Now that the much-awaited elections of
When the first dictator Ayub Khan came into power in 1958, Pakistanis were victorious too. Pakistanis celebrated it as a victory against unstable democracy that preceded it. And when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto came to absolute power through democracy and started to indulge in some of the most undemocratic ways,
Later on, when Bhutto was hanged,
But when General Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif to install his military regime,
A good friend of mine, from
Another friend of mine, a Pakistani, who was in his teens during 1971 war with India, described his own story of how Pakistanis celebrated their victories. Before the start of this war, owner of a café in a Pakistani city put the total number of Pakistani and Indian planes on a black board, and after each day’s battles he would subtract the number of planes shot down by each side, as reported in their media. Within few days, it was clear that
Pakistan was winning all the battles on each day of the war, except the last day, when they lost the whole war in a grand letdown. What followed next was sheer humiliation. They lost
Time and again, Pakistanis were left disillusioned. They always celebrated their supposed victories too soon and too early.
Let’s come back to the present
Benazir Bhutto, supposedly one of the leaders of ‘democratic’ parties, has appointed herself the head of her party for a lifetime. When she was killed, a will came out in which she appointed her husband as the leader of the party. Why isn’t anyone finding this funny?
How can a democratic party be a family heritage? How can one appoint oneself its leader for a lifetime? How can she bequeath the power to someone in a will as if it’s her property?
Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, et al, have now come together to defeat and sideline the evil dictator Musharraf. So, in an effort to combat the greater evil in Musharraf, they are ready to ignore the petty differences between them. That’s fine! But then they go overboard. They have dropped all corruption charges against Zardari. Now, is that democracy?
Populist democracy and Constitutional democracy
Many people in Indian sub-continent think elections alone constitute a democracy. They fail to realize that even dictators conducted elections.
They do not realize that elections alone DO NOT have the power to condone genocides, crimes against humanity, murders, corruption cases, plunders, etc.
Indian sub-continent has a funny way of exonerating its criminals. As a criminal, all you have to do is stand for elections. If you get elected, you are automatically pardoned of all crimes. People will say, ‘Look! So many million people cannot be wrong. Accept the results of democracy!’
Nobody stops to bother and ask, do elections alone make a democracy? Is legal recourse subservient to electoral process? Don’t we need a constitution, a legal system, election commission, and other institutions that make it a constitutional democracy?
The reason why Pakistanis keep getting disillusioned is because their fundamentals are wrong. They believe in miracles, quick fixes, and short cuts. They have never spent time to institutionalize democracy.