Democracy in Pakistan

Asmat Shah Garwaki

The renowned Urdu columnist Irshad Ahmad Haqqani once wrote in his column that in Pakistan not only the illiterate but majority of the educated people called a government democratic if it headed by a person in Shirwani and dictatorship if it governed by a man in Khaki.

In Pakistan the people use roads for the protests more than the press clubs and other power hubs. These road protests prove two things that the people in Pakistan are confronted with numerous problems and the protesters know the real meaning of the democracy; the government of the people; so they want to suffer people more by these blockades rather to bother the public representatives sitting in their bungalows and the air-conditioned parliaments.

The authentic dictionary in the shelf ‘Oxford’ interpret the term democracy as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. Yes it is. The democracies all, the big, small and few nominal have the same definition on their covers; but there is always great difference between the core and the peripheries.

We the nation read the word democracy in books and class-notes in the colleges then we hear it from the politicians in their public addresses and from the journalists in the hot TV political talk shows.

The political leaders tell the people how they been imprisoned for their democratic struggle rather to tell them about their criminal account. The Pakistan has seen a long era of dictatorship; the system where the decision of one person was implemented on the whole nation.

Only the specific and chosen people have the right to share their ideas or contribute to the policy making. The dictator is the person who prioritise himself over the whole system and the institutions. In democracy the system is all opposite. In democratic system the people through their vote decide their fate, they choose their leader and ruler themselves. It’s the process where they can make him/her accountable at any stage of his rule through the protests and other means.

Democracy is the system where voice of everyone has an equal strength. No one can subside the voice of the minorities, if the majority rules the minority would have rights for sure. One man thinking or daydreaming can’t be applicable on the whole country; each and every law goes through a proper deliberation process before to be implemented.

The democracy is a transparent process and it helps to quantify the public opinion over certain matters, especially selection of a new ruler and making a law. It promoted the equality among different frictions of the society, it enhances the dignity of an individual in a certain system, it not only improve the decision making but also play role in conflict management and correction of the previous mistakes.

Pakistan has seen both democracy and dictatorship, closely. They are aware of the pros and cons of both of the systems, even the kids in the country know that which system is helpful for the overall development of the country.

Luckily it’s second time in Pakistan that a democratic government handed over power to interim setup to hold another election and install another democratic legislative body.

Firstly the PPP led government shift power to a caretaker government and an election was held which result the PML-N government in the centre. It (PPP) was first ever democratic government which had successfully completed its five years tenure.

Later when the PML-N came into power through democracy; they were confronted by restless opposition, prolonged sit-ins and continuous protests; though they have completed their five years tenure. It was considered a victory of the democracy in the country. It also showed the trust of different institutions in the democracy and they saved it from derailing at different situations.

Now it’s again the second time that interim government is in power and preparing for the general elections and soon the third democratic government will come into power. The people in the country saying it a ray of hope and they believe that democracy is prevailing in the country. It’s believed that if all the institutions will work within their set limits and stop interruption in the matters of others, it would strengthen the democracy and it will lead the country to real development.

According to the recent census the majority of Pakistan’s population is consist of youth.

The wise-men in the political parties said that the youth is the fuel to democracy, it wouldn’t run without their contribution. The political parties, social media campaigns and different organisations working on the task has created awareness in the youth to increase the turnout ration in the elections.

The numbers of more voters matter to a party for winning a legislative assembly seat but the increase in the turnout ratio matter to the strength of the democracy. The high turnout in the upcoming election will prove our trust in the democracy, it will also show our acceptance for democracy and it will show a collective hatred against dictatorship and monarchy.



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