Pakistan’s Democracy: A Systemic Flaw?

Democracy, one of the buzz words of modern times, is as much perplexing in its meaning as much it is commonly used in political discourse. From East to West and North to South every politically semi-mature and partially-cognizant individualb, of his political rights seems a vocal advocate and die-hard champion of democracy. Apparently its meaning is understood in the often quoted words of Abraham Lincon: “Government of the people, for the people and by the people.” But have we ever peeped into the essence of it? Would it be pertinent to apply the same notion to all politcal systems in the world, despite sheer social and cultural variance? And if the answer is in affirmative then the question arises what type of democracy: that of the West which is often referred to as the ‘Dictatorship of the majority’ by the critics, or that of the Chines Model of Controlled Democracy, or that of the United States, based on two party system, one man show, system of check and balance and seperation of power, or that of the Britian’s Parliamentary System, or the one put forward by Islam?
The idea of ‘Jamhoor’ which literally means the majority, finds no prominent place in history before Islam and the interpretation it put forward for the term seems more close to reality. It takes the opinion ragarding a particular issue as that of the majority if the people whose opinion is sought are the experts in that particular matter. For example if a question arises about interpretation of a verse then the opnion of the majority of interpretors of the Quran would be considered as the opinion of the majority not the opinion of the common folk who even doesn’t know th ABC’s of the Holy book and same is the case in other matters whether they are Hadiths, Fiqh or politics. Regarding politics or in other words democracy put forward by Islam, requires that those individuals who are familiar with politics and know how the state’s affairs are run__ Sahib-u-Raye, to be specific, have to select a man, whose moral honesty and political acumen is beyond doubt, by majority vote, and then the common folk would have to do Bait on his hand which we can ascribe to as the old substitute of modern ballot and election system. If elected by majority then that man is solely responsible for the affairs of the state and accountable to the public. That is what Islam means by Democracy and it seems much close to reality and which reflects the essence of Democracy i.e. government of the people and for the people in letter and spirit. That’s the system which to a major extent has been imitated by the Amarican system but not by the name Caliphat but by its own name of Presidential System, where it serves the public and the dividends of which is not a hiding fact from anyone owing to the high life’s standard of the Amaricans.
How the Amarican system seems an imittation of the islamic system lets have a look. In US there is two party system and each party comprises of the seasoned and experienced politicians nurtred in the local, state and then federal level political nurseries.Those are the guys whose opinion in politics is out of question, to whome we can call Sahib-u-Raye. They select a candidate for Presidency from their respective parties who are then attested by the public vote in election_ a kind of Bait. Once elected the president then is responsible for selecting his cabinet and running the state’s affairs. Though there are some flaws in that system too like the ‘Spoil Sytem’( rolling back of the previous administration when the new president takes office) or the ‘The winner takes all’ concept (meaning that if a candidate takes majority votes of any state then all votes of that state is consided as his’/her’s in the electoral college) which sometimes makes a candidate win even if he loses the popular vote, as happened in 2016 presidential election, but the ability of either party’s candidate cannot be called into question as they are being selcted by the politically mature and sounds minds of their respective parties.
Beside the West, rest of the world especially the previously colonised third world countries imitated either American or British System with their own variations without consideration of the ground social and cultural realities. The main propellants behind this trend seems to be the advocacy of the West for democracy and influnece of western media which in majority of cases installed democratic systems but only cosmetically: the one confined only to conducting elections and essence of which i.e. the public to reap the fruit is no where in sight. In this regard the case study of pakistan present an eye opening example.
Pakistan being a former colony of Britian inhereted Parliamentary system of democracy which though were often interrupted by long periods of military rule, but the system installed, on the lines of Britian, in 1973 constituition is not compatible with ground realities of the homeland. First and foremost, in contrast to Britian Pakistan has multi party system which leave a minority to rule the country and hence the idea behind democracy as the rule of the majority is eroded. For example in 2018 election, of the total vote cast only 31.82% were cast to PTI which rules the country at the moment. Secondly, the selection of candidates which both in Islamic and Westerm democracy is based on merit, is often on the basis of political affiliation owing to the week undemocratic and family party system. Finally, once selected for candidature, the so called, otherwise disqualified, candidates are attested by the public of whom 42% even don’t know how to read and write let alone deciding about the future rulers of their nation. So what kind of democracy we are celebrating to have and what type of dividends we should expect? How to answer it is solely upto you, to me it’s need of the hour that saner minds of the nation should cerebrate over the often ignored flaw in the system, if we hope to emerge as a prosperous and welfare state.

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