Future of Democracy in Pakistan

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Pakistan was the result of a political and democratic struggle but democracy could not flourish during 62 years of its existence. The founder of Pakistan was a great democratic statesman who envisioned a democratic and progressive Pakistan. Unfortunately his illness couldn’t let him to contribute much for democracy. His death was a fine blow to the political stability of Pakistan. Liaquat Ali Khan, a devoted prime-minister elected from Eastern Pakistan was unacceptable to the ruling elite of West Pakistan and was subsequently eliminated from the political scene in 1951. These initial problems of Pakistan gave him little time to focus his attention on democratic and constitutional development of newly born state. His sudden death proved a serious blow to the nation. His successors dedicated their efforts to perpetuate their rule showing little concern to democratic development. The early years were marked with conspiracies, unethical and undemocratic tactics in power corridors of the country. This situation provided opportunity to military to intervene in politics and Ayub Khan imposed first Marshal Law in 1958. After this, army became a stakeholder in power game and ruled the country four times through coups.

The recent government has assumed power through an electoral process but after 9 years of military rule. It has not completed even two years of its formation and threats have surfaced to its existence. The current democracy is facing multifaceted challenges on economic, social, political and international fronts. This needs a sagacious approach to ensure continuance of democratic rule in Pakistan.

Today the respect of a nation in the international community is directly linked to prevalence of democracy. Pakistan has to strengthen democracy in order to earn a respectable place in the world and head towards the road of progress and prosperity.

The clouds of uncertainty are hovering over the democratic set-up in Pakistan. The major threat is absence of sound political infrastructure. Frequent Military interventions prevented growth of political culture. Political parties could not be established on modern and democratic lines. Political parities are nursuries of democracy. In Pakistan these parties are plagued with outside influence, short term goals, one man show and family politics. Political culture cannot flourish until political parties start functioning in democratic manner.

Military has emerged as a stakeholder in political process that is against the very spirit of democracy. Where it is permanent threat hanging over the government on one hand, it encourages the undemocratic forces to destabilize democracy on the other hand.

Economic difficulties are the barriers to Govt performance causing public discontent. Pakistan government is facing financial difficulties. Its economy is under developed characterized by huge trade deficit, heavy debt burden and deteriorating currency. Government lacks the requisite economic resources for public uplift. Consequently common men remain indifferent to national politics and democracy that induce undemocratic forces to intervene.

The democratic system derives its strength from people. As former American President, Abraham Lincoln, had said,

“Democracy is Govt of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Where half of the Pakistani population is illiterate and stands unaware to democratic concepts, even the major chunk of educated people remains also indifferent to political developments in the country. This allures undemocratic forces to assume the power and to their pleasure they are accorded warm welcome by the nation when they assumed the charge. Political unawareness amongst the masses poses serious threat to democracy. Democracy can flourish only if public at large get involved in the political process.

The image of political leadership has been rotten over the time. Common men tend to dislike the political personalities. They are held...
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