pakistan and democracy

Written by Shanze Khalid 11:47 am Articles, Pakistan, Published Content

Democracy or Monarchy — What Will It Be For Pakistan?

With the political system in disarray, the author, Shanze Khalid, claims that Pakistan actually resembles a monarchy. She supports her assertion by giving references to Pakistan’s convoluted relationship with dynastic politics and corruption.
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About the Author(s)
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Ms Shanze Khalid is pursuing a degree in Sociology and Anthropology with a minor in English from LUMS. Having gained recognition for her voice, she is an emerging artist and has uploaded some of her music on Spotify.

Anything but a Democracy

The untouchables virtually ganged up against the only unconventional leader that this nation was looking up to. The sequence of events that led to the no-confidence motion of 9th April 2022 in Pakistan is a manifestation of how easily the concept of a so-called democracy can be exploited and used to one’s own advantage.

A few families in Pakistan have managed to exploit the system and use their authority and financial strength to manoeuvre and manipulate the sham democratic system in Pakistan for decades. All the main contenders who aspired to hold the highest offices of this country – president, prime minister, chief minister – are currently on bail and trying to clear their names in cases involving corruption of millions of dollars.

Are these people our role models, and within whom we, once again, wish to vest the power of ruling this country? One quick look at the profile of our leadership in Pakistan illustrates how it comprises only money launderers, murderers, traitors, and multibillionaires whose source of income cannot be verified – certainly not representing the common man, which is supposed to be the essence of democracy.

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Dishonesty & Disappointment

It is absolutely imperative for us to let the fact, that these are the people who are leading us, sink in. In the presence of irrefutable evidence of how the elected parliamentarians were forced to change loyalties and cast a vote in favour of the opposition, it would not be wrong to declare this as a violation of not only the constitution but also the non-existent code of ethics and morals of this country.

It’s ironic how the “conscience” of certain parliamentarians forced them to indulge in floor crossing and backstab not only the political leadership but also the voters who contributed to their success in the 2018 elections. Unfortunately, such a blatant and brutal violation of the basic code of morality is ratified because of the loopholes in the system.

The recent developments have caused sheer disappointment and hopelessness amongst the patriotic citizens of this country who have been desperately awaiting a light at the end of the tunnel for decades now. Should we call it a coincidence that what was observed during the Bhutto regime has a striking similarity to Imran Khan’s (which basically underlines the fact that the status quo has simply prevailed over the last few decades)?

Dynastic Politics

Ironically, it is the descendants of Bhutto, who are most actively responsible for hatching a plot against an elected government, preventing them from completing their tenure of 5 years. The influential elite that was the major role player in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s has simply been succeeded by their children and grandchildren.

The turmoil that this nation is experiencing speaks volumes of how the decaying system has taken us all for a ride – we, the people, have been used as steppingstones by these quasi-democrats who have always been the ultimate beneficiaries. The fact that even our political leadership is inherited – and the prerequisite to holding the highest possible office in Pakistan, always has been the association with an influential family – mirrors where we, as a “democracy”, are headed.

The rule of law was non-existent in the past and apparently, the situation has only worsened with time. Our political history is nothing but a comedy of errors. It appears in this country that you can get away with anything if you know the right people in the power corridors.

Countless cases can be quoted here, such as the Nazim Jokhio murder, in which an influential politician was directly involved and is still a part of the voting procedure in the National Assembly, since he has been “forgiven by the widow of the deceased” – what a mockery of our legal system.

An Independent Foreign Policy? Not on their Watch

The sheer absence of an independent foreign policy has always challenged our national sovereignty. Statements like “beggars can’t be choosers” by the prime minister in waiting on national television are a reflection of what our current national leadership stands for. Despite his shortcomings, Khan emerged as the messiah that this nation has been waiting for.

His unquestionable integrity and commitment to his cause serve the purpose of a beacon of hope for this devastated nation. His desire to formulate a foreign policy keeping in view the interest of this nation seems to be causing his downfall also – something Bhutto had to face after he delivered that bold speech in the United Nations Security Council. We should all hope and pray that he doesn’t meet a similar fate.

Though there were major flaws in his leadership style too, the way Bhutto was ousted and ultimately killed through a judicial murder is a testament to how he, too, primarily wanted an independent foreign policy that did not align with the interests of the international role-players. They, in collaboration with the people with vested interests in Pakistan, contributed to the ultimate downfall of a charismatic leader.

A Leader for Pakistan

A leader, by definition, is one who can master the art of influencing others in such a way that they start following him willingly. Needless to say, Khan stands as the closest match – the only one who has the courage and fearlessness to stand tall against the clans who have been labelled as the “Sicilian mafias”, running this country as though it’s a family-owned corporation.

After Bhutto, Imran Khan seems to be the first political leader who has massive, organic support and is equally popular within all segments of society across the nation. Our own performance has not been exemplary as a nation either, but we could’ve done better had we not been governed by politicians, but rather, by true leaders and statesmen.

It is heart-breaking to see how the 6th largest population in the world, which happens to be a nuclear power — the only one in the Muslim world, and the 7th in the entire world — is driven by a bunch of autocratic democrats; an oxymoron, sure, but one which, sadly enough, does paint the true picture. It is a sorry state of affairs but, in the words of the revolutionary poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, “Lazim hai kay hum bhi dekheingey”.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article/paper are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Paradigm Shift.

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