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Pakistan and Democracy Essay for CSS

Pakistan and Democracy Essay for CSS

Outline:
1. Introduction:
2. Democracy is Suitable
3. Essentials of true democracy necessary for Pakistan.
4. How democracy is Suitable.
  a. Islamic Point of View.
  b. Fruits of democracy in Pakistan.
  c. Democracy and the sanctity of the constitution. Judicial Revolution 2007.
  d.  Provincial autonomy 18th Amendment and the effort of national integration.
  e. 5 years completion and 19th & 20th Amendment.
  f. Challenges to the Present democratic govt.
     i. Institutional strife
     ii. Reopening of NRO
     iii. Letter to the Swiss Govt.
5. Corruption Rental Power Plant Scam.
6. Law and Order Situation and provincial imbalance Balochistan issue.
7. State Sovereignty in Danger by the US drones strikes.
8. Future Elections another Challenge to democracy.
9. How to pave way for the true democracy in the country.
10. Reforming the whole political culture and mind set.
11. Accountability of the institutions need of the hour and the future.
12. Conclusion democracy is the best revenge for the grievances.

Pakistan and Democracy 

Is democracy suitable for Pakistan? This is the very question that has echoed the whole political life of Pakistan either there is democratically elected governments or the military dictatorship one thing that has suffered during all the political up heavels constitutional or judicial crisis or the military interventions and that is the democratic process. Though the present democratic government rehabilitated the democratic culture through its various steps but certain challenges of political and economic area still be ahead to test the true mettle of the present democratic govt. When the democratic govt, is going to complete its tenure with the end of the year 2012 the “democracy” again stands as a question mark to be taken either the problem or the solution of the menaces Pakistan has been suffering for the last 65 years. The failure of the democracy is at times confused with the failure of the govt. With all its essentials true democracy remains the suitable way of govt, in Pakistan but it is the ways of establishing it which have raised this question for which future elections are again a question mark.

Democracy ensures the balance among all the three organs of the state i.e. judiciary, legislature and executive. The decision-making and policy-formulation are done keeping in view the common man. Rather the dictatorship is a form of govt, where in the political power resides with the dictator. It is the govt, that has the power to govern without the consent of those being governed. For more Than 30 years of the political life of Pakistan the state has suffered military coups which established their rule through military dictatorship. The most prominent of them being General Zia’s military regime (1977-1988) and General Msuharraf s military regime (1999-2008). Both these dictatorships (including the previous ones) mishandled the constitution, brought in puppet political parties in the mainstream of the government. It is only democracy that provides people a sense of liberty and freedom everywhere with proper channels of accountability of the ruling elites. This is the very form of govt, that makes it closer to the Islamic way of ruling people.

The early islamic philosophers, Al Farabi (c. 872-900’s) in one of his notable works theorized an idea of Islamic state which he compared to Plato’s “The Republic” and argued that the ideal of was city of Madina when it was governed by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as its head of state. In his (PBUH) absence Al-Farabi considers democracy closest to the ideal state. He also maintains that it was from democracy that important states emerged. A modern Islamic philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) also viewed that only democracy is compatible with Islamic caliphate. As Pakistan was separated in the name of Islam so the best political system that suits the state of Pakistan is democracy. The country always welcomes properly elected legislative assemblies. Democracy is necessary for every nation-state. Pakistan is also a nation state so democracy will be suitable for her to achieve respect at the international forum. It is also considered that even the worst democracy is better than the best dictatorship as democracy is all about responsibility; individual as well as collective responsibility.

Quaid-e-Azam once said (on 9th June 1947)

“I don’t know what the ultimate shape of the constitution is going to be, but I am sure it will be a democratic type embodying the essential principles of Islam”.

It can be safely assumed that on that day in the founding year of Pakistan the two philosophies outlined by the founder as the basis of any future government in Pakistan were Islam and democracy, and every military dictatorship that was imposed on Pakistan either cost it its sovereignty, or led the deterioration of the law and order. Quaid-e-Azam further went on to say;

“Democracy is in our blood, it is in our marrow. Only countries of adverse circumstances have made the circulation of that blood cold”.

He was of the view that Islam has taught us democracy, equality of man, justice and fair play to everybody. Both these ideas (democracies and Islam) were exploited shamelessly by those who pretend to be their defenders. Those hands had divided instead of uniting the nation and democracy. This is the reason that today the people are suspicious about democracy as a suitable system for Pakistan.

It is only the beauty of democracy that it keeps The sanctity of the constitution sovereign and safe from the selfish manners of the rulers. It was during the dictatorial regimes that Pakistan suffered the breakage of the constitution and experienced those amendments which suited the military dictators. In 1979 when the former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged, the international community, jurists and lawyers condemned it as a ‘judicial murder’. General Zia manipulated the constitution to prolong his rule and the same legacy was continued by General Musharraf who was always striving to legalize his severe violations against law as legal in the eyes of constitutions. The 58-2b which enabled Zia to continue his presidency with the power to dissolve the national assembly while appointing the armed forces chief or provincial governers was followed by General Musharraf as well. When the constitution and judicial system becomes a play-thing in the hands of the military dictators ‘true democracy’ becomes inevitable. Pakistan has always welcomed a democratically elected govt, after every failed martial law.

The judicial revolution starting from 2007-2009 marked the historical success of democracy in Pakistan. The Chief Justice was sacked by the military dictatorship in 2007 while he was restored (along with other fellow judges) in 2009 by the democratically elected Govt, of Pakistan. Though media and public participation contributed to a significant extent but it was the triumph of ‘democracy’ that led the ‘judicial crises to its required destination. During the year 2007 the govt, of a military dictator General Musharraf could not afford to have an independent Chief Justice when the apex court could be called upon to decide vital constitutional issues i.e. either General Musharraf would retain two officers simultaneously (as a president and as an army chief) and the existing assemblies would re-elect him as a president for another term. For these reasons this military dictator had to declare the Chief Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar as ‘non functional’. It is a culture with the military dictators that they seek to dole out justice to others, but they themselves are not prepared to present themselves before an impartial, civilian tribunal to defend their actions. This is a norm which is absolutely contrary to the norms of democracy.

Democracy ensures atmosphere for national integration elevating the national dignity. In Pakistan the military regimes have always hurdled the way of national integration either by provoking the ethnic riots or by flaring the sectarianism. Though during previous military regimes the military rulers manipulated the sectarian and religious conflicts among various communities living in Pakistan but the years of military regime during 1999-2007 played a significant role in making the religious extremism (especially in North Western Areas) as the headline for the international community. These sad episodes greatly tarnished the concept of national integration in Pakistan. The army operation of ‘Lal Masjid in 2007’, the military operation in FATA (Federally Administered Territory Areas) in 2004 and military operation in Balochistan, all in the name of asserting the writ of the govt, have created complex kinds of grievances among the sections of society these operations were targeted against. The situation of national integration in Balochistan especially worsened after 2006. Though today’s democratic govt, cannot claim to relieve all the grievances especially of ‘Balochistan’ but the establishment of CCT (Council of Common Interest) (Article 54) in the 18th amendment, will enable the provinces to have their due share in the resources of the country. Moreover, the initiative of ‘Balochistan Package’ is another hallmark in this regard, which can be proved , as a stepping stone in relieving the grievances of the Baloch people.

The present govt, rehabilitated the democratic process in 2008 but there are still various challenges of the gigantic magnitude which need to be resolved to prevail the true democracy in the country. The biggest challenge that came forth after the current govt, took over the office was the clash among institutions. This institutional clash could create more difficult situation by dismantling the democratic process. One of the examples is increased political conformation in the aftermath of the Supreme Court Judgment on NRO. This judgment created the specter of clash between federal govt, and the superior judiciary, which could destabilize the democracy. Instead of the top brass of the military now the Superior judiciary has expanded its domain of power and stepped into what has traditionally been the sphere of the executive or legislative. Though Former P M Gillani was time and again voicing the inexistence of any institutional clash in Pakistan yet the NRO case and later on the letter to the Swiss Govt, also brought about the challenge of the institutional clash for the present democratic govt.

True democratic culture demands a clear distinction between the personal interests and the institutional sanctity for flourishing the democracy. Present govt. has been facing the conflict among the organs of the state which have created a critical situation for the govt. to claim the establishment of democracy in the country. The issue of letter to the Swiss Govt. turned out to be another institutional conflict between the federal executive and the Superior judiciary. The federal govt. stuck for a long to its point of not writing a letter to a magistrate court in Switzerland for reopening of the cases against the President of Pakistan. While the federal govt. insisted upon the president’s immunity from the Supreme Court the legal experts debated the merits of the federal govt.’s attitude towards the Supreme Court. The Ex Prime minister to abandon the office in May 2012 though he had been officially sacked by the Supreme Court in March 2012.

Corruption is highlighted as the continuous challenge not only for this but all the democratic govts of Pakistan. The Rental Power Plant case signified just another way of taking corruption to the next level though it was already rampant and galore in the society of Pak. With the implementation of the scheme of Rental Power Plant Pakistan was to be benefited from these projects but the inappropriate decision making and mismanagement on the govt.’s part the whole scheme became a mess. Even after paying Rs. 21.8 billion to RPPS in mobilization advance none of these power plants functioned at their full capacity. Time and again a huge and cry was raised over the inefficient production of these RPPs but the govt could not do anything except passing on the high cost of the plants to the unfortunate consumers. The government which claims to spread the democratic culture had to face public nagging against this scam.

Terrorism and law order situation are one of the major legacies the presented govt. inherited from the previous govt. Crisis is the real test of any govt. Though the present democratic govt. initiated a historic step towards consoling the chronic grievances of Balochistan with the “Balochistan Package” yet a lot more is to be done. The Balochistan issue still demands a tactful handling and an effective implementation of the remedial measures. The situation of Balochistan today is no less than a gruesome picture where target killing, rebellions and sectarianism have constantly been becoming powerful issues. It would not be erroneous to call Balochistan still a deprived community. The availability of the basic necessities i.e. gas, is partially available in the province while this resource was tapped in 1952 and is being consumed by the rest of the country. In Balochistan only in Quetta, Mustang and Ziarat the availability of gas has been made possible which is a sheer injustice and against the equal rights ensured by the democratic norms.

True democracy and states sovereignty always coincide. When it comes to the state sovereignty the question of the continuous Drone Strikes by the USA CIA is a constant threat to the feeble democracy in the country. These drone strikes were started out in the North Western areas of Pakistan in 2004 as the result of a secret agreement of the US CIA and the then military govt. of Pakistan. The indigenous and the world community argue the true agenda of these strikes which is either targeting me terrorist sanctuaries or violating the state sovereignty of Pakistan. As compared to 2010 the Drone Attacks increased 43% in 2011. A number of civilians have been made target of these attacks but the govt. passes slightly resentful comments against this massacre. The state sovereignty was also made subjected to the flagrant violation by the US in the case of Raymond Davis and operation against Osama in 2011. The present govt. has to deal with this critical challenge in order to secure democracy for being allegated as the unfavorable political tradition for Pakistan.

Elections are going to be a future challenge for the present govt. which has the honor of being the 1st democratically elected civil govt which will complete its tenure. The chief election commission Justice ® Fakhrudin G Ibrahim has advised the nation that the future elections might be the last chance in Pakistan to bring about “Change” therefore; the people are advised to vote prudently. The political history of Pakistan has never been the election processed according to what the constitution says. The present “Asghar Khan Case” is the evidence of this distressful condition in Pakistan. If all the political parties are sincere to democracy then they should bury the hatchet and bring the merit of their candidates in front of the general masses. The Present government is going to have another test of its democracy’s Strength as the next elections will be decisive as far as the future of the country is concerned. These elections might not work on just the hollow and exaggerated political slogans but the time is crucial and the strategic decision is to be made.

Paving the way for future democracy and true democracy is essential and to some extent lies the hand of the public too. Political culture reflects the ways people think and feel about politics. For preventing Pakistan becoming a “Garrison “State again the whole political culture has to be changed. Both the government and the nation have to decide firmly that there is democracy. In the country not just as a process but as a culture. A question has to be answered i.e. either democracy can dominate the dictatorship? The answer is simple and candid. Democracy is the sole way of government in the country like Pakistan with a heterogeneous culture. The question can be further resolved if there is institutional harmony, rule of law, sanctity of the constitution and the protection of the general masses.

If accountability is the mother of democracy and transparency is a precondition to democratic governance then Pakistan needs a true democracy. Democracy does not come as a complete template rather it has to be evolved. The process of democracy does not end with the ballot box, it actually starts from it. It is democracy which ensures judicial supremacy, rule of law, sanctity of the constitution and balance among all the organs of the state. If the current crop of elected politicians are really serious about strengthening true democracy it is important for them to pursue a broad govt. agenda with educating and training of-politicians. It is also significant for them to revive the same idea of democracy in Pakistan so that democratic institutions can flourish and thrive in Pakistan. Is democracy suitable for Pakistan should no longer remain a question to be asked rather “democracy” should become the trust of both the politicians and the people. Furthermore, almost all the neighboring countries of Pakistan are democracies, so Pakistan also needs democracy to have smooth relations with them. Today’s world calls for true democracy as closest to an ideal state.

Pakistan needs a true democracy. The present govt. has the credit of fulfilling various requirements of democracy and a few of them can be making the Parliament sovereign and employing the military entirely for eliminating terrorism. While the declaration of equal provision of the resources among the provinces stands as the hallmark of the present democratic govt. Yet there are certain challenges of corruption, economic crisis and law and order situation which became a question mark for the govt.’s performance. The future of democracy is still hopeful in Pakistan and there is no ambiguity that only democracy is the best revenge for all the past grievances of our nation.

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