Oblivious fans of Democracy

Published in Pakistan Today on the 25th of June, 2012.

The widespread criticism of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s election as the new prime minister, especially on social media by the pseudo-intellectual advocates of democracy, is an inconsistency in itself. These self proclaimed experts on politics blame all evil on the absence of democracy, but fail to see the contradiction in their own stance when they criticise Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s appointment on vacuous grounds. What is undemocratic about an elected member of parliament, qualified as such by the constitution, being elected as the prime minister?
Political parties claiming to be frontrunners in their own ‘imaginary’ struggle for restoration of democracy are devoid of any trace of democratic trends within their parties. Office bearers are not elected but nominated, that too mostly from among the family that ‘owns’ the party. Decisions are imposed upon the members and not discussed with them and when the party is in government, policies are made outside the parliament.
Then there is our esteemed lawyer fraternity. They proudly claim to have run a ‘historic’ movement to strengthen the pillars of democracy: independence of judiciary and rule of law. And now they appear in agreement over the issue that anyone who brings a case against a ‘fraternity favourite’ should not have the right to be represented by council, and if a lawyer dares provide them this fundamental right he should be banished from their ranks. When it comes to the so-called heroes of the lawyer community, no adjudication is required – they can pronounce anyone guilty or not guilty on their own. So this is the demented form of rule of law they strived for?
We all have our own flawed concepts for notions of democracy, rule of law and the like. It is likely that in a procession of a 100 men all chanting for democracy, each one has a different picture of democracy in his head. We want everything to be according to our own individual preferences; a prime minister that ‘I’ like, a court decision that ‘I’ agree with and a law that suits my individual needs. These trends are fundamentally dictatorial and not, by any stretch of the imagination, democratic. Are we a nation of wolves pretending to be lions and asking to be governed like sheep?

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