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Pakistani Brand of Democracy

 Pakistani Brand of Democracy

By: Adv. Syed Abdul Rasool Shah

Democracy is the best revenge!

Democracy, undoubtedly, is a brilliant concept of governance currently in practice in most parts of the world. It is, according to the best understanding and wisdom of the political scientists, the best political system that the world has ever devised for smooth governance and proper functioning of the state. To the protagonists of democratic dispensation, democracy is the only antidote to all the ills that humankind suffers from. This is true to some extent, as Lowell said, “No form of government is panacea for all human ills.” No one can deny the defects of democracy. But no one should shut his eyes to the merits and achievements of democracy”. Moreover, the advocates of democracy also maintain that even the worst form of democracy is better than the best form of dictatorship. No doubt, if democracy is practiced in letter and spirit, it can outclass all other forms of polity that the world has invented so far.

The key ingredients of a genuine democracy are sovereignty of parliament, inviolability of the constitution, supremacy of civilian rule, rule of law, protection of fundamental rights of the people, fair, free and transparent elections, high–powered and impartial election commission, ruthless accountability, free media and independent and incorruptible judiciary.

Sadly, ours is a sham democracy as it is devoid of virtually all the democratic ideals that are considered a sine qua non for any democratic dispensation. It makes us rue what’s happening in our country in the name of democracy.

Pakistani brand of democracy is unique in its flavour and substance. It is the type of democracy where parliament, which is considered the vertebral column of a democratic edifice, is nothing but a Potemkin village, a rubber-stamp, a conglomerate that issues licence to its members to plunder the national kitty with impunity; where the constitution is amended more easily than modifying the traffic canons; where laws are tailored merely to serve the rulers; where a person once disqualified by the apex court of the country is declared qualified to head a political party, in utter contravention to the spirit of the constitution and democratic ideals; where issues pertaining to the people are seldom deliberated on and where prime minister visits parliament once in a blue moon.

Democracy as a system germinates at ballot box which provides the people with an opportunity to elect the rulers of their choice. Therefore, holding free, fair and impartial ballot is part and parcel of the installation of a democratic setup, but in our country rigging becomes a buzzword after every election. In this way, democracy is corrupted to the core. Additionally, money, manoeuvring and manipulation are also blatantly employed in our country to win the polls. Feudal lords, by virtue of their enormous land-holding, egg their serfs on to vote in their favour and business tycoons with the help of their big bucks lure the destitute electorate into casting ballots for them. Consequently, our parliament is occupied by plutocrats rather than the true democrats. A parliament predominately dominated by men of affluence, and not the men belonging to impoverished section of society, insinuates that we have only a ritual and spurious democracy because: “[D]emocracy is,” said renowned Greek philosopher Aristotle, “when the indigents and not the men of property are the rulers.”

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