A Short Essay: Democracy in Pakistan

A Short Essay: Democracy in Pakistan

Pakistan ranks 104th in the Democracy Index of 2021 (compared to 105th in 2020). Its democracy score is only 4.31. It implies that there is no true democracy in Pakistan. Rather it has a hybrid regime. Norway has the highest score on this index(9.75). On the poverty index, we can see that Norway is once again at the top. It implies that it has the least amount of poverty. So, democracy and less poverty are directly proportional. Uncertain political conditions reduce foreign investment which creates inflation. Ultimately, the country becomes the victim of poverty.

A country having a better ranking in the Democratic index will be having a better ranking in the poverty reduction index. So there is a connection in both and we clearly obtain result that democracy is a solution for poverty reduction in a nation.

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Democratic governance means a government system in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives. The government in turn runs the country according to the mandate given by the people.

A controlled democracy existed in the 1950s, and a simple democracy did so in the 1960s. A socialist democracy existed in the 1970s, a guided democracy existed in the 1980s, and a sham democracy existed in the 1990s. India and Pakistan, two gained independence in 1947. They had the same constitution, the Act of India 1935. However, governance was the issue. Unlike India, Pakistan experienced an alternative system of government; civil and martial administration.

Pakistan saw several pitfalls. But, now Pakistan is convinced that strengthening democracy in Pakistan can be shaped with hard work. It can be done by the supremacy of the constitution, independence of the judiciary, and rule of law.

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Democracy in Pakistan

Causes of Failure of Democracy in Pakistan

There are a number of following factors responsible for the failure of democracy in Pakistan.

1. Institutional Imbalance

Since the creation of Pakistan, it is experiencing institutional imbalance. Its roots go back to the British period. Pakistan’s institutional imbalance is due to civil and military bureaucracies and non-democratic parties. Besides, weak political institutions are also causing an imbalance in Pakistan.

Pakistan always lacked a system that could hold free and fair elections. Free and fair elections should be based on a universal franchise. If there was such a system, it could provide a conducive environment for democracy to grow.

2. Intervention of Military

The democratic failure in Pakistan left so much gap to give an opportunity to the military to fulfill that gap. Formal involvement of the military in civilian matters began in 1953. They intervened to contain the riots between Sunnis and Ahmedis. But, in 1958 military intervention resulted in the martial law period.

From 1958 to 1969, Field Marshal Ayub Khan ruled Pakistan. Generals Yahya Khan from 1969 to 1971, Zia-ul-Haq from 1977 to 1989, and Pervez Musharraf from 1999 to 2008 ruled Pakistan. All martial law rulers banned political parties during their regime periods. Moreover, even constitutional abolitions and desired amendments have been there relentlessly.

3. Evasion of Land Reforms

The greatest factor responsible for the failure of democracy in Pakistan is the evasion of land reforms in Pakistan. Feudal hold has increased since its creation. Supreme bureaucracy and feudalism are the two main consequences of the evasion of land reforms.

4. Lack of Vision in Politicians

Lack of vision and lack of competence in leaders is being seen in Pakistan. Pakistan’s conservative clerics and leaders have concocted theology with democratic culture. They have not even established the correct system according to religion. Moreover, they didn’t want the development of modern times.

5. Manipulated Election Process

“Free and fair elections” is one of the necessary elements of democracy. Democratic government is actually the most popular government which can only be achieved by free and fair elections. Only free and fair elections guarantee the genuine representation of people in Parliament. Furthermore, only elections are the source of peaceful regime change. People create a nuisance if they can’t represent their needs and desires.

In this regard, Pakistan has a disappointing image. All general elections except 2006 and 1971, have been manipulated in different ways. Some of them were manipulated during the pre-phase of elections and some were manipulated during elections. Besides, some of them were manipulated in the post-phase of elections.

6. External Threats & Internal threats

Since the creation of Pakistan, it is facing huge threats from everywhere. Some of the threats are from strong neighbors and the remaining are from extremist Pakistanis. Both threats, whether it is external or internal make it compulsory for the armed forces to become involved in civilian matters. Subsequently, this involvement weakens democratic decision-making.

7. Corruption

Corruption is rampant in Pakistan and pushing our nation to a dead end. It includes the misappropriation of public funds, debts, nepotism, bad debts, misuse of power, and favoritism. The corrupt mafia has blocked the development of Pakistan. Subsequently, people have lost their trust in democratic government. Besides, corruption poses a great threat to Pakistan’s development in the future.

8. Sectarianism

Sectarianism is engulfing Pakistan since 1947. The adoption of religion as a guiding principle in the constitution is causing uncertainty in Pakistan. Basically, it is due to two major sects inhabiting Pakistan i.e. Sunnis and Shias.

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Way Forward

Recommendations for Political Parties:

  1. Political parties should develop well-defined people-friendly ideologies.
  2. They should expand their organizational network.
  3. All political parties should have an outlook on democracy as a culture, rather than a process.
  4. They should train their staff for imparting democratic education.
  5. They should counter the supremacy of non-political institutions.

Recommendations for State

  1. First of all, the state should make sure of the supremacy of constitutions.
  2. There should be immediate steps taken to abolish feudalism in Pakistan.
  3. Some new laws should be introduced to ensure free and fair elections in order to prevent rigging.
  4. An independent judiciary should be ensured to implement the rule of law.
  5. Moreover, there is a dire need for civil-military cooperation in Pakistan. it should be ensured.

Recommendations for Youth

  1. Youth is an indispensable role in democracy. They should register their votes and take an active part in elections.
  2. They should join political parties after education.
  3. All youth members should participate in the election considering it a responsibility.
  4. They should be aware of political parties and institutions in Pakistan

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