Democratic Principles and Practices in Pakistan: A Critical Analysis

Pakistan, a democratic state, seems like a joke. Theories of democracy suggest the three basic principles 1) Legal equality, 2) Political freedom, 3) Rule of law. However, there are three types of democracies which are Aggregative, Deliberative, and Radical.

The Democracy of Pakistan was always a hollow, dark and in the line of danger. There were several reasons where democracy failed in Pakistan. There has always been an indirect power behind every government in Pakistan. Firstly, the military dictatorship of almost 30 years caused harm to it. Secondly, the four-time Indo-Pak war and thirdly the inappropriate and sublime government systems and their inability to hold the democratic system also caused failure to it. After the establishment of newly state of Pakistan there was no constitution at all, and the state was in struggling phase from 1947 to 1956.After that in 1956 a constitution was made for the first time in Pakistan to run a state by several laws. In 1958, Ayyub khan took hold and ruled for 11 years. During his reign in 1965 a war between India and Pakistan was fought which was the failure of democracy (War is the failure of democracy in international laws). In 1969 General Yahya khan took hold of the country as a military dictator and president of Pakistan. In 1971, there came the first-time democratic move by allowing people to vote and elect their leader. At that time East Pakistan population was more (56%) than west Pakistan. So due to majority Sheikh Mujeeb wanted the whole government while Bhutto and establishment didn’t agree which led to the war between Indo-Pak in 1971 and later the partition of Pakistan. This depicted the failure of democracy for the third time. However, the first ever democratic government ruled for only seven years until another military dictator Zia ul Haq over- throned it. Zia while sinlessly claims that it was a democratic government, but that so called government decisions were always taken by him as a president. In 1999, Kargil war happened in which Pakistani army suffered a lot of damage and due to this General Pervaiz Musharraf exiled Nawaz Sharif and took the government for three years and again for five years as a president. If we look at the current scenario in which a PM is replaced by a regime change operation and electing a prime minister without the will of people of state. In democracy, the state people are everything; to which leader they want in the government. 32 years of military dictatorship,9 years without constitutional law government, and regime operations. Can we say that Pakistan was a democratic state throughout the history?

Pakistan had always a hollow and fragile system of democracy. If we go deep into the system, we shall see the flaws of its inner structure. In rural and underdeveloped areas of Pakistan the ‘Vadera Shahi’ system in which local people give vote to one specific person whether he chose ticket of one political party or its their opposition they always give vote to him. This happens mostly in Fata, Balochistan and in South Punjab. That can also be seen in villages and areas where a man has special power in his area or locality. Furthermore, gambling occurs in some of the polling stations to change the whole scenario. Can we say that people voting the same specific person and then their son later and then his son later because he has command in his area, or gambling in PS or where regime change happens, where our elected members chose his opposition just for the sake of money. Is this a democratic state?

Democracy holds upholding rule of law, tolerance, equality, and right to vote. It gives rights to people to select their leader. Pakistan had more a Deliberative democracy than Aggregative or radical. Decision makers took decisions on their hold. They can raise taxes, petrol prices and increase inflation. This happens due to the amicable public policy which results in an increase in inflation and further crises. Pakistan is also involved in autocratization democracy which is the exact opposite of liberal democracy. Autocratization is the failure of democratic laws. It is in fact a state way in which any political party comes in without any public opinion. We can see the autocratization in 1958,1977,1999 and in recent times of 2022 regime change operation. So, it proves the failure of democracy in Pakistan several times.

Pakistan also falls in the bowl of Dynastic democracy in which a leader is succeeded by his next generation and then by his next later. This is also a hereditary democracy. This is problematic because it reduces political competition and limits the ability of citizens to choose their political leaders. It can also lead to the concentration of power and wealth within a small group of families, which can lead to corruption and a lack of accountability. We can see our political parties which are all dynastic whether it is PML(N), PPP or JUI(F). This is the major problem that the state faces in order to stabilize its democracy.

In a patriotic view we always want our state to be free, with rule of law for all citizens and equality in all parts of our country. We want a liberal democracy in which every citizen has the right to vote. There should be equality and justice in every corner. Under-developed areas have a serious problem of injustice in which small and poor people falls in the hook of law while rich, who has greatness to do everything with his money and relations gets abide by the law and gets favor we see India, largest democracy in the world, they have thus maintained their democracy in which there is not a single dictator coming to hold the government. We parted at the same time. We had although similar problems to face after partition. What get us far behind to India?

Thus, the greedy eyes of our leaders to rule the state and feed their families with the states’ money and rule the people of Pakistan. The fascination of taking the government and then ruling and living a life of glory never stopped throughout and they failed to stabilize the Democracy. If we want to make our country democratic in a true sense, we should work upon ourselves and become so strong that we will not accept any leader without our opinion, and we have the right to displace him, so that democracy be alive. We want liberal democracy in which every citizen has equal civil and human rights. We want such equality that every citizen whether he is rich, or poor must pass by the rule of law and justice. Through this, we can become a Democratic state.

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