Future of Democracy in Pakistan
Dear members here I am adding my first ever essay that I had prepared for CSS. Now I know it can be refined further and I would make it in the next sitting. So I am waiting for the comments from seniors and want to refine it in the light of their kind guidance. Please members no exaggeration or flaunt just concrete, analytical and valuable comments.
Waiting for the comments from senior members
Future of democracy in Pakistan
• Democracy and Pakistan – Present, Past and Future
• Importance of democracy
• Threats to democracy
1. Weak political institutions
2. Influence of Military
3. Economic difficulties
4. Social Norms
5. Illiteracy – lack of political of awareness
6. Unemployment and poverty
7. Image of political leadership
8. Power politics
9. Foreign interference
10. Unbridled media
11. Feudalism and racism
12. Grievances of small provinces
13. Relation with India
14. Terrorism and extremism
• Suggestions to meet the challenges
1. Strengthing of political parties and political culture
2. Sovereignty of parliament and other statuary
3. Independence of judiciary
4. Eradication of illiteracy
5. Political awareness
6. Democratic norms
7. Economic uplift
8. Emergence of new leadership
9. Participation of youth in political process
10. Mature and tolerant politics
11. Independence of media
• Our strengths
1. Presence of pro-democracy leadership
2. Active Civil Society
3. Independent Media
4. Determined and dedicated nation
5. Pakistani Youth
In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, freedom and democracy are just more then ideals to be followed rather its necessary for survival. Noam Chomsky
Pakistan was the result of a political and democratic struggle but democracy could not flourish during 62 years of its existence. The founder of Pakistan was a great democratic statesman who envisioned a democratic and progressive Pakistan. Unfortunately his illness couldn’t let him to contribute much for democracy. His death was a fine blow to the political stability of Pakistan. Liaquat Ali Khan, a devoted prime-minister elected from Eastern Pakistan was unacceptable to the ruling elite of West Pakistan and was subsequently eliminated from the political scene in 1951. These initial problems of Pakistan gave him little time to focus his attention on democratic and constitutional development of newly born state. His sudden death proved a serious blow to the nation. His successors dedicated their efforts to perpetuate their rule showing little concern to democratic development. The early years were marked with conspiracies, unethical and undemocratic tactics in power corridors of the country. This situation provided opportunity to military to intervene in politics and Ayub Khan imposed first Marshal Law in 1958. After this, army became a stakeholder in power game and ruled the country four times through coups.
The recent government has assumed power through an electoral process but after 9 years of military rule. It has not completed even two years of its formation and threats have surfaced to its existence. The current democracy is facing multifaceted challenges on economic, social, political and international fronts. This needs a sagacious approach to ensure continuance of democratic rule in Pakistan.
Today the respect of a nation in the international community is directly linked to prevalence of democracy. Pakistan has to strengthen democracy in order to earn a respectable place in the world and head towards the road of progress and prosperity.
The clouds of uncertainty are hovering over the democratic set-up in Pakistan. The major threat is absence of sound political infrastructure. Frequent Military interventions prevented growth of political culture. Political parties could not be established on modern and democratic lines. Political parities are nursuries of democracy. In Pakistan these parties are plagued with outside influence, short term goals, one man show and family politics. Political culture cannot flourish until political parties start functioning in democratic manner.
Military has emerged as a stakeholder in political process that is against the very spirit of democracy. Where it is permanent threat hanging over the government on one hand, it encourages the undemocratic forces to destabilize democracy on the other hand.
Economic difficulties are the barriers to Govt performance causing public discontent. Pakistan government is facing financial difficulties. Its economy is under developed characterized by huge trade deficit, heavy debt burden and deteriorating currency. Government lacks the requisite economic resources for public uplift. Consequently common men remain indifferent to national politics and democracy that induce undemocratic forces to intervene.
The democratic system derives its strength from people. As former American President, Abraham Lincoln, had said,
“Democracy is Govt of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Where half of the Pakistani population is illiterate and stands unaware to democratic concepts, even the major chunk of educated people remains also indifferent to political developments in the country. This allures undemocratic forces to assume the power and to their pleasure they are accorded warm welcome by the nation when they assumed the charge. Political unawareness amongst the masses poses serious threat to democracy. Democracy can flourish only if public at large get involved in the political process.
The image of political leadership has been rotten over the time. Common men tend to dislike the political personalities. They are held responsible for all the afflictions Pakistan facing today. There are deficiencies in politicians, but these are projected to the public with exaggeration of some facts along with certain myths. This mistrust of public prevents them to concern about the political process. Political instability along with economic difficulties pushed the country towards foreign dependence. Resultantly, the international powers, in pursuance of their own goals, care little to the democratic stability of the country. All the military rulers enjoyed foreign support. 75% of financial aid by USA was received during the military regime. Purportedly, these foreign players intrigue to destabilize the political set up, when their interest require doing so.
Media independence is vital to democratic stability but it must be subjected to some ethics, rules and regulations. Unfortunately, media scarcely follows the ethical and legal limits. Commercialism some time allures it to pursue yellow journalism putting aside the national interest. In order to catch public opinion, media manipulate the facts and mis-represent it to the public where constructive criticism play a positive role, undue castigation arouse public wrath for the sitting government. Consequently people start desiring change whether democratic or undemocratic.
Feudalism is negation of equality and freedom. Democracy is not just happening of electoral exercise, it is set of principles based on the concept of freedom, liberty, equality and tolerance. Elections are just one of the manifestations of democracy. While feudalism does not hinder the electoral process, it put curbs on the people’s right of freedom. Masses are restrained to freely participate in the democratic process. Feudalism is still prevailing in Pakistan and people falling under its jurisdiction are treated like subjects. They can never become the active participants of political process.
Small provinces have lost their confidence on federation. Military rulers suppressed their demands. They were denied the genuine legal and constitutional rights. Though the present democratic government sought apology from Balouchs, no substantial efforts has been evinced yet to redress their woes, their anti-centre feelings, if not addressed aptly would aggravate in the days ahead.
Pakistan unfriendly relations with India overpower its domestic and international policies. Both the countries remained at logger heads since their inception. Pakistan, in order to counter the menace of Indian adventures, had to allocate major chunk of her resources for military development at the cost of negating other socio-economic sectors of the country. She has to maintain a large army in spite of having limited economic resources. Pakistan annually allocates 33% of her budget to defense on average. If relations with India are normalized, these resources may be better spent on public uplift, social welfare, education and health. If it happens it would bring prosperity that strengthens the democratic foundations of the country.
Terrorism is one of the biggest threats to survival of entire humanity. The entire world is intimidated of this menace and making efforts to counter it. Its afflictions are pervasive and engulfing the peace and prosperity of the nation. The multiple challenges lingering on democracy thus requires a multipronged struggle to counter them.
Political parties are the primary institutions of democracy in order to provide a solid foundation to edifice of democracy. Political parties have to re-organize and function on democratic lines. These have to establish their roots at gross root level and develop them like institutions open to public. Only political parties can ensure public participation in political process and inculcate the democratic values. A dedicated involvement of people at large would provide a solid base to democracy in Pakistan.
Parliament is representative institution of public. Executives must be accountable before the parliament. If all decisions are made through the parliament, it would strengthen democracy.
Judiciary is a foremost pillar of state. An independent and efficient Judiciary ensure prevalence of social justice in the society. It provides a plat-form to aggrieved citizens to seek redressal of their griveneces. If people get legal way to their redressal, it reduces the likelihood of illegal adventures. So independence of judiciary is key to strong democracy.
Educational uplift of the society makes its members well conversant to the concepts of freedom, liberty and democracy. People learn the blessings of public rule. It enhances their commitment to democracy and they can stand against the efforts to derail the political process.
Ironically, a considerable majority of educated people lack awareness to democracy. This issue must be addressed through transformation of syllabus on modern lines. Democracy, its need and its blessings must be incorporated as part of the syllabus at all levels of education. Besides this, government must join hands with media, civil society and other pressure groups to inculcate the values of freedom, liberty, human rights and democracy amongst the masses.
Political players must set good norms to strengthen democracy. Power thrust, intolerance and corruption have plagued the politics of Pakistan. Time has come to stop the old practices and follow the democratic values prevailed in developed societies. Political parties need revision regarding their structure as they lack democracy.
Economic growth brings prosperity in the life of common. A prosper society is more likely to adopt democracy and actively engage in political process. Leadership provides new direction to society and led them to the destination. Pakistan desperately needs trustworthy leadership that people follow dedicatedly.
Our youth constitute 30% of the society they are representative of new generation. Their participation may ensure structural improvements in national paradigm. It has been witnessed that during Pakisan movement youth played vital role in opinion formation and mass awareness and so is the time now. There is a need to guide our youth to take the responsibility of our tomorrow. Its the high time when youth is active and willing to welcome the dawn of democracy and it should be utilized to its fullest.
An impartial system of accountability enhances public trust on the political system. It provides enormous strength to democratic process. Moreover, it compels thousand who are charged with governance, to transparently discharge their official responsibilities. It ensures good governance and strengthens the political set up. Inspite of facing innumerable challenges and showing unsatisfactory performance, Pakistanis has the capability to emerge as a democratic and progressive nation. Pakistan can road to democracy with dedication, determination, commitment, courage and patriotism of its political leaders. If they are aptly inculcated with the true spirit of democracy, they are potent enough to change the destiny.
There is no second opinion that democracy is pre-requisite for Pakistan to earn a respectable place in the international community. Its track record during 62 years of existence portrays a gloomy picture. The current challenges and threats further aggravate the scene. But this does no imply there is no room for improvement. A glance at the history reveals that difficulties always appear in the life of surviving nations. But these adversities are proved blessing in disguise when these are faced gallantly. This moment becomes starting point in their journey towards success. It has all the potential to overcome the mountainous challenges; the required is unity, faith, discipline and guidance.
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Independence of Judiciary
o Introduction and short comparative review of world judicial setups
o An analysis of independence of Judiciary in Pakistan
o Its impact on state and society.
o Current bright scenario of judicial independence and constitutionalism.
o Factors enslaving judiciary
o Factors paramount essential for independence of judiciary
Man is social animal who wants and needs societal life which is interdependent. This view is expounded by both Socrates and Imam Al-Ghazali in their respective theories regarding nature of man. He interacts with his society members that give rise to mutual disputes, different crimes and general violation of rights besides good deeds. In order to purge the society of these criminal acts and maintain its just, healthy and balanced fabric an institution of independent judiciary ought to be there. By having an independent judiciary it will serve as a custodian of human rights, provide means for rule of law not man, enable man to feel protected and served. Countries of the world, therefore, Endeavour to have in practice an independent institution of judiciary. After analyzing different judicial systems of the globe it can be revealed that there are both cases of success and failure. United States of America and United Kingdom, for instance, are the well known countries that have in comparison, far succeeded to maintain independence of judiciary. People can get justice whenever their rights are violated. On the contrary, the Muslim world has failed to come to the expectation and needs of the people in imparting justice to the citizens. In fact mostly the judicial structure is influenced. Like other countries Pakistan too did little to have an independent judiciary in order to give independent and impartial justice to the people.
An institution of judiciary plays a great role in a government. It protects the civic rights of citizens of a state; it protects and interprets the constitution; it investigates corruption cases; it ventilates the grievances of; last but not the least it provides dispassionate justice to all and sundry. All these functions the pillar of judiciary plays if it is independent. Given this, are these functions emanated from judiciary in Pakistan are an important question.
Since coming into being restrained judiciary used to prevail over the country and an independent one. As a result, it remained an incomplete task that brought ill consequences for the state and society. The nation has witnessed this regrettable situation right from top to bottom during the course of history. Numerous instances can be cited to substantiate this fact. Supreme Court of Pakistan could not declare null and void the first illegal dissolution of the National Assembly by the then Governor General. Onwards Judiciary lacked independence, and perhaps the will, to bring to justice the makers of coup de’ Tates and perpetrators of constitution. Takeovers were declared legal under the garb of ‘doctrine of Necessity’. It in certain cases gave legal cover to the prime acts of take over. As when General (R) Pervaiz Musharraf by dint of his unlimited powers took over on October 1999, later on SC bench not only announced its verdict in his favour but also mandated him to alter the constitution at his will. It was the irony of time that a person became both chief executive and chief legislature. In fact, Pakistan’s 62 years short constitutional history is full of more or less like these acts of judicial containment and uncontitutionalism.
When at the top level judiciary is non-independent to such an extent how can it is independent at subordinate level. At the bottom people have generally suffered injustice. Seeking justice from court of law has become an expensive affair. When the people to whom injustice is done are in quest of seeking justice face hard ship in the process. Given the general trends in the entire process of trail, courts of justice at different level appear to have badly influenced. Politicians, officers, businessmen, influential people such as land lords, khans, waderas, nawabs and sardars prove a stumbling block in way to impartial and due justice. In the process naturally the aggrieved party suffers injustice. In light of such bleak scenario at both upper and lower levels ultimate decisions are affected, indicating lack of independence of judiciary in Pakistan.
These sorry affairs have left a deplorable impact both at state and society levels. At state level rule of law, constitutionalism and democracy have been largely received setbacks. Dictatorship raised its ugly head, disparity and a general sense of lack of legal protection. Pessimism has prevailed culminating in suppression of independent voices, opinions and thoughts that are the vertebral column of basic rights, rule of law and democracy. Freedom of press and media is influenced and country’s picture is drawn in bad color abroad. Moreover, society is also influenced: common man is suffered which has generated in him disparity, hopelessness n the society and crime ratio increased. Because, when people are menaced by the judicial system in a country they fuel enmity and take the laws of the land in their own hands. This results in general aggravation of the social order which is then ripe to unhealthy environment. Because, law and order situation of the country gets disturbed and socio-economic progress starts declining.
Now after having such an impact asking a logical question is: what are those factors which stop judiciary from playing such independent role? They are, firstly, absence of democracy in a country. Pakistan is unfortunately ruled by the army most of the time. Four military generals came and put judiciary to task. It’s independent character was damaged. Secondly, lack of a sacred constitution which was adopted and altered by the generals to secure their interests. Thirdly, lack of merit-based, independent and upright judges. Fourthly, lack of separation of powers as well as checks and balances. Fifthly, Western influence for serving their vested interests in Pakistan. The concept of rights awareness and prevalence of local traditions and customs.
Though during past judiciary played a subservient role and succeeded little to render independent justice to the people which in return badly influenced the things due to certain factors it is very delightful to see that presently judiciary has gained considerable independence. For the present independent character of judiciary October 2, 2007 proved a defining day. Before this when the presidency put charges against the Chief Justice the case was sent to Supreme Judicial Council for decision under Article 209. The decision favored the CJ. As the time rolled by, General (R) Musharraf sacked 61 judges by promulgating emergency who replaced them by PCO judges. However, over the times legal fraternity sacrificed a lot by taking pains of in launching successful rallies and protests amid resistance. It gathered more force when political parties and civil society also joined the cause for securing independent character for judiciary. The moment brought fruit when from the floor of assembly Prime Minister announced the restoration of the judges. Though later on some judges showed reluctance to be reinstated through the criteria set out by the incumbent government but all the judges ultimately got restored.
Now people have placed high hope on the judiciary to deliver justice to the who have suffered injustice for long. The cases pending for long needs to be decided in an impartial manner with speed to enable people receve justice. Because delaying justice is injustice also as people pass through the travails of hardship in the process of investigation, trail and decision. The newly announced judicial policy seems a positive step in the right direction. It needs to shoulder its responsibilities besides an environment to have its verdicts announced in an impartial manner. For creating the environment the following essentials needs to exist in the governing. Ain this regard it is mentionablr that the judiciary itself should take steps to preserve such environment sustain ably.
The first and far most essential ought to be democracy in the country. In democracy people voice does not go unheard. In a democracy the institution of judiciary is respected not underestimated. People can knock the door of justice with out any hindrance. In Western democracies such a setup exists. In this regard the precedents of Western judicial setup need to follow. For example in United Kingdom seeing justice is easy where courts of law discriminate no one on the basis of power, rank and status. It is said that in UK a clerk and Prime Minister are delivered justice on the same lines of procedure and consideration. Similarly, In the US judiciary is a very powerful institution. It can declare null and void any ordinance and congressional bill if wise judges find them to be in contrivance against law of the land through its power of judicial review. A citizen can access the court and seek justice. In America the Bill of Rights is held un-violated. People enjoy protection and liberty of life, property and honor. Similarly, there may be offered other such examples which substantiate that judiciary plays a very independent, unbiased and impartial role in the countries where democracy rules. Pakistan needs to follow suit of such independent judiciaries of the world.
Besides democracy another essential should be a secured constitution. As a constitution is a written document dealing with the powers and jurisdiction of branches of the government. In it is registered how legislature, executive and judiciary will work in there specific areas. In such a way no confrontation environment is there as every institution tries to act according to laid down principles in the constitution. So there should be a sacred constitution. In countries where the citizens enjoy the fruit of independent judiciary is due to the fact that there law rules not man.
In addition to democracy, safeguarded constitution, there should also be separation of powers. The framers of the US constitution were prudent enough to introduce the principle of separation of powers, a well known theory expounded by French philosopher, Montesquieu. This principle along with checks and balances work satisfactorily in America. If such a system is workable in Pakistan it should be introduced- certain modifications may be incorporated in the principle before it is employed as political environment of the two countries differ. This separation of powers and checks and balance constitutional system should aim at avoiding confrontation among executive, legislature and judiciary, define constitutional area of jurisdiction in a balanced manner and make the institutions effective and responsible. This will serve the national cause of judicial independence. In short every possible result-bound step be taken to enable an environment wherein the shackles enslaving judiciary are broken and transform it into a people serving independent institution.
This world ought to free from injustices meted out to people by providing judicial means to give justice by all the countries. This will put down injustice, prosper nations and build their trust. Because many peoples suffer injustices particularly in poor and developing world. The majority of people in Pakistan like other countries has remained the sufferers of the dieses of injustice due to the lack of independent institution of judiciary. During the course of history judiciary received serious blows which made it unresponsive to protect constitution, bring the culprits to justice, take suo moto actions to immediately address anomalies, interpret the constitution , reign in the access of powers by other institutions, mitigate the people grievances and protect the basic rights of people. In the availability of these judicial responsibilities and functions lies a considerable success of Pakistan in different aspects. This is possible only when independence of judiciary is ensured constantly. For this heart applying efforts and unpopular decisions need to be taken. However, given the present picture of vital developments for judicial independence, it can with reason be hoped that judiciary is fast growing towards its meaningful independence but all possible means be harnessed to ensure judiciary stays its present course.
though you have welcomed suggestions and comments from seniors, but after reading your essay, I couldn't stop myself,
your essay is well thought and well managed.
but!!! while reading it i came to certain gray areas, which I am sharing here.
please make sure, i have read it from my own perspective, I may be wrong.
at the begining of your essay and in certain parts, its seem you are writing on the problems of pakistan not on democracy, because ideas related to democracy were indirectly incorporated.
In my view, it would be sound to analyse the credentials of democracy frist, then given different cases why they failed in pakistan. e.g. the crises over constitutional development, whether to form a parliamentary form of democracy or presedential form,....etc.
secondly, in some areas you have used slang language or not appropriate use of phrases. e.g. you have used 'chunk' for both group of educated people and for resources. I think you can use appropriate words.
thirdly, you have collected excellent facts, but your own intellectual power is of great importance for assessor. particularly your vision regarding democracy should be vivid and powerful to convince the assessor.
last but not the least, I apologize for what i have written here, because, i am not an expert and i have not written a single essay yet. but....after some days i will share my writeups for you critical bombardments.
Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.
introduction(as it is a complete separate portion of essay)
comparative review of judicial setups in the world(short and using world before doesn't really suit here)
At the bottom people have generally suffered injustice. Seeking justice from court of law has become an expensive affair.
Besides democracy another essential should be a secured constitution. As a constitution is a written document dealing with the powers and jurisdiction of branches of the government. In it is registered how legislature, executive and judiciary will work in there specific areas. In such a way no confrontation environment is there as every institution tries to act according to laid down principles in the constitution. So there should be a sacred constitution. In countries where the citizens enjoy the fruit of independent judiciary is due to the fact that there law rules not man.in comparative sentences...emphasiz on later part...
over all the patteren,words,maturity and expression u used, was more than average and is appreciable if you do not commit these mistakes.....
Remedy: Plz its humble suggestion.....do read ur essay after you have written it your half of mistakes will be wiped out by your own pen....hope you will work on it
Some Suggestions for Saleeqa Batool.
Saleeqa you have done a good job . But there is always a room for improvement. So here are some of my suggestion for your essay to adorn that in a more organized way.
First of all, I would ponder over your outline.
You have started your essay with history of Pakistan in a remote way of democracy. I don't say that to write history is inappropriate rather it is an essential part of an essay, but it should be after a brief and concise introduction of the topic accompanying with present scenario.
In section of effects and consequences, you have used the technique of SWOT analysis, as is apparent from your outline section of Threats and Strengths. Would not it be more suitable to use the whole SWOT analysis?
Let me try to make a re-organized outline from your existing outline.
i- Quote of Abraham Lincoln “Democracy is Govt of the people, by the people, for the people.”
ii- Definition of Democracy.
iii- Elaboration of Democracy.
iv- Institutions of Democracy.
v- Present system of Democracy.
vi- Present Political Scenario in the wake of Democracy.
2. Brief History very concisely ( as you have given in your opening paragraph)
3. Strengths of Democracy
4. Weaknesses of Democracy
5. Opportunities for Democracy ( what opportunities democracy can avail in the present prevailing scenario?)
6. Threats to Democracy
7. Suggestions and Recommendations to eradicate the threats.
8. Conclusion having critical analysis of the present condition of the political process.
Many Subheadings can be placed under heading no 3 to 7, but due to time constraint I have kept my self away from doing that. I hope you would add these heading by yourself.
Regards and Reverence
Assistant Security Officer- BS-16
Ministry Of Defence, GHQ.
sorry to say i couldnt find future in this essay which seems to be bright.
topic is not the failure of democracy it is the futre of democracy
you remained very pessimistic in this essay you need to be more optimistic.
you can start like this
future of democracy is bright in pakistan by exactly hitting the target.
you can give million of arguments to prove that the future of democracy is bright in pakistan
media has assumed the role of watch dog instead of lapdog.
2. non intervention of military
3.present govt first time in the history going to complete its tenure.
4. the present tussle among the institutions in pak is the classic example of situation in a flux where power weilding institutions are trying to seek new place before the settlement of new power equilibrium.
5. staus quo is changing
i think optimistic view would be more safe. isnt it?
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