Why is democracy not delivering for Pakistan?

Published: June 24, 2012
Email
The writer is a former vice-president of the World Bank and a former caretaker finance minister of Pakistan

The writer is a former vice-president of the World Bank and a former caretaker finance minister of Pakistan

I will begin by stating a number of simple yet important premises: that democracy is good for development and sustainable economic growth; for a more equitable distribution of the fruits of growth; for giving people with diverse and seemingly irreconcilable interests and objectives the opportunity to resolve their differences; for providing the citizenry with the outlets they can use to express their frustrations; and it helps those states that practice it to live in peace with their neighbours. If these are self-evident truths, one would expect Pakistan to have benefitted in several different ways from the return of democracy. The move from a controlled political system dominated for long by the military, to one that is more open and in which the making of public policy is entrusted to the chosen representatives of the people should have produced greater human welfare. But it does not seem to be working out that way.

Out of the five benefits of democracy listed above — and there are many more — that should flow once it is adopted as the preferred form of governance, only two have produced satisfactory results for Pakistan thus far. After decades of wrangling with India, Pakistan has begun to develop better and less adversarial relations. These may result in an arrangement that puts greater emphasis on producing economic benefits for both sides. Most citizens, today, are worse off than they were four years ago, when the political system began to change. But there is no widespread rebellion against the state. The other three positive outcomes from the above list have not been evident since the beginning of 2008, when the country began to pull away from military rule. As the country prepares to hold another general election in late 2012 or early 2013, the present rate of growth has slowed to a point where it is slightly greater than the rate of increase in the population. Meaning, not much is being added to the national product so that those who occupy the lower rungs of the income distribution ladder cannot draw benefits from the little economic change that is occurring. In fact, the distribution of income has worsened since 2008. Does this mean that democracy has failed in Pakistan; that for some reasons peculiar to the make-up of the country, democracy has not delivered what it is supposed to provide to those who chose it as the preferred form for their governance?  The short answer to this question is ‘no’. But the question needs a longer answer as to why democracy seems to be failing and cannot provide the expected benefits in Pakistan. We can pick some clues from the large and growing literature dealing with the workings of democracy around the globe. Political scientists have been investigating this subject for decades. They have approached it from many different angles — by carrying out comparative country analyses and by tracing the evolution of democracy over time. The historical perspective has yielded as many insights into the impact of democracy on economic development as did country comparisons. The main conclusion most analysts have reached is that it takes time — several decades, sometimes even centuries — before democracy is fully established. Only then can its full benefits be realised.

Even economists have moved beyond the comfort provided by their much more rigorous discipline to introduce new factors other than capital and labour for producing growth. They have now expanded their production functions to include a number of essentially non-economic contributors. The list of these contributors keeps growing and now includes the development of the available human resource, technological advancement and development of institutions. It is the inclusion of institutions as one of the explanatory factors that brings democracy into the economic growth equation. There is a developing consensus among those who work in this discipline that a political order that allows participation to the people – or ‘economic agents’ as they are sometimes called by economists — helps economies to make progress.

In sum, while it is fully understandable why despair is the most common sentiment in evidence in the country today, what is also needed is patience. This advice is easy to give but hard to receive, in particular by those, who are burning in the heat in many parts of the country because of the failure of the state to provide a steady flow of electric power. That said, alternatives — a widespread rebellion, hope for system change etc. — are much worse.

Published in The Express Tribune, 25th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (49)

  • Jun 24, 2012 - 11:29PM

    Democracy is a process of institutional building, collective decision making, conflict management & power sharing. Basically it is a way of allowing all views to be heard as it involves dialogue, discussion, debate, and analysis. Patience & Toleration are fundamental in any democracy because things cannot change overnight. Not a single Muslim Country out of 51 is a successful democracy not only because of interference from other institutions but also because they lack fundamental ingredients (Patience & Toleration) and they are addicted to Messiah Worshiping where they expect their problems to be resolved overnight. THIS is why its not delivering in pakistan because Patience & Toleration are scarce commodity here

    Recommend

  • Max
    Jun 24, 2012 - 11:38PM

    Mr. Burki, Your arguments well taken, we need to keep in mind that democracy is process and not a revolution. This means to reach it at its zenith, it may take centuries. second, democracy is dependent upon indigenous and exogenous factors, i.e, a conducive social and economic environment, a healthy and civic-oriented thought process, individualism instead of collectivism, higher level of education, some affluence, secularism in every sense of the term, an awareness of rights and responsibilities, ability to differentiate between rights and privileges, and not to mention absence of social stratification in terms of individual rights. The list is long and everything cannot be brought up in a few lines.
    Having said this, I would be little careful in calling Pakistani system even a rudimentary form of democracy. Here are the reasons: absence of effective political institutions like political parties and interest groups, cult of personality and our well revered system of Jee Hazoori, rights of inheritance to political offices, and scramble for power/influence/hegemony among state institutions. I am more concerned about the last one than anything else.
    The point is that we need to change our perspectives of things, wake-up and act like a responsible citizen, otherwise we are doomed to die.

    Recommend

  • FaiselH
    Jun 24, 2012 - 11:58PM

    Democracy is the only viable option
    But this Current Westminster version is not going to deliver.
    Pakistan’s salvation is in a Presidential form of Government, where the candidate for the highest office stands for a direct election, instead of being elected indirectly by the elected representatives.

    Recommend

  • Anjaan
    Jun 25, 2012 - 1:03AM

    A democracy, where the power to formulate Foreign & Defence policies, and defence expenditure lies elsewhere, is not a democracy but a hogwash … !Recommend

  • Zillur Rahman
    Jun 25, 2012 - 1:16AM

    Democracy has never been given a chance to succeed in Pakistan. In spite of the facade of democracy, the military remains the fountainhead of all power (and of all corruption) in Pakistan. It continues to usurp a disproportionate share of the country’s wealth for the Kakul kleptocrats.

    While Pakistan’s military has always sold itself as the nation’s savior against enemies lurking beyond the border, in real life, it has always been far tougher on its own citizens, most of them unarmed, than on armed soldiers of “enemy” countries. Thus, General Tikka Khan is far better known to the world as the Butcher of Bengal and as the Butcher of Balochistan than as the Knight in shining armor who will ride his big white horse to the Red Fort to unfurl Pakistan’s flag.

    When Pakistan’s military breathes fire, it is to “prove” to Pakistani citizens that the military is indispensable to the nation’s welfare. But this is nothing but a fraud because the primary aim is to make sure that Pakistan’s army can continue steal a disproportionate share of the country’s wealth for itself.

    Recommend

  • ASIM
    Jun 25, 2012 - 1:31AM

    To me reasons are as below for DEMOCRACY FAILURE:

    1) Incompetent leadership promotion
    2) Linkage of money with politics – President has assets of 1.5b$ plus and so of main opposition leader Nawaz sharif 1b$ plus.
    3) Dynastic politics
    4) 70% pakistani people live in villages- dynastic politics represent only families so the ordinary people in villages are not neglected
    5)Absence of rule of Law- Law is applicable to poor ONLY
    6) Institutional failures like NAB- which I call NEVER ACCOUNTABILITY BUREAU failed to adress problem
    7)Intellectual greed- Most of the writers and Journalists support prevailing democractic system for the vested interests at the same time being living in cities they highlight issues of city dwellings not villages
    8) Last but not least failure of international system to develop standards to meet democracy
    it is very sad that convicted and criminals are accepted as democratic leaders by the world when they assume power without questioning their legitimacy. This is a question of world standards. This affects the global system to allivate poverty and sustain development as these leaders eventually fail to deliver.

    Recommend

  • G. Din
    Jun 25, 2012 - 2:24AM

    @Max:
    “…we need to keep in mind that democracy is process…”
    So far, so good!
    But then you say: “This means to reach it at its zenith, it may take centuries. “
    The two statements are contradictory. There is no zenith to be reached if it is an ongoing process. That is why what goes for democracy in America is quite different from democracy in India or Pakistan or even Europe. All these democracies are at different stages of development. But, hopefully, all are ever moving forward towards greater democracy. Although we may know what an ideal democracy would look like, we can have only as much of it as we can afford. This is made even more complicated because our ideas of the ideal are also changing.

    Recommend

  • Mahakaalchakra
    Jun 25, 2012 - 2:46AM

    You have analysed the importance and necessity of democracy for sustained growth and development very well. However, you missed couple of other major factors which directly affect pace of development in a democracy, for instance, excessively “intolerant society” and dominating “security-state” both are anathema to development in a democracy. Pakistan has both in excess and growing by each day.

    The opposition and hawks (such as Jehadis, right-wingers and Islamist parties) do not accept the results of the elections and keep the expectations very high without considering the entire situation. For instance, there was no new power station added in Pakistan in almost 12 years but the current government has to bear the blame. No one had the courage to question military dictators when they were wasting billions of dollars every years on the military rather funding public development projects, especially long-term projects. Additionally, if the electric and gas bill collection is less than half, how can public accuse the government of corruption without self-reflection and eradicating the corrupt practices from the society.

    In the end, “you get what you deserve”.

    Recommend

  • Jun 25, 2012 - 3:19AM

    @Max,&Din.I will say,democracy is is a ongoing ,never ending process which has no end,because,men are flawed and imperfect and so the system which comes to a halt will never reach its logical conclusion ,because its a endeavor which needs to be continuous to make it perfect,but there is no such animal as perfection,like the universe which has no ceiling.All we can do is to make a system which will provide the basic need for the greatest number,food,shelter and work,and then such basic human rights such as freedom from tyranny freedom of speech,religion and expression.Then I guess,you are close to American constitution,then all you need is pursuit of happiness and protection of yourselves and your personnel property.That is just about it.Secularism would be icing on the cake.But then you guys will be fish out of water as you won’t be able to hunt ‘un believers’ as a favorite pastime,that would be serious handicap. May be if we find another sport to go with cricket that would certainly help,India is unable to find beside Bollywood and cricket any thing more to amuse its 1.3 billion people.May be Pakistan would do better,I certainly hope so.

    Recommend

  • NK
    Jun 25, 2012 - 3:22AM

    In India, democracy began showing results after 40 years. In Pakistan, it has had only 4 years so far. So give it a chance and reasonable time.

    Recommend

  • elementary
    Jun 25, 2012 - 4:02AM

    wow talkinng of centuries;we are not talking about ideal society as a goal here.we just want to get a bit better ,inch forward,get the direction right and take the first step.
    If we analyze last five years of democracy we have not got our compass right and actually taken steps backwards thats what worries me.

    we seek democracy as an end rather than means to an end i.e betterment of people.If democracy is government for the people then focus has to be the social indicators and economy,rather than a “gates” galore.

    Recommend

  • Maria
    Jun 25, 2012 - 5:09AM

    @Anas Abbas: Muslim nations talk about equality but in reality they all want to worship some leader – that’s why democracy isn’t working in any Muslim nation. Look at the Muslim world and see the problems in each and every Muslim country from Egypt to Iraq to Libya and Afghanistan.

    Recommend

  • Max
    Jun 25, 2012 - 5:11AM

    @G. Din:
    Thank you for your positive feedback and I recognize the logical inconsistency between the democratic “process” and its “zenith. “It is my understanding that social sciences do not have an infinity point since these deal with human behavior. Having said that we also must recognize that Karl Popper’s” ideal type” in fact do not exist or can never be attained due to nature of human behavior. The fact, according to Popper, all theories are falsifiable be these dealing with human behavior or hard sciences.
    Barrington Moore in his seminal work on democratic process (Social Roots of Democracy and Dictatorship, 1966) argues in the second chapter that it is process with so many different routes. His student Francis Fukuyama, on the other hand, takes the opposite position in his most popular work (End of History, 1992). My argument is on both sides. Borrowing from our religious friends, the prophet-hood did not end with the prophets of Old Testament, or the one who came after them. Reformation, according to them, is a continuous process, and borrowing from Islamist friends the question has been resolved with the advent of last prophet.I am not who is correct here since I know very little about religious matters. Back to social sciences, according to our structural-functionalist friends, Social structures go through several changes and determine the course of society.
    Thanks again Sir.

    Recommend

  • Imran Con
    Jun 25, 2012 - 5:14AM

    All I can really say as far as Pakistan being a democratic country is that I have lived in a fairly well functioning one my entire life and if I was given a description of the way Pakistan runs, having no previous knowledge of it with the intention of having me guess what type of government they have… Democracy would not come out of my mouth even if I was given a few guesses. The elections aspect is the only sign of it. Even that has recently deteriorated with the recent PM drama.

    The problem seems rather simple, though the fix is about as far from it as it gets. People have to actually act like they’re living in one and as supporters of it. People say they want it but that’s about it. They speak of democracy and act like they’re living under a completely different type of governance and nobody really even says anything when actions reflective of it cross the line into the illegal. Detractors are given no incentive to stop. Supporters are forced to act another way in the presence of the detractors for their own safety because no fear of punishment exists in those detractors who appear to be a little on the violent side as an understatement. There aren’t even really peaceful people against the idea of the democracy. The majority are… basically criminals under the protection of falsely claiming religious motive. Considering the people are a focus point of a democracy, it can’t really succeed without those people.

    Recommend

  • Alami Musafir
    Jun 25, 2012 - 5:57AM

    Mr Burki, your eloquent arguments reminds one of the old joke about economists marooned on an island with a can of beans but no opener, who assumeemphasized text that an opener exists. Much that is logical in theory is undone in the real world. Physical counter-examples are death blows to elegant theories. Consider Greece and Spain. Both were totalitarian regimes (the Colonels Junta and Franco). Greece became democratic in 1974 (ie 38 years ago), and Spain did the same by 1982 at the latest (30 years ago). Both enjoyed phenomenal growth, social stability etc, all the virtues which you have attributed to democracy, but now look at them.

    In the case of Greece things are perilously close to total economic collapse…were it not for German support, Greece would have completely collapsed. And Germany also holds Spain’s future in her hands (or perhaps his hands, it being a Fatherland). There’s a very great danger that both countries will revert to Fascism. Italy is in a very similar situation.

    Perhaps it is time to reconsider the alleged merits of democracy.

    Recommend

  • zalim singh
    Jun 25, 2012 - 7:30AM

    not designed to.

    Recommend

  • Critical
    Jun 25, 2012 - 8:28AM

    @ASIM:
    Brother,you have listed the points perfectly.All I have to do is to replace Pakistan with India and viola,we have the reasons why Democracy isnt delivering for India…

    The truth why democracy isnt working in Asian countries unlike US or Europe is because there

    “Government works for the people and here people have to work for the government and the government is in the hands of few individuals “

    Recommend

  • Suraj
    Jun 25, 2012 - 8:57AM

    How can democracy prevail when the secularism was cut off from it..There is no meaning of democracy without secularism.. There is lot of misconception about secularism among majority..

    Recommend

  • Wellwisher
    Jun 25, 2012 - 9:33AM

    Four pillars of Democracy – Parliament, Executive, Judiciary and Press (both print and electronic)- should function independently without overlapping on others functions and responsibly. But in Paksitan they compete with each other to prove the public that they are better than others. A rank outsider Army unnecessarily stepped in and spoiled the growth of democracy.
    If all the four branches of democracy start functioning responsibly and curb their tendency to usurp powers of others, democracy will flourish in Pakistan!

    Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jun 25, 2012 - 9:38AM

    Even the best mechanical designs fail when the raw materials used for manufacture are inferior.

    Recommend

  • Rafi Ka Deewana
    Jun 25, 2012 - 9:42AM

    @Anas Abbas: It seems to be working in Bangladesh, and that is because the Bengalees typically emphasize culture over religion. Regardless, Democracy is a self correcting process which means it is a process which always makes mistakes, but the mistakes don’t become overwhelming as they get fixed by the next government.

    India has gone through this process, and is still going through. By no means Indian democracy can be classifies as perfect as there is nepotism, corruption, and short-term politician-benefiting thinking. But the path is right, and hopefully, in another 50 years, it’ll mature like that in the US and Europe.

    Can Pakistan have that much of patience? Doesn’t seem that way as in Democracy, you need to look inward. That is one thing Pakistan can’t just do as it thinks of itself as the savior of the world’s muslims.

    Recommend

  • Sanjay
    Jun 25, 2012 - 10:43AM

    Keep religion out of politics this is the only key to successful of democracy.

    Recommend

  • Anon
    Jun 25, 2012 - 11:23AM

    The reason why democracy has not delivered for Pakistan is that Pakistanis do not understand the meaning of democracy. Of the people, by the people, for the people is the simplest definition of democracy. Its essence is self-determination. Curiously, this notion of self-determination has been forgotten, if it was ever really present in the muslims of the pre-partition sub-continent. The widespread support gained my the many military leaders from the Pakistani public is the best evidence of this.

    Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani
    Jun 25, 2012 - 11:48AM

    Lack of democracy has not been an obstacle to progress in China (and, until recently, Russia as well). If you want economic progress, it’s better to have a controlled democracy. Only when the voters are educated enough to distinguish between criminals and good politicians (a rare breed in Pakistan) will democracy work in Pakistan. Under the present system, there is no difference between a scientist and an illiterate peasant (whose vote can be bought for twenty rupees). This is why criminals always get elected in Pakistan (and India as well). First of all, the right to vote in provincial and national elections should be given only to those people who pay taxes and who have a certain level of education (preferably Class XII). In local bodies elections, everyone should be allowed to vote. Later, as people get more educated, every Pakistani can be allowed to vote in provincial as well as national elections.

    Recommend

  • abhi
    Jun 25, 2012 - 11:55AM

    @Alami Musafir

    I think the problem with greece and spain is not exactly because of democarcy, but because of problem with the concept of europian union iteself. But you can alwasy argue that decision to join european union was also taken by democratic government.

    Recommend

  • Bigboy
    Jun 25, 2012 - 12:22PM

    Pakistan first needs to have a real democracy to be able to decide whether it can deliver or not. When all the levers of power have been held by an unelected body for a majority of the last 60+ years, true democracy has never existed.

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Jun 25, 2012 - 12:29PM

    Democracy is not a panacea to human problems. It is a system in which a few rule in the name of the demos. Its natural outcomes are injustice, inequality, greed, and violence. India is a perfect example. A few brahmins are making all the money and are violently ruling over the rest who are happy to be their slaves. Minorities there live in the shadows of a permanent majority.

    Pakistan must create its own Islamic system that will solve all of Pakistan’s problems.

    Recommend

  • Shyam
    Jun 25, 2012 - 1:25PM

    Even the best of cars will crash if driven by a bad driver on a worse road

    Recommend

  • Arya
    Jun 25, 2012 - 1:32PM

    Democracy is an art, and need lot of sacrifice to deliver. In Pakistan there was not much incentive to develop the system, as the agricultural economy took care of people’s life. This who are not satisfied simply migrated. To take care of state extravaganzas, there were ready donors, friends, blood brothers. But, things have completely changed now. No donors, no aid, no VISA, no oil and no power. People who took atta, milk and ghee for granted and lived complacently are experiencing hunger (were as Indian hunger is well known for decades). Since Pakistan’s utility to seek rent from global power is vanishing, the “rent seekers” may not wish to rule and soil their fingers, and hence ordinary people will be left to rule themselves honestly. Hunger will teach people how to rule and eventually democracy will be delivered.

    Recommend

  • sha
    Jun 25, 2012 - 1:59PM

    china is not a democracy and india is, in the south asian and north asian context democracy has been a huge failure, not more than of course in Pakistan.
    Democracy and tribalism do not mix.

    Recommend

  • Jun 25, 2012 - 4:16PM

    The foundation of democracy is empowerment of the people at local level. Pakistan’s democracy has no foundation. There are no local govts. In Turkey there is a separate province for every 1.2 million people. In Pakistan every district has population of more than 2 million but is NOT allowed to have their own self-government, by the small number of elite political families. The writer is ignorant of this FACT.

    Recommend

  • usmani
    Jun 25, 2012 - 4:47PM

    When the motive of the elected democrat are the loot and plunder, democracy would not deliver even if it allowed centuries to grow.The process of democracy would eventually clean up the bad politician and sincere and faithful come to clean the mess–How long it will take depend on the diestiny of nation rather than anybody choice.

    Recommend

  • Agnivesh
    Jun 25, 2012 - 5:07PM

    There are some pre-requisites of democracy
    a. Education
    b. Honesty
    c. Maturity of thought in the population
    d. Above average intelligence of the population

    If any these basic ingredients is missing, no system will work. If all are there, any system will work.
    In both India and Pakistan, these factors are sorely missing.

    Recommend

  • Dr. Iqbal
    Jun 25, 2012 - 5:08PM

    Democracy will fail until it is supported by the 5 pillars. These pillars are:

    Economy
    a. Proponents of left-leaning economic policies
    AND (as both of them are needed)
    b. Proponents of right-leaning economic policies
    c. work force Educated in both arts, and technology
    Governance System
    a. Rule of law
    b. Independent judiciary
    c. Relatively uncorrupted police
    d. Decentralized system for managing large cities
    Prevalence of Secular view
    a. Tolerance towards opposing views
    b. Minority rights are protected
    c. Businesses are allowed to flourish with relative freedom
    Tourism
    a. Open society
    b. Tolerant towards all nationalities and ethnicities
    Strong military

    At this stage we need to make our educated elite aware that Pakistan has acquired parts of #2 and #5. But the rest are missing. We need to emphasize on #1, #3, and #4 and hopefully democracy will start functioning.

    Thank you.

    Recommend

  • Ashvinn
    Jun 25, 2012 - 5:17PM

    @Dr. Iqbal:
    Tourism seriously wah yaar

    Recommend

  • ASIM
    Jun 25, 2012 - 7:33PM

    @Critical:
    Thanks & I agree with you.That’s why 32% pakistani population lives below poverty line & 44 % Indian population (600million) lives below poverty line (reference:UN report)

    Recommend

  • Reza
    Jun 25, 2012 - 7:47PM

    Surprisingly shallow analysis. Have ‘patience’, he advises, as if democracy is a tree that grows of its own accord. But what of feudal landlords owning the land on which that tree is planted? What of foreign intervention long fertilizing only military and militant branches? And finally, what of the world’s Neo-Liberal economic institutions ensuring that the tree’s fruits are not evenly distributed, but whisked out of the country entirely? Patience with such factors will not lead to democracy. It can only reinforce a tree rotten to the core.Recommend

  • Ali tanoli
    Jun 25, 2012 - 7:55PM

    American killed each other in civil wars and in Racism in hundreds of thousand then they learned what Democracy is even still strict law and order controlling over with sixteen agencies
    i will say Democracy or feudalcracy is not that easy …

    Recommend

  • Khurram
    Jun 25, 2012 - 7:56PM

    Though the calling of new elections seems a viable option, now that the government is not interested to call it a day before completing its full tenure, it is time for sagacity to return at least to the sane minds to let democracy move on. Unless a chance is given, how would the government perform? Being embroiled in cases would further undermine the capacity of the government to make things work for the people. Let the government pass through the acid test to see if in these few months it could live up to the expectations of the people. Otherwise the ballot would decide their fate. For the sake of democracy that has only tentatively set foot on Pakistani soil, let there be a reason to celebrate it by not letting history repeat itself.

    Recommend

  • Menon
    Jun 25, 2012 - 8:53PM

    Very simple to answer.

    For democracy to succeed, country needs:

    Visionary leaders
    Unselfish meaning not getting rich
    Always do what is good for the country and common good
    Keep militray and spy agencies under control
    Writ of the law must always rule
    Be pragmatic, realistic and does not cling on to power whatever the cost.

    When was the last time Pakistan had a truly visionary leader people respected for what he/she stood for?

    Recommend

  • Menon
    Jun 25, 2012 - 8:56PM

    @Zillur Rahman:

    No, Pakistan never had a leader who was respected by Pakistanis, who was able to motivate and lead Pakistan, never had a visionary leader.

    Not Bhutto, he had the following, and charisma but not the statemanship. Biggest achievement building the bomb even if have to eat grass and the country is pretty muc there.

    Recommend

  • Jun 25, 2012 - 9:06PM

    Pakistan is NOT a democracy! It is a military junta slightly balanced by the courts with a concealing smear of elected bureaucrats. Pakistan is not a democracy because elected officials serve ONLY at the pleasure of the military, as do subordinate officials appointed by the elected; that’s what Memogate was all about. So you may have democratic elections but you don’t have democratic rule.

    I see little prospect for true democratic rule in Pakistan unless there is a groundswell for a new system from the grass-roots level. That, however, seems unlikely as long as Pakistanis stick to the credo that any public power a Pakistani obtains, even a tiny amount, is to be abused in one’s self interest. The closest parallel I can think of, a state that overcame persistent corruption to achieve good governance, is South Korea. In the 1960s the SKs came to Pakistan to learn agriculture and industry; perhaps they’d be willing to return the favor now in the political sphere.

    Recommend

  • Jun 25, 2012 - 9:06PM

    I am sorry but I totally disagree with the stance taken in this article. Whether the present system has failed or delivered is a secondary question. Primary one being, is this a democracy? With the accepted number of bogus votes fairly estimated at 3 crores 20 lacs (confirmed by ECP), is this a democratically elected government? Further, for a democracy to be fruitful as you suggested, gurus have said that it must be led by common man, not man of property. Those ruling (who are suppose to be serving and not “ruling”, are so far from the ground realities that they cant even understand the issues of the commoners. And if one doesn’t understand the issues, you can rest assured that there will be no solution offered or attempted. Lastly, the point where it is suggested that the system is in nascent stages and requires patience, I would agree if small little steps were being taken in the right direction. When all forces are in the wrong direction and all sorts of corruption, thieves, thugs ruling is take refuge with our flawed legal system, this does not require patience. It requires an overhaul!

    Recommend

  • Pollack
    Jun 25, 2012 - 10:02PM

    A system where the unelected army holds veto power over many areas of policy like foreign policy is not a democracy.

    Recommend

  • Truthbetold
    Jun 25, 2012 - 11:22PM

    “Why is democracy not delivering for Pakistan?”

    First of all, there never has been any true democracy in Pakistan. Apart from the many decades of direct military dictatorships, the periods of “civilian rule” were only a facade since the military was still the real power wielders behind the scene. As a result, all the foreign and important domestic policy formulations were always controlled by the military. Thus, the national priority was never the welfare of the people but it was one of revisionist geopolitics and confrontation with neighbors.

    All this is hardly surprising if it is recognized that Pakistan was created to preserve the power, wealth and domination of the elite Muslim families in the name of Islam. These 40 or so powerful families continue to wield considerable power and monopolize in ruling Pakistan with the assistance and connivance of the military to this day.

    Therefore, the very foundation and founding ethos of Pakistan is the problem that will not allow it to ever become a modern democracy focused on the welfare of its people. Instead, the elite and the generals will continue a major portion of national wealth by extending their direct/indirect hold on power.Recommend

  • Abbas
    Jun 26, 2012 - 5:05PM

    Failure of Democracy in Pakistan is due to the fact that we decided our state to be Islamic. Whereas state has no religion, state is a non-living being and therefore it has to be secular and everyone has independence to follow its faith. Due to this fact we already become superior to others – patronizing ourselves and the end result is a frustrated, voilent, intolerant and impatient nation. Like Zia became the Ameer-ul-Momineen and CJP discussing that SC has the option to review the law makers decision in light of Islam and constitution. I wonder that we follow British civil law on one hand (where the laws are being made by the people representatives) how the Islam can be adjusted into it. Take a clear position first.

    Everyone here in Pakistan use the word muslims and Islam to save their faces and smultaneously impose them on others. I am a Muslim and I am liable to answer Allah, there is a direct and personal relationship between me and Allah, yet everybody in Pakistan has the right to teach me Islam through his patronizing behaviors.

    We have different contradictory things and we try to take them along simultaneously. The democracy will deliver only if state becomes secular and religion becomes everyone’s personal matter.

    Recommend

  • Hunter punter
    Jun 26, 2012 - 6:45PM

    All countries, where democracy delivers are secular. Pakistan is not. So unless that happens, democracy can never take roots.

    Recommend

  • Kataria
    Jul 4, 2012 - 12:53AM

    Lazy answers. “Islamic State” is also a process and takes time. Lets run after that instead of pie-in-the-sky fantasies about a democratic utopia.

    Recommend

  • Abbas
    Jul 4, 2012 - 12:08PM

    @Kataria: Dogmatic! Democracy is a time tested model and we have seen it worked regardless of the faith in countries such as US, Latin Americans, Europians, even India. There is one thing common (more or less) for the muslim countries and that is dictatorships and monarchies. The great scholars of political economy including Amartya Sen are of the view that democracy implies development. Isn’t Pakistan an Islamic State?

    Recommend

More in Opinion