Flawed Democracy

Published in DAWN on the 2nd of December, 2011.

POLITICIANS tend to believe that the reason for all of Pakistan’s problems is the inconsistency with which democracy has prevailed in our country. Undoubtedly, military interventions and consequent suspension of the Constitution and democracy have been a consistent feature in our history.

Democracy cannot work in a country like ours. Primarily, democracy in its true spirit has probably never existed in Pakistan. What we have is merely a distorted form of democracy.

The spirit of democracy is in accordance with ‘popular will’. In practice, soon after elections the link between the people and Parliament seems to be disconnected till the next election. Decisions are taken at high-level meetings and conveyed to the people at the government’s convenience.

Our voter turnout in the past two elections has been around 44 per cent; so even if you ignore bogus votes and rigging, the fact remains that the party that secures majority actually gets the mandate of only the majority of those who voted.

The non-democratic trends of our mainstream political parties are another reason for the failure of the prevailing democracy. Democracy means the ‘rule of majority’, there is no denying that Pakistan’s majority is illiterate and uneducated, several national and international surveys confirm that. Unfortunately, every time a ‘general’ takes over the government of Pakistan, he fails to tackle the root of the problem.

We need to put our heads together and devise a form of government that suits our nation and quit wasting our time by applying this hit and trial method at democracy and military rule. Since both these systems have failed to deliver; therefore, we need not try them again.

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