Political participation is a basic element of any political system which is the key for its proper functioning. Among all political systems of present day World democracy is the most popular. In a democratic political system political participation plays a critical role and the common people are being considered as the primary source of political power. Abraham Lincoln described his democratic government as “government of the people, by the people and for the people (Lincoln, 1863). So democracy is all about the people’s participation. The philosophy of social parity and deference for the human being within a society are the basic theme of democracy. Pakistan is also a democratic country where people’s participation in the politics has also great importance. “Political participation is an essential element of political system. Political participation varies from country to country. In countries, where the system either denies more participation or has no respect for it and people do not participate in it, the chances of political instability or revolution become bright. Mcclosky says that political participation is a voluntary activity in policy-making, and a voluntary activity in selecting policy makers. Here, by policy-making, an indirect or direct influence over the policy-making.”(Taheri, 2006). The right of political participation refers to citizens’ right to seek to influence public affairs. Political participation can take many forms, the most notable of which is voting in elections, but also including joining a political party, standing as a candidate in an election, joining a non-governmental advocacy group, or participating in a demonstration. Participation in its general form is “to take part in the conduct of public affairs”. Public affairs might include the activities of civic associations, neighborhood groups, social movements, and social clubs, as well as formal procedures of governments. Thus, although participants in public affairs must be citizens, the domain of action is not restricted to formal political institutions but also includes social activities of a public nature. The second form of participation is more specific “elections”. Elections are just one mode of public participation, but they are widely recognized and utilized. Elections are assigned a special importance for participation. (Klein, 2005). The term 'political participation' usually refers to behavior like voting, campaigning, demonstrating, rioting, and the like. These modes of participation vary widely between distinct political systems and cultures, and between different points in time. (Van Deth, 1986). Political participation varies from country to country. There are some countries that encourage people’s participation in political affairs of the nation. Switzerland is a country where people enjoy extraordinary rights of political participation as they can ask the government to pass specific type of laws by giving them a form with a specific number of signatures of the masses and the government is bound to ponder on those suggestions but people of Pakistan don’t have such right. Forms of political participation
There are two forms of political participation.
Conventional politics and Contentious politics
This refers to routine, institutional and regular forms of political action such as political parties and interest groups. Types of participation
Usefully, there are seven types of participation: totally inactive, Voting specialists – involved only in elections, Parochial participants – concerned with personal issues only, Communalists – interest limited to local issues, Campaigners – participate in campaign activities such as to gather support for political candidate, Complete activists – engaged in all aspects of political life. Contentious Politics
It refers to riots, rallies, mobs, marches and revolutions.
There are some similarities between...
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