FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
The way of democracy
Posted:Aug 16, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
The presidency was rightly returned to the status of a constitutionally ceremonial office by the 18th Amendment, but under President Mamnoon Hussain the office has drifted towards something undesirable: irrelevancy. As a symbol of the federation, the president, acting on the advice of the political government, can say and do things that help promote harmony and better integration among the constituent units of the country. Unhappily, given Mr Hussain’s apparent political temperament and the desire of his political patron, Nawaz Sharif, to have a silent figurehead, the president has virtually disappeared from the national discourse. The annual speech by the president to mark the beginning of the parliamentary year, which used to be a highly anticipated, somewhat charged event, has under Mr Hussain become unremarkable and uninteresting. But on Aug 14, a different kind of speech was delivered by Mr Hussain.
 
Possibly at the behest of Mr Sharif or perhaps because Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s office did not issue any guidelines, Mr Hussain appeared relatively free to speak his mind. It was not as forthright a speech as could have been hoped for, but the president has raised an important point: when the people of the country have repeatedly and emphatically expressed a desire for a parliamentary form of democracy — as evidenced by the healthy and increasing participation in parliamentary elections — then why does it appear that every few years a debate is reopened about a so-called right kind of democratic system for Pakistan? Undoubtedly, the political class in the country is flawed and can be myopic and self-serving. But the political system is something bigger than and separate to the politicians who seek the public’s vote. Surely, to arrive at a better quality of candidate and more substantive system, continuity of the basic democratic framework is necessary. There is hardly likely to be a better quality of public servant if every decade or so an argument erupts again, mostly at the urging of anti-democratic forces in the country, about what system of democracy the country needs.
 
Indeed, the parliamentary system of democracy serves well the important and essential diversity in the country. Parliament, divided into two houses to prevent majoritarianism from taking root and requiring diverse political forces to cooperate, helps produce a democratic consensus that can survive the test of time. The presidential system or military dictatorship achieves the opposite because it is rooted in an authoritarianism about what is good for the people and the state. The president could have gone further in his assessment of the democratic deficit in the country. The demand for a better quality of democracy while frequently tinkering with the foundations of democracy is itself anti-democratic. If there are undemocratic forces at work today, the political class and the custodians of democracy should have the courage to publicly identify them.
 
Dawn News, August 16, 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 Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has confirmed his presence for the occasion. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Sidharto R.Suryodipuro, reminded Nilova Roy Chaudhury that the first Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, in 1950, w
 
read-more
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka
 
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
  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated on Friday Washington's warning that “all options are on the table” to meet North Korea's nuclear threat while offering to keep the lines of communication with Pyongyang open.
 
read-more
The 15th trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China concluded in New Delhi on Monday with many nuanced takeaways embedded in the joint statement of 46 paragraphs. Reiterating that the forum “is not directed against any other country”, the statement underlined the importance of the establishment o
 
read-more
The first thing that one sees when a flight approaches New Delhi is thick smog that envelopes the city and its lack of greenery.  In almost all other major cities of India lack of greenery is the most obvious sight that one sees when approaching it by air.
 
read-more

Pakistan has agreed to allow the rupee to depreciate after holding talks with the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on the country's economy.

 
read-more

Two major global changes in the past year; the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the advent of Donald Trump, writes Sandeep Kaur Bhatia

 
read-more

It is also imperative for India to explore other regions for markets. Its trade deficit with Latin America has been narrowing. Also, its trade with Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala has increased, ...

 
read-more
Column-image

Over the last 25 years, India's explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world's emerging major powers. Long plagued by endemic poverty, until the 1990s the Indian economy was also hamstrung by a burdensome regulat...

 
Column-image

Title: A Ticket to Syria; Author: Shirish Thorat; Publisher: Bloomsbury India: Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

 
Column-image

Gorichen, a majestic peak in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 22,500 feet, is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh. Beautiful to look at and providing a fantastic view from the top, it is extremely tough climb for mountaineers.

 
Column-image

It is often conjectured if the reason for long-standing conflicts and insurgencies, in the developing world, especially South Asia, is not only other powers fishing in troubled waters but also the keenness of arms industries, mostly Western, to...

 
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699