “Beware Lest
The Nafs assume the garb of Piety”. This situation is the worst condition that a
person can fall into, in other words that of being wrong and yet convinced of
being right and that too with Divine Sanction.
As an alternate, a system that uncovers the Centrality or Nexus of Trust
within Society is called for. This fairly or unfairly competitive atmosphere that
prevails within society has to be eradicated if we are to exist as a society. The
questionable intents of those who pitch themselves into the Political arena; the
vast expenses incurred upon elections; voter buying; coercion; subversion by
local and foreign intelligence agencies; the ill will generated by competition and
the requirement to recoup expenses incurred by those who win, show ample
need for reform. Page Rank Algorithm is one such method for uncovering
centrality. This algorithm is used to rank web sites. As a graphic illustration in the
society of one hundred voters cited above with the same turn out, each voter is
required to select a minimum of five individuals. At the end of the exercise the
results go through various software of statistical and social network analysis. A
graphic illustration of selection and grouping is made. The person who received
the most votes and also the trends of voting as well as interconnectedness of
each voter is graphically displayed as an interlocking grid or network. The center
most five individuals in the network are selected to form an executive committee
to run the affairs of the community. They are free to form sub committees of
those qualified for various activities pertinent to that society (agriculture, trade
etc.). Accountability is inbuilt into the system as a repeat of the exercise
immediately reveals whether the committee members have lost the position of
trust due to any reason or retained it by excelling. This method relieves society
from division and promotes cohesion. Here consensus and taking society along
is rewarded and the opposite is soon exposed and disposed.

timurdata
Created from poll data gathered by Sirdar Timur Hyat-Khan and Contact Youth in
Islamabad Pakistan, June, 2005. Mark Rosst processed the data with NetDraw.
Groups were colored using the Newman/Girvan algorithm. Image is public
domain.

Structural Deep Democracy or SD2 as named by Mark Rostt, the


originator of this method, uses PageRank as a centrality algorithm to analyze
votes to determine the center of TRUST and CONSENT in a human trust
network.
PageRank is an algorithm that allows the participants to determine who
the best leaders are, eliminating the popularity game of conventional populistic-
democracy. SD2 uses PageRank to select the top three or five to lead such an
organization with one of them as the executive and then keeps those leaders
accountable with frequent rank recalculations. This creates a small and efficient
locus of trust and accountability.
PageRank allows members to vote their conscience without wasted votes
and analyzes the deep structure of votes to find the coordinators that would be
most likely to represent the values of the community as a whole.
The philosophy of SD2 is "Deep Democracy" - which centers on the idea
that minority opinion should be respected. SD2 takes this two-steps further - not
only will leadership be replaced if it doesn't respect minority opinion, but minority
opinion can actually be decisive.
Our Political scenario almost always has aggressive "strongman” types -
who are more than willing to bully and steam-roll peaceful people. "Strongman
tactics can often impress ignorant common people, and can often lead to
"strongmen” acquiring leadership positions with populistic-democratic selection
processes. SD2 is ELITIST and non-populistic - SD2 is designed to
MARGINALIZE would-be bullies and "strongmen” oppressors and give
spiritual/intellectuals a selective advantage. This is ensured by uncovering the
*flow-betweenness* ranking within an interactive grouping.
If this method were used in the very basic population grouping of Villages
or Wards (urban) it would be true Devolution to empower such organizations to
ensure self-rule and “Localization”. With inspired Leadership and an agreed
minimum agenda, self-reliance through basic economy generation can be
ushered in and maintained through a rapidly evolving “Globalization” via the IT
Revolution.
This should serve to unmask the charade of “Devolution” to Union
Councils, which are not the Grass Roots! This exercise has merely served to
ensure that all the inherent flaws, drawbacks and evils that existed at Provincial
and National Levels are transferred to Union and District Levels as well as
creating tension between the two. The effort towards Devolution should have
been taken to its logical conclusion to the real Grass Roots at Village or
Neighborhood level. Vested interests may hide behind a screen of campaigning
for Provincial Rights and declaring scarcity of capacity within local populations to
be a limiting factor rendering them incapable of being masters of their own fates.
An appeal is made to all right thinking individuals to cast aside the veils of
prejudice and self-interest and take into account the sorry state of the
environment and the fact that over 30 % of our population is faced with
malnutrition! If this was a condition that was inescapable, it could be borne with
resignation. When there is plenty of room for improvement and only a matter of
getting our act together under a reappraised and visionary program for
attainment of Prosperity that is in conformity with 21st Century requirements and
capable of overcoming the challenges we face as a Nation. If present trends are
taken into account we are likely to face stressful conditions in the near future,
conditions that will persist for a long period of time. Fortunately humanity is even
today quite capable of rising to meet these challenges in an adequate manner.
All that s needed is to harness and tap the vast potential that lies within our
Human and Natural Resources.