Monday, July 21, 2008
Bewilderment of Democracy
BEWIDERMENT OF DEMOCRACYBy Major(R)Khalid NasrWhen we go through the history of Pakistan a few faces appear on the political chess board. Muslim league has its roots in combined British India therefore some good leaders emerged on the political scenario. A democratic society demands a significant role by political parties in articulating citizen's aspirations. They are dependent on people's support and trust to play their role as a link between people and state. All major political parties in Pakistan indulge in an undemocratic malpractice of becoming life-time chairpersons. Our political leaders have no personal vision or agenda----party agenda is blindly followed irrespective of the changing scenario. The track records of our political leaders have made them a security risk. The roles played by Benazir, Nawaz Sharif and Altaf Hussain are an open secret. They openly discuss Pakistan’s security issues with American, European and above all Indian media. It is important for our national security that a limited role by army be institutionalized ---leading to a controlled democracy. National Security Council is an ideal institution for this purpose. Therefore, keeping in view the geo-political scenario, it is suggested that we should revert back to the Presidential System in Pakistan, our political class is basically made up of feudal lords. Their top priority had been their self and local interests rather than national interest. There is a hope and expectations from our political leadership. There is a need of a change in the mind-set of our political leaders. Instead, of allowing a revolving door for our tried and tested leadership, where they swap leadership positions; young blood with vision and initiative must be encouraged. This demands nothing else but regular elections within our political parties. It would not be wrong; if we adopt a two party system in Pakistan; because a multi -party system creates political instability and a weak government; generally dependent upon forming coalitions. The road to democracy has to be incremental and controlled. We must learn to crawl, before we walk. In the road to democracy, we must take small steps; instead of making giant leaps; which lead to turmoil. Instead of being aggressive and violent; the movers and shakers for the struggle for civilian led democracy; should let the Supreme Court and ballot box decide the future democracy in Pakistan. Basic fault lies in the fact that Feudalism (which doesn't allow democract to flourish) wasn't abolished in Pakistan; whereas it ceased to exist almost immediatly after partition. Both Indians & Pakistanis had their exposure to democracy through Parliamentary & not Presidential form of Government. Despite other odds, the experiment was successful in India and a failure in Pakistan.Why, the answer has already been furnished above. Besides, Presidential form is fraught with risks of all sorts. Whereas political abuse of power is a prevalent practice in US, it is almost unknown in UK. These two represent the role models of their respective forms. The former was a new nation bereft of the experience of ages; which the latter enjoyed apart from the World experience earned during colonial period. Apart from it, US stood isolated socially, politically, and geographically; hence their experience was also limited. We in Indo-Pak lived under absolutely monarchy during Muslim period, though elemental democracy was seen in the institution of Panchayats during Hindu period.When we compare the two nations, we reach the conclusion that Bharat learned a lot during British period, unfortunately we didn't. The secret of success doesn't lie in sommersaults, but in a firm resolve to learn from experience irrespective of the fact whether it resulted in success of failure.