Ali Ashraf Khan
AN assessment of democracy within political parties in Pakistan conducted and published by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) has found out that the ruling PML(N) is the least democratic party in the country. Other major parties are following suit and all democratic performances are ranked below 50% with the exception of only one party: the Jamaat-I Islami. The PILDAT report also notes that the weak internal democracy of leading parties in the country – PML-N, MQM and PPP – has not come in way of their mass appeal. And the JI though having the highest degree of internal democracy with regular elections, changes in leadership through polls, meetings of consultative councils and working committees and discouragement of dynastic leadership, could not improve its appeal to voters despite all this.
What does that tell us about democracy in Pakistan? Democracy as a tool to rule and run a country in the first place can work right only if the people of that country are democratic minded which means that they are holding values like equal rights for all men (and women), merit as the only quality for being chosen for a position and a clear understanding about the national interest that has to be put above all others, especially above personal and group interest. These values need to be held not only by the politicians and elite of the country but by all members of the society as such. Otherwise they cannot act accordingly and that is what we observe in Pakistan. Pakistani society is far from acknowledging equality of men and equal rights.
The rulers think they are much better and should be entitled to specific rights. The poor people most of the time accept and respect the status quo and their disadvantaged position. They are bound by caste system and tribal bounds and have no freedom of decision making. The Tribal leader, head of the Biradri, Pir or Land lord will decide for whom to vote, to whom give the daughter in marriage and which business to run or not to run. How can we expect in such a situation that internal democracy or even democracy as a political tool would work?
Democracy is a western political system and it doesn’t suit our society and this point we have always voiced that democracy does not suits the genesis of the people of Pakistan. The Poet philosopher Allama Mohammad Iqbal has very aptly described Parliament’s role as detrimental to the security of public interest because of its undemocratic approach, he said “Azz Maghaz-e-du sad Kherr – Fikre-e-Insaani name Ayed” that from all the brains of a group of two hundred donkeys, you cannot get an iota of reflection of man’s thinking. On another occasion he had described democracy as a system in which heads are counted and not valued according to weight (calibre) Now everywhere including the West democracy works under the pressure of US, EU, WB, IMF and WTO and others. We have adopted democracy so as to avail of the money they are giving to us. We are running the formalities of a democratic system like elections and Parliament but both are just formalities. Neither can elections give power to the people – who would anyway not be able to handle it – nor has the Parliament any power or will beyond the will of the members to get hold of the goodies connected with the position. But interesting things are happening in the West as well. Many of us are observing the farce of Presidential elections going on in the US right now – a process that has nothing to do with democracy as it was thought of originally. The dirty game played to bring and support World Jewry agenda to achieve their own goals, we had written before how Woodrow Wilson was brought in White House in 1912 elections to get the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 passed, and then why and how John F. Kennedy was murdered because he had in 1963 repealed the Federal Reserve Act, which was re-enacted by his successor President Lyndon B. Johnson. How George W. Bush stole the election from a strong Jewish candidate Al-Gore in 2000, a Court order of Florida made him win the elections and Al-Gore did not challenge it because of requirements of this agenda that was to be launched through 9/11 plot.
Now to support Hillary Clinton – their favourite – they not only forewarned her not to accept election funds from Muslim channels using channels of money laundering. Donald Trump, contender for the Republican ticket, became popular with his anti-Muslim stance and legislation to stop further emigration. When the required manpower that was not there to develop their landmass they engaged in slave trading, hundreds of thousands of Africans were transported into USA, from pirates as caged workers; these blacks in spite of being in sizeable number had no rights, freedom or equality in US. Martin Luther King and his Charter of Human Rights are trampled every morning by Americans and their cohorts in the world. But even in good old Europe where democracy was invented, things are not the same any more. New parties have come up with strong racist and rightist agendas but so far their membership is limited. Rather than party programmes personalities are representing the parties today and the traditional political philosophies such as conservatism, social democracy or liberalism have lost contours and importance. And one cannot close the eyes on the fact either that the policy of those elected democrats has become less and less ‘democratic’ i.e. mirroring the wishes of the people.
It was General Ziaul Haq who sent Lt. General Mujeebur Rehman on psychological warfare course and on his return posted him Federal Secretary Information to exercise strong control on print media. When Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister, an era of so-called liberalization was started with issuing licences for private TV channels and establishment of private bank. The social, cultural and value system was compromised under the open market economy agenda and corruption became the name of game in Pakistan that twice PPP and PML and IJI governments were sent home on corruption charges but sooner than later. When puppets were needed by super power to secure its interest in Afghanistan, a Charter of democracy gimmick was coined and followed by infamous NRO that was written under direct supervision of US State Department by Mr. Richard Boucher. Now we are helplessly witnessing civil military institutions fielded against each other and Asif Zardari and Altaf factor debated by using one time close associates revealing allegations and leaking stories that are nothing but going to damage our national fabric. Pakistan needs a Pakistani solution for our problems and the proportional representation system with President as chief executive is a better alternative.
—The writer is a senior columnist based in Karachi.