Are we eventually not back to the square one? The ever so familiar situation repeating itself every so often _ the civil military stand off and the government and judiciary finding themselves at loggerheads yet again feeding ample fodder to the insatiable milling machine of media thankfully to sensationalize and spice things up to their liking, churning out conspiracy theories by creating an unnecessary hype at times while acting irresponsibly by neglecting the imperative developments and details at others to mislead ( read to keep informed) the public at large but to keep their business and entertainment (talk) shows going round the clock.
The history is perhaps tired of repeating itself over and over again but we are not. While the cynical circular spectrum of events continue to go round and round statically with no linear development over the six decades, interestingly the question remains who is actually at fault?
Was the judiciary at fault when ZAB riding the crest of a mammoth tide of popularism was hanged? Certainly! Was the judiciary at fault when the over zealous Sultan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif stormed the supreme court overwhelmed by his lust of power? Certainly not! Is the judiciary at fault now when it is taking government to task over a couple of security and political issues? Anybody’s guess!
More? Was it democratically elected Nawaz Sharif at fault when he dismissed the then COAS Musharraf or was the military takeover a logical reaction to Sharif’s voracious desire for omnipotence while undermining the freedom of various state institutions?
While it appears deceptively simple to single out Army as the most criminal force and factor in the equation that has arguably rooted out seeds of democratic culture that have been sown time and again but haven’t the democratic institutions failed time and again and caved in owing to their intrinsic weakness, imbalance, disharmony and reckless measures? I am certainly not for khakis to step in or marching boots to trample the constitution at their own free will. There are far too many lessons to learn from the autocratic Islamic revolution led by Hazarat General Muhammad Zia ul Haq and later, in stark contrast, the radiant era of “Renaissance” unleashed by enlightened moderator Mush__ both reminding us of the ages of darkness ironically in one way or the other. But the fact remains that unlike the rest, Military is the only disciplined and organized institution of the state with supposedly far less public dealing and external influence. In all fairness, doesn’t Military get more than its due share of blame for the failure of state or democratic process or institutions? Again, even if for the argument’s sake, Military is the mother of all ills, isn’t failure of a major state institution to understand its due role and to overstep its limits or jurisdiction blatantly time and again be deemed as the failure of democracy or system itself?
If so, this brings us back to the million dollar question, how in the world do the tenets of western democracy offer the best solution to our typical political, social and economic problems that have failed to grab roots in sixty four years?
If going to the polls with 35 million bogus registered votes every now and then and casting our vote in the favour of the candidate solely on the basis of birardari or “kinship” as Anatol Lieven ( Pakistan a hard country) puts it earns us the licence to be a democratic state, who are we fooling by expecting a change to take place simply by sticking to this ritual? Not to undermine our society, but have we got the literacy, awareness, religious and social freedom and justice, tradition and maturity to inculcate that culture of expression of freedom, tolerance, mutual respect, equal rights for all human beings that constitute the spirit of democracy together?
If not, then why are we obsessed with the secular models of western democracy that will never work for us or has never gained roots in the sixty four years of the existence ofPakistanas a state?
My dear friends and intellectuals who cannot see beyond the dazzling virtues of democracy and exist as if only to keep on harping about it, let us be honest and analyze is democracy the only system that has brought about change coupled with social and economic upliftment round the globe or region? We may snub China for poor human rights standings but what has brought about that magnificent rise in its economic power and splendour? Democracy? Why forget the Asian tigersSingapore? While the state has remained a kingdom with no natural resources of its own (even the drinking water is to be imported from the neighbouring Malaysia), who can deny the remarkable turn around in its stature and economic fate that has earned it the informal title of the ‘Most orderly state” in the world just in a few decades?
Call it our mindset but name a single mainstream political party that has nurtured democratic culture within its rank and file. Does passing the leadership on to the next generation or the memebers of the family like personal fiefdom or heritage does not negate the spirit of the democracy itself? Or is it perfectly cool to build on a monarchy of Sharifs, Bhuttos, Zardaris & Madaris while harping about democratic traditions and process?
To cut it short, there may well be countless virtues and democracy may still be the best form of governance but what good is it if it does not deliver but rather dis-enfranchise the masses to the point where the state is brought to the brink of its existential threat?
To me, democracy is after all a means or mode to deliver!