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The slogan for democracy as the only feasible solution to rule a country is pretty obvious in today’s media because the notion of democratic model is based on two basic principles which are of central importance: freedom and equality. These principles reflect that all citizens are equal before the law and have equal access to power and the freedom they enjoy is secured by a constitution i.e. a system protecting legitimate rights and providing all, similar liberty. In history, democracy is seen as a political government carried out either directly (direct democracy) or through a system of representation (representative democracy.) But in my view democracy is a principal flawed not only in its basic theoretical foundations but also limited and impossible in its practical applications because of the manipulative tendency it affords to its practitioners who are at the top of the system.

It has been said that the ideal embodiment of the theoretical democratic dynamics is the United States of America. The one person in the United States who was said to be the stalwart of democracy is considered to be Abraham Lincoln. According to him, democracy means a form of government which is ‘for the people, by the people and to the people’(). Thee basic operatives of the dictum are such that it is a system based on representation through election. The masses vote for the people who they deem to be the most suitable for the office or post under consideration So, in its true essence, this model states that the elected lobbies have all the rights to make different laws whether these laws favor people who have elected them or are actually detrimental to their existence in a political and social sphere.

The notion illustrated above (which is basically the bedrock to the operation of democracy) asserts that an elected representative will make laws either way but it is been generally observed that these laws have only benefited those people who are either in his political party or are form the lobby which supports him, from whom he will take help in the next elections. It also may work for the best interest for those people who are influential or have large amount money to fund the election campaign of the person. A perfect example of this would be how different corporations finance the election campaigns for candidates running for the Presidential post().  For instance, in United States the representatives work for the best interests of their party because the social bonds within them are so influential that they don’t want to spoil these relations at the cost of national interests. Health bill is an example of such a bond. The ruling governments since 1912 are trying their level best to introduce health reforms but they have failed to do so because of some influential people in the establishment who do not want this bill to be passed. Yet the current representatives have failed to develop a mutual consensus on the health bill as one of the primary agendas. The Obama administration government was to pass this bill but still after two years, no progress has been made due to insurance lobby who does not want this bill to get passed. Conversely it should it is absolutely imperative to note that this bill would be completely helpful to the major populace of the country. Mr. Ryn, in his book, can democracy survive, The New Jacobinism has analyzed the current state of democracy in the west. He argues that democracy in the Western states is on a constant decline due to moral, spiritual and cultural values that were once of central importance in the West. In his view change brought by modernity lead to grave modern decline. Ryn also asserts that the above mentioned social fragment leads to self-assertion by different sections of the people who are different in various aspects such as their culture, nature etc. and therefore, hostility and aggressiveness is generated amongst them.[1] For example, in 2002 elections, votes in Florida weren’t counted because a Black American was winning by a huge margin and those in the status quo did not want the age old establishment to be disrupted and did not want a black to win from this territory.

Within the United States, due to changing demographics, if democracy is implemented in its true spirit the predominately Caucasian establishment and the existing political system might loose power to those who don’t share same values. For instance, within a decade the non-whites may outnumber the white ruling elite. If a country is really democratic than will heroes of USA still be Washington and Jefferson or will heroes of the country be replaced by non-whites such as Martin Luther and Malcolm. Will the Presidential house be named as white house or black house? Europe has also similar concerns. There are right wing movements in Nations who want to revise the existing political arrangement. Between 1999-2002 government of Russia, Italy, Portugal, Norway and the Netherlands all have experienced a political and ideological shift to the right which also threatened European Union and its enlargement.[2]

Also, in Pakistan the situation is critical because of the allegations, namely that of the  “The Swiss Case”, on the current President. He is accused to be in possession of illegal property in Switzerland which tie him blatantly to various money laundering cases. The Supreme Court wants this case to be re-opened but the Swiss judiciary has rejected to re-open the Swiss case as President apparently enjoys immunity under the constitution. He cannot be held culpable because he holds the highest office of this system and he cannot be summoned to the court. So, it can be inferred that the running democratic model in the world is full of biases and the worth of ‘what is innately and inherently right’ is apparently not understood and even disregarded. Another important example of this model is that it discriminates a common person from an elected one as these officials are elected for a certain time frame and in this time frame they can run and develop an institution in the manner they wish for and like. So, people usually don’t get what they wished for, as stated above, such as the example of health-bill.[3]

Moreover, the major concern of the ruling is to hold their office as long as they can and to turn no attention to the grievances of the common man. The biggest issue for a common person is the price hike that is, how in two years the prices have increased 300 percent and on the other hand media portrays and claims that the representatives are trying to develop a notion of real democracy in which they are more concerned about institution building. It is in no doubt that it is necessary for a country to have well developed institutions but a representative is supposed to solve problems and provide comfort to common. They should address the grievances of their voters before institutional building and that the ruling governments have failed to provide the basic needs to common. They should endeavor more to solve the problems at the basic level rather than to bother about the petty details regarding constitutional policies. So, the notion of freedom is manhandled by the representatives as they turn a deaf ear to common people’s grievances. These grievances create social uprising and political fragmentation among the masses.

The notions of lawyers’ movement, Pathan-Mohajir conflicts, terrorist bombings etc. are examples of self assertion that different classes want to induce on others. And because of the loss of moral principles and increased globalization the modern democracies are more likely to precipitate into anarchies. With the ethical boundaries dislodged and technological means enhanced the states becomes more controlling and intrusive in nature and thereby constrain the rights of citizens. For instance, some of the most prominent features of today’s democratic countries are obedience and action in accord of prevailing social standards administered through mass-media, education and other forms of technological initiatives.[4] And that is why Pakistan has witnessed ethnic struggles such as Mohajir-Qoumi movement etc. This movement was started by a student because the middle class subjects were treated direly in Sindh The theme of this movement was to give an identity to Mohajirs because the mohajir in Sindh were subjugated and were not given equal rights as that was given to Sindhi’s. Also, they were not given equal opportunities and equal rights to educate themselves. Moreover, many other movements arose due to these conflicts as the political atmosphere in Pakistan has always remained tense because of the ethnic conflicts. The nation state, Pakistan, comprises of four different transnational identities and all these identities have their own culture, tradition, norms and customs. The only binding force between these nationalities is religion but due to the loss of moral and social principles there raises many conflicts between these nationalities and the representatives have always tried hard to sort some middle way out for these nationalities. But when these representatives fail, a dictator overrules them whether it is liked by majority or not. Hence, the notion of democracy as a representative form of government is thrashed. The dictator as seen in history enforces his own pattern of thinking and the concept of freedom and equality is undervalued. All dictators which ruled Pakistan distorted the original concept uprising of democracy in such a way that the reforms and constitutional amendments they propose were all favoring themselves. For instance, Zia-ul-Haq introduced certain reforms which never favored Pakistanis and these reforms were opposed almost in every knock and corner of the nation state. Pervez Musharraf’s regime, on the other hand, introduced constitutional refroms such as that of Article 17-b according to which a President can dissolve Parliament whenever he finds necessary. So, freedom, in Musharraf’s regime, remained in the hands of a single person and he passed whatever type of bill he wanted from the Parliament because the office holders never want the Parliament to be dissolved. And, when Musharraf fails to implement his way of rule, he hands over the government to the people again and new elections took place in which different political parties sale their tickets to people wealthy enough to provide the party with a lot of money. So, the connection between money and party ticket remained very important in contesting the last elections and defining one’s merit and certainly it wasn’t based on some philosophical plan to provide a common person with equality and justice. Also, corruption is another important issue which distorts the philosophy of a democratic system.[5]

Corruption within institutions in Pakistan is so huge and rampant that the representatives, as observed in history, usually, don’t hesitate to make illegal money as much as they can. So, when a common man hears that elected representatives are corrupting institutions, he also neglects the importance of ‘tax-giving’ and, hence, the government lacks enough resources and funds to finance Pakistan’s infrastructure which results in underdevelopment. Also, people loose trust on the elected representatives resulting in social fragmentation within a society. [6]

From the above stated arguments, it can be inferred that the concept of democracy, as portrayed in theory, is a system which reflects that the best way to rule which is to provide freedom, equality and justice to all. In its true essence this system enhances and adds to moral and social principles which are important to bind a society. Also, the ethical boundaries of a nation are stretched and tolerance for one another increases. But the democratic model is never implemented in its true spirit as the representatives, as seen in history, are self-centered, self-interested and narcissi not only in a nation-state like Pakistan where the democratic model has strived with dictators but with the champions of democracy, such as U.S, as mentioned above. For nation-state like Pakistan, it can well be concluded that if the democratic model is implemented in its very essence than certainly the tensions among the people can be decreased.  Also the dependence on world, to give foreign aid, result in western policies and rule of law which then again results in hatred among the patriots, for the government. So, the concern of the representatives should be to provide common ground for these four nations to exist and certainly these grounds can be established on the basis of equality and justice.

 Written By: Turi

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