Transition Tests: Pakistan In Election Mode: The Hindu Editorial

Transition Tests: Pakistan In Election Mode: The Hindu Editorial
Transition Tests: Pakistan In Election Mode: The Hindu Editorial

The appointment of a caretaker Prime Minister in Pakistan, under whom the country will face general elections on July 25, sets the stage for the second consecutive transfer of power from one civilian government to another. This in itself is a landmark for democracy in Pakistan, where no civilian Prime Minister has completed a full term in office; only in 2013 did a government complete its full tenure for the first time. The choice of Nasirul Mulk, a former Chief Justice, as caretaker Prime Minister has been welcomed across the spectrum, with leaders of the main political parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Jamaat-e-Islami, issuing statements commending outgoing Pakistan Muslim League (N) Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s decision. During his time in the Supreme Court, Justice Mulk heard several contentious constitutional matters, including one in which a sitting Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, was summoned on contempt charges in 2012. He was also on the seven-judge bench that issued a restraining order against the then all-powerful President, Pervez Musharraf, in 2007. In 2013-14 he served as the acting Chief Election Commissioner, which will hold him in good stead in his task of taking Pakistan through free and fair polls and conducting necessary government business in the interim in an impartial manner. However, Justice Mulk and his caretaker Cabinet will have crises to deal with over the next two months. To begin with, Pakistan is set to be placed on the grey list by the international terror financing watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force, at its plenary session in June. The second issue is internal but stems from the same problem: Pakistan faces the danger of terrorists and extremists being ‘mainstreamed’ into the electoral arena and marginalising the political centre, which is already missing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after his disqualification from public office by the Supreme Court. Hafiz Saeed’s Milli Muslim League has already gone to court to demand recognition. Security during the campaign will also be a challenge. Earlier this month, an attack on the PML(N) office in Karachi and an assassination attempt on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal underlined just how serious the threat is to politicians. As caretaker Prime Minister, Justice Mulk will be also required to steady the economy. A balance of payments crisis, for which the outgoing government has reportedly asked Beijing for a loan of $1 billion to $2 billion, will add to Pakistan’s burgeoning debt on account of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The caretaker regime has its task cut out, and it will need internal support and that of its neighbours and the world community. The successful completion of the exercise will be a positive signal for all of South Asia as well, with Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, India and Afghanistan (in that order) all due for elections over the next year.

1) Consecutive
Meaning: Following each other continuously.
Example: “Five consecutive months of serious decline”
Synonyms: Successive, Succeeding.
2) Tenure
Meaning: The holding of an office.
Example: “His tenure of the premiership would be threatened”
Synonyms: Incumbency, Term of office.
3) Spectrum
Meaning: Used to classify something in terms of its position on a scale between two extreme points.
Example: “The left or the right of the political spectrum”
4) Commending
Meaning: Present as suitable for approval or acceptance; recommend.
Example: “I commend her to you without reservation”
Synonyms: Recommend, Suggest.
5) Contentious
Meaning: Causing or likely to cause an argument; controversial.
Example: “A contentious issue”
Synonyms: Controversial, Disputable.
6) Summoned
Meaning: Order (someone) to be present.
Example: “A waiter was summoned”
Synonyms: Send for, Call for.
7) Contempt
Meaning: The offence of being disobedient to or disrespectful of a court of law and its officers.
Example: “When he was found to have lied to the House this was a contempt”
8) Restrain
Meaning: Prevent (someone or something) from doing something; keep under control or within limits.
Example: “The need to restrain public expenditure”
Synonyms: Prevent, Stop.
9) Stead
Meaning: The place or role that someone or something should have or fill (used in referring to a substitute).
Example: “You wish to have him superseded and to be appointed in his stead”
10) Interim
Meaning: The intervening time.
Example: “In the interim I’ll just keep my fingers crossed”
Synonyms: Meantime, Meanwhile.
11) Impartial
Meaning: Treating all rivals or disputants equally.
Example: “The minister cannot be impartial in the way that a judge would be”
Synonyms: Unbiased, Unprejudiced.
12) Crisis
Meaning: A time of intense difficulty or danger.
Example: “The current economic crisis”
Synonyms: Catastrophe, Calamity.
13) Grey list
Meaning: The grey list is composed of firms working with the investment bank, often in matters of mergers and acquisitions.
14) Plenary
Meaning: (Of a meeting) to be attended by all participants at a conference or assembly, who otherwise meet in smaller groups.
Example: “A plenary session of the European Parliament”
Synonyms: Full, Fully constituted.
15) Stems
Meaning: Originate in or be caused by.
Example: “Many of the universities’ problems stem from rapid expansion”
Synonyms: Have its origins in, Arise from.
16) Mainstream
Meaning: The ideas, attitudes, or activities that are shared by most people and regarded as normal or conventional.
Example: “They withdrew from the mainstream of European politics”
17) Arena
Meaning: A place or scene of activity, debate, or conflict.
Example: “He has re-entered the political arena”
Synonyms: Area, Scene.
18) Marginalising
Meaning: Treat (a person, group, or concept) as insignificant or peripheral.
Example: “By removing religion from the public space, we marginalize it”
19) Assassination
Meaning: The action of assassinating someone.
Example: “The assassination of President Kennedy”
Synonyms: Murder, Killing.
20) Underlined
Meaning: Emphasize (something).
Example: “The improvement in retail sales was underlined by these figures”
Synonyms: Emphasize, Give emphasis to.
21) Burgeon
Meaning: Begin to grow or increase rapidly; flourish.
Example: “Manufacturers are keen to cash in on the burgeoning demand”
Synonyms: Grow rapidly, Increase rapidly/exponentially.
22) Cut out
Meaning: (Of a motor or engine) suddenly stop operating.
Example: “Both the lifeboat’s engines cut out at times as they hit the seabed”
Synonyms: Stop working, Cease to function.

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