Op-ed

Democracy in Pakistan

 

Hafiz Shahzaib 

Democracy, a compound of two Greek words namely, demos meaning “people” and kartos meaning “rule” stands for the government of the public. It is said to be “a government of the people, for the people, by the people. It means that the real power lies in the hands of common people in a democratic system. In this system everyone has the equal right to cast vote and everyone’s vote has equal authority and also, every free citizen of Pakistan has equal opportunity to contest and get elected.

Democracy is the only process through which people bring their favorite candidate. The ideal form of democracy was implemented and exclusively enjoyed by the Greeks and now a day the best democracy is practicing in Norway and according to survey of the economist intelligence unit they told that the key to Norway’s success is the healthy relationship between its people and lawmakers. People can feel like they are the part of democracy. They recognize their politicians as not part of some kind of elite, they are just regular people.

But unfortunately, in Pakistan the meaning of democracy is different. Actually, People in Pakistan don’t know the power of vote. Half of the Population doesn’t feel need to cast vote in elections. The recent general election 2013 turnout is only 54% which is very low as compared to western countries, where the turnout is almost 90% people think so that their one vote has no value. They also have a lot of ambiguities in their minds related to democracy. They think that their voice will not be heard so they don’t want to ready to exercise their vote. The concept of rigging is also a big reason of low turnout. People think no matter either we cast vote or not cast candidates elected by the rigging in election.

In this era, it seems that the democracy in Pakistan is insecure. Political history of Pakistan has portrayed completely negative picture of democracy and that is why our layman has always invoked and appreciated a military regime. Of course, desiring military regime is a tragic situation in a modern state but this is what we have been throughout 70 years of independence, no doubt our military has delivered a lot to make the defense system strong enough. but military institution main responsibility is to defend the country from foreign dangers. To run the country in progressive way is the responsibility of elected government. But the interference of military in government policies is due to the weakness and corrupt activities of political people.

 

Strength of democracy depends upon the confidence
that the voters assert in their institutions and this is why
we should strive towards achieving that milestone in anyway possible.

 

Political leaders do come in assemblies but instead, they always want to sort out their problems outside the parliament house. The amendment in the recently passed (the election act 2017) created a stir in the country. This bill was passed from the assembly but when people shout on the issue of khatam-e-nabowat, so no one was taking responsibility about this amendment. Every political worker was saying that he did not know how this amendment approved. It is just due to the less interest of political leaders in parliament sessions.

Basically, Democracy is a system of rule by laws, not by individuals. In a democracy, the rule of law protects the rights of citizens, no one above the law, not even a king or elected president. The law of fairly, impartially and consistently enforced by the courts that are independent of the other branches of the government. Torture and cruel and inhumane treatment are absolutely forbidden. No ruler, minster, or political party can tell a judge how to decide a case.

But it is pity that in developing and under developed countries like Pakistan democracy is used as a weapon against the people. In these countries democracy has bred and encouraged hater, hooliganism and with hunting.

The main causes of the failure of democracy in these countries, is that the education is not common here. People are mostly illiterate and are ignorant of their rights and responsibilities, even they cannot make difference between right and wrong, the rulers and the law-makers of the country are usually the big landlords or industrialists who have no concern with education and not have patriotic feelings.

The only way out of this dilemma is that immediate step should be taken in order to educate the voters and make them aware of the importance and sanctity of their vote. Voter awareness is not only the duty of state and Election Commission but community level initiatives are also required in this regard. Only then, we can strengthen our democratic institutions.