Leadership Gaps and Preferences:
Impediments and Inroads in Pursuance of Democracy in the Middle East

***By: Gholam Mujtaba, Ed.D., M.D. ****

I was invited to address the elites of Houston in 2012, and was asked to respond to a question by Judge Aneeta Jamal of the 34th District Court as to why autocracy or military dictators have ruled quite a number of times in the Middle Eastern region, particularly Pakistan.

I responded with an example of the Chinese food, which when cooked in the United States is blended to an American taste, it is blended to a Middle Eastern taste in Dubai, and Indian spicy taste in India and Pakistan. This change of blend in the same food, brings acceptability to the cultural intricacy of a region.

American democracy didn’t come immediate to the declaration of independence in 1776, nor after the ratification of the constitution in 1788. Most states in the M.E. (Middle East) with the exception of Israel is yet to benefit from a government of the people, where liberty, equality and fraternity is protected. Literacy rate and awareness among the populace has a lot to do in bringing rightful democracy.

India, Pakistan and Israel got their independence around the same time, yet the fate of democracy varies in those three nations. These states faced domestic strife and external threats, yet the success rate differs among them. What is the missing element that brings a difference in their economic growth, scientific advancements and technological edge?

The best current example is that of America. In little over 200 years of the declaration of independence, it emerged as the sole global superpower with above 30% of world’s consumer market, the leading GDP per capita of 57,084 dollars, and the highest global trade volume of 4 trillion dollars daily.
This sets an example for others to follow.

The two fundamental tools needed to succeed in the comity of nation are Leadership and Rule of Law. Vision, values, wisdom and integrity are few of the important traits expected of a leader. Family upbringing, and past contributions reflect all of that, without having to struggle much in identifying a right leadership.

“Sun never sets in the British empire”, was true in its very essence where 1861 Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 invoked an equal and uniform law of jurisdiction for Indians and the Britons in the British colonial empire. People in the region acknowledge the benefits of rule of law under British governance., though they ruled the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947, a little under 100 years.

The absence of a visible diversity in a given population promotes radicalism, bigotry and hate. This intensifies or heightens cruelty targeted against minorities which is manifested in both India and Pakistan, whereas Israel has 25% of Israeli Arab population which makes the population tolerant within the state. The higher the diversity, the virtuous the society is found to be. This is evident from the world crime index of 2018, which shows Pakistan higher at number 31, India lower at 55 and Israel further bellow at 81 in a list of 115 nations. Whereas in the list of most corrupt nations in the Transparency International, Pakistan is above India and Israel at 117, followed by 81 and 32 in a list of 180 nations. Interestingly, Pakistan has 3% of the minority population, which amounts to the least number of such population as opposed to India and Israel.

The pathogenesis of hate, intolerance and bigotry seems to be linked to a lack of genuine leadership, absence of equal justice, truancy in democracy and short of diversity in the populace. Invoking democracy, upholding principles of justice and nurturing leadership vision can bring peace and harmony in the Middle East.

Rigged elections and controlled democracy are antithesis to a peaceful Middle East.

*** Dr. Gholam Mujtaba has had a long career in politics across America and Pakistan. Currently, a Central Leader to the Republican Party of the United States of America and Chairman of Pakistani Policy Institute, USA, he is an expert on conflict management and Pakistani leadership. He holds a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership and a Doctorate in Medicine. Recipient of the United States Congressional Recognition Award in 2015, Dr. Mujtaba has previously held such highly regarded positions as the Central Vice President of the All Pakistan Muslim League and an Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh, a cabinet position in Pakistan.

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