International Democracy Day


Reema Shaukat

DEFINITION of democracy suggests that it is a form of government in which people choose leaders through vote. Later under the rule of democratic government, it is an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights. United Nations General Assembly, in a resolution, decided to celebrate September 15 of every year as International Democracy Day. The aim of the day is to promote freedom of expression and freedom of living. The United Nations says that democracy is a universal value based on freely-expressed will of people to determine their political, economic, social and cultural systems and ensure their full participation in different spheres of life.
While democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy. According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the world appears to be more unsettled than ever and the values promoted by UN are challenged in many parts of the world even by those who proclaim democracies and freedom supporter countries. In September 2015, all 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted the theme for year 2016 as” Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” a plan for achieving a better future for all, laying out a path over 15 years to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. At the heart of the Agenda are the Sustainable Development Goals, which call for mobilizing efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
The new goals result from a process that has been more inclusive than ever, with governments involving business, civil society and citizens from the outset. Now, the task of implementing and monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals requires countries to work in close partnership with civil society. Parliaments in particular have a critical role in translating the new sustainable development agenda into concrete action through passing legislation, making budget allocations and holding governments accountable. While analysing the efforts made by UN for democracy and restoration of peace in world, one observes that world is failing in attaining objective of peace, equality in rights and other factors responsible for chanting the slogans of democracy. Be it Iraq, Syria, Yemen or any other country of the world we realize that those nations who claim of democracy are violating more the values of democracy. We see USA as a big supporter of democracy but after 9/11 the environment created by USA to attack other countries in the name of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism make it no more democratic. We have seen violations of US by pressurizing Pakistan to “do more”. Similarly Afghanistan is suffering badly in name of restoration of peace and democracy. In South Asian region India claims itself as one of biggest democracies of world.
According to India, since partition after every five years selection of leadership through the process of elections make it a democracy practicing country. India declared itself a democratic federal republic through its constitution. But we see that after the first election held in 1952,people in India were and still unaware of democracy. Democracy promotes freedom and gives equality while the caste system and denial of basic rights does not make it stand upon definition of democracy. Indian violations of human rights in Kashmir is a biggest example of its fabricated tales of democracy.
By definition democracy is a form of government that is of the people, by the people and for the people but in India nothing democratic by its definition. Government is not formed by representatives of the people rather hierarchy continues and several political parties having history of worst human rights violations in India come into power and continue practicing old defilements. People have no say in the crafty moves that politicians make to come into power and India only on the basis of elections held after every five years claim that it is democratic country. Today when India entitles itself as biggest democracy it must look at Kashmir and problems of Indian common man which it is unable to resolve. UN must pay attention to deliver values of democracy and ensure that sustainable development, effective justice and equality be provided at all levels by countries.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think tank based in Islamabad.

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