The evolution of a democracy witnesses numerous bizarre, unsettling and revolutionary phases. In countries where democracy has been allowed to grow uninterrupted, such phases are a thing of the past and reference to them may only be found in history books or a piece of black and white recording.
In Pakistan however, all this is happening in the age of electronic and social media hence making these absurdities ever more obvious and in our face.
Our democracy was born in 1947, however owing to its feeble state and repeated poisoning from foreign and local elements it has been put on ventilators more than a few times. And every time it was taken off of the ventilator, the journey began anew. We are therefore still in the early stages of evolution of democracy.
Each institution of the state in its own way behaves more or less like a child passing through phases of growth. Personalities of these ‘children of democracy’ are an effect of their upbringing and environment.
Bureaucracy: This fortunate child has been allowed to grow with close to complete freedom and the least interference hence appears to be the most mature. It carries all attributes of a grown and developed institution. It seems to have almost reached adulthood and looks down upon the tantrums of other ‘children’.
Military: This strongest of all children has had too much of freedom and authority which did induce some maturity but also infused attributes of narcissism, superiority complex and the ‘know it all’ syndrome. It has the tendency to overestimate its ability to discipline and solve problems of other ‘children’ and sees itself in an authoritative role, above the rest. It has developed traits of a spoilt brat; having had too much of attention and affection showered upon its self. The other ‘children’ looked towards it for protection, since its power and built made it best equipped to provide protection, but now those children feel like they need protection from their own protector. Typical of such children this child suffers from the delusion that only they know what’s best for everyone.
Parliament: Oh how this poor child has been subjected to a roller coaster ride from palaces to pot holes. It has been given complete freedom at times and has been en-caged and shackled at others. It has repeatedly been told that it is not worthy of any responsibility, not worthy of trust and that it is inept, unqualified and uglier than the other children. Parliament has thus developed severe lack of confidence and insecurity and has extreme difficulty in asserting itself even when the manual (constitution) gives it a privileged place among the rest. This particular child finds it difficult to stand up for its self, has developed an inferiority complex which allows other children to bully and make fun of it.
Media and Judiciary: These two toddlers are learning to walk having recently discovered their freedom. Like most children in the same age group they seem to have developed a mutual affinity. They seek each other’s attention and deem all other, older children as a threat. They also have the tendency to try and gang up on one or more of the other children. Each helps project a good impression of the other while trying to cover their flaws. They often engage in mutual appreciation for each other’s acts that may seem meaningless and insignificant to the other, older children.
The good thing is that democracy seems to have found ground to hold on to, and the process of growth can continue unhindered. I look forward to the day when all these children would become grown, mature, responsible adults who would play their respective roles in the betterment of their home. Let us just hope that any childhood differences do not turn into lifelong rivalries.