Democracy and Political Development in Pakistan

Topics: Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf Pages: 10 (3256 words) Published: January 16, 2010
Thesis statement
Due to the continuous political instability and recurring military interventions in decision making, Pakistan is far from witnessing a healthy and democratic political system in the near future. Introduction

On the international scene, states have been struggling to obtain their independence and sovereignty. But the biggest threat that arises after accomplishing independence is the way the government rules, the standards it follows and the goals it sets. This is when a new journey begins where the government searches for the best system that suits the country and satisfies the different sections of its population. Most of the states adopt democracy to be the dominant process in politics. But each state has its own definition for democracy or applies democracy in its own way. One of the states that still struggle today to find its own peace and stability is Pakistan, which was site for different cultures . Historically, Pakistan encountered waves of conquerors that resided in the region, and who influenced the residents of that area and were also absorbed among them, till the independence of Pakistan that was established on August 14, 1947 . This paper will be studying the development of democracy in Pakistan, highlighting the major historical events the state has undergone, starting with the instability the country has and is still witnessing, moving to the succession of different leaders and their attempts to modify the state to suit their interests and stressing on the existence and evolution of democracy and its role in shaping the country internally and internationally.

Political instability in Pakistan and the succession of different leaders

Ever since Pakistan took its independence, stability was never the case of the state. Martial Law prevailed for long periods in Pakistan during instable situations. This system takes place whenever the military takes control over the state and it diminishes the rights of the citizens and poses severe and harsh punishments or penalties than ordinary law . This law is enforced in Pakistan after a coup d’etat and poses a threat for the freedoms of citizens and to democracy as well. During the instable history of Pakistan, different parties were fighting for power and elections were rarely the adopted solutions to solve the conflict. For example, whenever tensions increased between the government and opposition, the president would declare the abrogation of the constitution and a situation of emergency would govern the country; ministers would be considered dismissed, assemblies dissolved and political activities banned : under such circumstances, in 1958 General Ayub Khan ousted President Iskandar Mirza. Another example that shows the absence of a democratic and fair electoral system in Pakistan where people could choose their representatives is when in 1977 Zulkifar Ali Bhutto moved forward the elections in order to prevent the opposition from making the necessary arrangements and preparing themselves to participate in the forthcoming elections . This is when nine important parties formed a coalition under the name of Pakistan National Alliance (P.N.A.) and the alliance started enjoying wide popular support. But the elections shocked everyone when Bhutto’s party won most of the seats and there were reports circulating that armed members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (P.P.P., or the party supporting Bhutto) removed ballot boxes in addition to marking ballot papers during the elections. When we talk about elections, we expect that the succession of power from a political leader to another will take place smoothly and fairly especially under the conditions of clean and well arranged elections during which each citizen would be allowed to choose freely his representative in the government to be. But in Pakistan, things are run differently and ousting the president and taking over by force has been a common trend adopted by different political leaders or...

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