FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Democratic destiny
Posted:Oct 12, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Eighteen years ago today, the country was plunged into yet another disastrous experiment against the constitutional, democratic order. Pervez Musharraf became the second army chief to violate his oath to the 1973 Constitution and the fourth overall to illegally rule this country. Like the first three spells of military dictatorship, the fourth also proved disastrous — harming the country and institutions alike. The dark final days of Gen Musharraf’s rule some 10 years ago underlined the abiding problem of military rule; built on a negation of the people’s right to choose their own leaders, it will inevitably be rejected by the public itself. No amount of window dressing or self-serving arguments will change the basic reality that military rule is incompatible with the democratic principles on which this country was founded, the Constitution and the political ethos of the Pakistani people. This country’s destiny was and will remain democratic.
 
Undeniably, however, the democratic order stands significantly weakened today. A historic milestone, a third consecutive on-schedule election is within touching distance, but a slow-burning political crisis over the past 18 months has plunged the entire system into a state of uncertainty. At the outset of the country’s latest transition to democracy, it had been apparent that while democratic continuity is essential, the democratic project needed meaningful, sustained institutional strengthening. Amending the Constitution to remove dictatorial insertions against the spirit of democracy was a key step, but democratic institutions have been allowed to atrophy. The national clamour for accountability, for example, represents a real and just demand, and there is no legitimate reason why the country does not have stronger accountability in all institutions. Had the issue been addressed in a meaningful manner by the country’s elected representatives, the current political crisis would arguably have not been as severe. Trust in democratic institutions weakens when democrats are seen as trying to manipulate the rule of law to their advantage.
 
Of course, there is another side to the reality of weak democratic institutions. The democratic order in the country is only perceived as vulnerable to being overthrown because there are institutions that appear to follow their own rules and interests. Ultimately, Gen Musharraf was able to take over because a decision was made that the Constitution is, in fact, not supreme and that the intervention of certain institutions was needed to allegedly save the country from disaster. As long as that mindset exists, there will always be a threat to the democratic order in the country. In his memoir, In the Line of Fire, Gen Musharraf candidly admits that on the day after the coup, he had no idea about how to proceed or even what needed to be done. Therein lies a vital lesson: think about tomorrow before acting today; it will always be clear that democracy is the only path ahead.
 
Dawn News, October 12, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
read-more
The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
read-more
In a significant boost to New Delhi's Act East Policy, India and Japan set up the Act East Forum on Tuesday as agreed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India this year for the annual bilateral meeting that would help to focus and catalyse development in India's Northeast.
 
read-more
India has contributed $50,000 to the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's Office of Envoy on Youth to help with its mission of involving young people in the world body's goals. Paulomi Tripathi, a First Secretary in India's UN Mission, handed over the contribution on Friday to the Youth Envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake.
 
read-more
While appreciating the remarkable turnaround by Indian exports during November 2017, Anil Khaitan, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that India has seen a major breakthrough in its exports to China during last few months whereas the surge in imports for Chinese products in Indian market is on deceleration.
 
read-more
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
read-more
In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
Column-image

A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
Column-image

Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
Column-image

Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

Title: The Power Paradox; Author: Dacher Keltner; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 208; Price: Rs 499