Published on ARY Blogs
We live in an age where the dominant form of government is “Democracy” or more specifically Parliamentary democracy. Democracy is not in itself a system, in its essence democracy is a set of norms and values which serve as the base of the system. From this base, a super-structure is created which appears in different forms through out the world. Democracy has a few pre-requisites which need to be in place for a functioning democracy. Without these pre-requisites a democracy cannot function properly.
Some of the pre-requisites of democracy are:
-Rule of Law
-Right to disagree
These factors need to be in place for a democratic system to work. If any single factor is missing, the form of democracy will be distorted. If a society lacks these values, then parliamentary form of democracy can never function in that society. Why? Parliamentary form of democracy relies on the intellectuals of a society. Every member of a society is not educated enough to run the affairs of the state, therefore the people choose the best from amongst them to represent them in the parliament. Herein lies the undoing of parliamentary form of democracy in places with low literacy rate. When you allow people with a low literacy rate to chose their own representatives, they are bound to end up selecting the person who is most likely to win rather than the one who is most capable. Bear in mind, illiteracy is not a standalone phase, illiteracy is always complimented with corruption and degeneration of social and moral values. Wherever there is illiteracy ,there`ll be corruption therefore if you ask a society with a high rate of illiteracy to vote, there will always be irregularities. Even if the voting is totally transparent, there exists a high probability of pre-poll rigging.
Similarly, if the notion of equality is alien to a society, then w.r.t elections, the candidates will not have a level playing field, the wealthy and rich capitalists will win the race by miles. Therefore the existence of pre-requisites is vital for a democracy to function in the best interest of the people. In the absence of these principles, there arises a need to plan a system which can implant these values within the society and wait for them to bloom before introducing the parliamentary form of democracy.
Take the example of Middle eastern countries. Pseudo democracies and monarchies! This region has been under dictatorial and monarchical regimes for so long that the people have forgotten the very values which were introduced by Quran. The values of tolerance, peace, discussion and debate. As a result when they over threw their dictators be it Mubarak or Gaddafi, democracy was too hot for them to handle and so within a few years, these countries went up in flames and slid into what now seems like a never ending civil war.
You cannot juxtapose democracy over any country you wish. World elite might think like this, but this is not the case. This is the reason Pakistan has always suffered with parliamentary styled democracy.
Here is a brief timeline of Pakistani politics.
14 August 1947 – Independence from India and British rule.
11 September 1948 – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan passed away.
16 October 1951 – First Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan assassinated.
17 April 1953 – Second Prime Minister Khwaja Nazimuddin dismissed by the Governor General.
12 August 1955 – Third Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra dismissed by Iskandar Mirza.
12 September 1956 – Fourth Prime Minister Chaudhry Muhammad Ali resigned as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, citing his failure to solve internal issues as the main reason of his resignation.
17 October 1957 – Fifth Prime Minister Hussein Shaheed Suharwardy resigned after President Iskandar Mirza refused to call a session of Parliament for a vote of no-confidence.
16 December 1957 – Sixth Prime Minister Ibrahim Ismael Chundrigar resigned upon differences with President Iskandar Mirza.
7 October 1958 – Feroz Khan Noon, ceased to be the seventh Prime Minister upon the imposition of Martial Law by Iskandar Mirza. General Ayub Khan became the Chief Martial Law Administrator.
25 March 1969 – 2nd Martial Law was imposed by General Yahya Khan.
December 1971 – The great catastrophe, East Pakistan ( now known as Bangladesh ) separated from Pakistan. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto became the President and then later the Prime Minister of Pakistan and placed Yahya Khan under house arrest.
1973 – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto became the main architect of the Constitution of 1973 which set Pakistan on the road for Parliamentary Democracy, the same constitution with subsequent amendments is still in effect today ( In theory only )
5 July 1977 – Military General Zia ul Haq staged a Military Coup, citing civil unrest as the main reason for the coup.
4 April 1979 – Former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hanged. The death sentence was on the charges of the murder of the father of Ahmed Raza Kasuri( Leading lawyer ).
17 August 1988 – Zia ul Haq died in a plane explosion. 31 others including the American Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Lewis Raphel and General Herbert M. Wassom, the head of the U.S. Military aid mission to Pakistan, died in the plane crash. The crash was termed as the “Case of exploding Mangoes” as it is thought that explosives were placed in a crate of Mangoes in the plane.
2 December 1988 – Benazir Bhutto , daughter of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, became the first ever female Prime Minister of Pakistan, she also became the first ever female head of state of any Islamic country.
6 August 1990 – Benazir Bhutto dismissed by the President Ghulam Ishaq Khan upon the charges of corruption, nepotism and despotism.
6 November 1990 – Nawaz Shareef became the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
July 1993 – Shareef resigned under pressure of the Armed forces under the the Kakar Formula where the President Ghulam Ishaq Khan also had to resign.
19 October 1993 – Benazir Bhutto became the Prime Minister for the second time.
5 November 1996 – Benazir Bhutto`s second term dismissed on the same charges of corruption, nepotism and despotism. Benazir went into self-imposed exile with her 3 kids, her husband Asif Ali Zardari was arrested and jailed.
17 February 1997 – Nawaz Shareef begins his Second term as the Prime Minister.
12 October 1999 – Chief of Army Staff General Pervaiz Musharraf staged a Military Coup against Nawaz Shareef after he tried to remove Musharraf as the military chief when he was airborne, en route to Karachi from a conference in Sri Lanka. Nawaz Shareef was arrested and jailed, upon the intervention of Saudi Arabia, a deal was brokered with General Pervaiz Musharraf. Nawaz Shareef was allowed to go into exile in Jeddah with a promise of not returning to Pakistan for 10 years with Saudi Arabia as the guarantor.
18 November 2007 – Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan as a result of National Reconciliation Ordinance, cases of corruption against her were closed. This was termed by many as the beginning of a new era of politics in Pakistan.
25 November 2007 – Nawaz Shareef returned to Pakistan in violation of his earlier agreement.
27 December 2007 – Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a shooting + suicide blast, as she was leaving the rally in Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi. ( This is the same place where the first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated )
25 March 2008 – Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani (PPP – Benazir Bhutto`s party) became the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
18 August 2008 – Pervaiz Musharraf resigned as the President after public opinion for him became adverse. The movement for the restoration of the deposed Chief Justice also became a key reason for the decline in Musharraf`s support.
9 September 2008 – Asif Ali Zardari ( Husband of Benazir Bhutto ) became the 11th President of Pakistan.
9 April 2011 – Shaykh ul Islam, Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri, in a video conference from Canada, directed his party ( Pakistan Awami Tehreek ) to start a nation wide mass awareness campaign for a complete change in the system of governance prevalent in Pakistan.
30 October 2011 – Imran Khan, chairman PTI, emerged in the political scene, by challenging the policies of the government in a public gathering in Lahore.
18 December 2011 – Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri launched a campaign against the corrupt electoral system of Pakistan.
19 June 2012 – Disqualified by the apex court for contempt of court.
22 June 2012 – Raja Parvez Ashraf (PPP) becomes the 17th Prime Minister of Pakistan.
22/23 December 2012 – Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri arrived in Pakistan and addressed a crowd of almost 2 million people gathered at the Minar e Pakistan in Lahore. In this address he presented his agenda of electoral reforms ahead of the 2013 General Elections. He gave a deadline to the government to implement the constitution in its letter and spirit for free and fair elections. The demands were not met.
14 January 2013 – Dr.Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri did a long march towards Islamabad. For over 4 days the capital was occupied by the marchers, who braved cold winter rains. In the end the government signed a declaration for the implementation of the constitution and further negotiations over the proposed changes.
15 January 2013 – The Supreme Court of Pakistan issued arrest orders of the Prime Minister in Rental Power Project Scam.
11 May 2013 – General Elections. Massive and unprecedented corruption took place, polling stations were bombed, attacked, ransacked. People were forced in some places, at others ballot boxes were stolen. Pakistan Awami Tehreek was the only political party which had announced a Vote 4 None campaign and nationwide sit-ins were held to symbolise rejection of the elections by millions of people. Dr.Qadri lead the main sit-in in Lahore.
5 June 2014 – Nawaz Shareef took oath as the Prime Minister for the 3rd time.
25 May 2014 – Dr.Qadri announced his return to Pakistan on 23rd June in Islamabad to lead the Revolution.
30 May 2014 – Dr.Qadri arrives in London, meets PML-Q and PTI leadership.
17 June 2014 – Model Town Massacre. Punjab police upon the order of Punjab Government massacred 14 people and injured over 100 activists and supporters of Pakistan Awami Tehreek and Minhaj ul Quran.
23 June 2014 – Dr Qadri arrives in Pakistan, flight Ek-612 entered Pakistans airspace around 4 am PST and it entered the airspace of the state capital at 8:15 am PST. The plane circled Islamabad 7 times and then flight control tower refused to allow the plane to land in Islamabad. The flight turned towards Lahore and landed in Lahore half an hour later. The passengers refused to leave the plane as their destination was Islamabad. A 5 hour stand off took place which was broken by Governor Punjab Ch. Muhammad Sarwar`s intervention. Thousands of people who had gathered in Islamabad were tear gassed and arrested.
10 August – Model Town – Lahore was besieged by Punjab Police. Thousands of protesters flooded into Model Town to prevent any attack on Dr.Qadri`s residence.
10 August 2014 – Martyrs Memorial Day. Dr.Qadri addressed the besieged protesters and announced to lead the Revolution March towards Islamabad on 14 August.
14 August 2014 – Protesters of Pakistan Awami Tehreek break through the barriers and started their march towards Islamabad. Protesters of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf too started their march towards Islamabad from Zaman Park,Lahore.
16 August 2014 – Both marches reach Islamabad. The sit-in starts asking for Prime Ministers resignation.
31 August 2014 – Islamabad Massacre. At least 4 protesters were killed by shelling and live bullets. Unconfirmed reports of 25 casualties, cannot be verified as police abducted the dead bodies.
As of 21 September 2014 – The historical sit-in in Islamabad is still going on.
This brief timeline of Pakistani politics paints a very very grim picture of democracy in Pakistan. In true sense, we have never had democracy. In their power politics, the politicians failed to work for the people. Since the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, we have never had sincere, honest and capable leaders. Yes we had sincere leaders, but they were incapable, we even had capable leaders but they were dishonest. It is a great tragedy that this nation never got any leader who could give everything he had, just like Muhammad Ali Jinnah , who kept his lung cancer a secret and worked tirelessly till his death.
We need to learn from our history. We have had enough politics, the whole nation needs to focus, get their act together and move towards prosperity through reforms. Strict accountability of those who have looted the wealth since decades. Hang the corrupt so that no one may dare to touch the funds which belong to the poor again. Chairman Mao, imposed death penalty on the use of Opium and within years China got rid of her Opium problem and now literally China is dominating this worlds markets. We too need to take radical and revolutionary measures.
Personally, I believe that a time comes when institutions become our shackles, when the same rules which once protected us are used to oppress us, then the rules have to be broken, systems have to be broken and replaced with new systems. There is no use in worshipping the building of Supreme Court or Parliament if they cannot deliver justice and welfare to the people.
Lets not forget that there was a time when this world was full of monarchies. The Moghuls ruled the Indian sub-continent for centuries. During the reign of Akbar the Great, Muslims and Hindus lived together, with social and inter faith harmony. Compare that with modern day democratic Pakistan and India and you`ll start feeling sick. But then Moghuls started getting weak and failed, giving way to British Imperialists. From Moghuls to the Union Jack and then the uncomfortable journey of last 68 years with a pseudo-democracy. This journey has only one lesson for us, systems are not permanent, as the world moves on, the systems of governance have to evolve to address the needs of common folk. The pseudo-democratic system of Pakistan is not stale, it is not rotten, no no no. It has become infected with gangrene and it needs to be amputated and set on fire.
The protest sit-in in Islamabad is going to complete its 40 days and the government still hasn`t accepted a single demand of the protesters. The parliamentarians have all united against the common people of Pakistan. Every day they deliver speeches where they promise to save democracy.
What democracy? The country doesn`t even fulfil the basic requirements to be called a democratic state. You cannot dress an ape in a tuxedo and call the ape, James Bond, you cannot teach a parrot to talk and then make it win a debate, you cannot dress up a dead person and tell the world that he is asleep, no that person is dead whether you dress him up in a three piece suit or a burial shroud, similarly this system is not working for us, this system gave us Nawaz Shareef 3 times! This is not a failure of this system, this my dear readers, is an indication that the system is rigged in favour of the few. We had 15% literacy rate in 1951 and in 2014 Pakistan has over 80 million people who live below the poverty line and 50 million people whose income hovers around the poverty line. According to the Global Competitiveness Index 2014 Pakistan is placed as the 3rd least safe among 197 countries in the world, only Yemen and Libya are more unsafe than Pakistan.
Lets call it a Democracy and end this debate.
All credit for this post goes to Dr.Qadri. I took points from his speeches and lectures.
Team Operation Pakistan.