ISLAMABAD -  Almost two decades have passed when an elected government of Nawaz Sharif was dislodged on October 12, 1999 by a military dictator, but the democratic institutions in the country are still under threat even after the completion of the second successive political government. And unfortunately this time, the system is facing threats from within the democratic order.

Following the military coup led by the then Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf the obvious target was political leadership especially those who had opposed the military takeover. They were put behind the bars while a large majority fell in line and people had seen formation of king’s party.

Hectic struggle by the political forces put the system back on track and after 2008 elections PPP led coalition government took over the reins of power.

Although the government had completed its mandated five years term for the first time in the country’s history and it had also removed anomalies in the constitution introduced over the period by the military dictator, major lapse on the government was its failure to serve the cause of people.

A political analyst commenting on the successive political governments in the country put major blame of repeated military interventions in the country on the political leadership, which had levelled ground for military takeover and if not at least accepted the unconstitutional change and even facilitated the dictator.

Listing a major single reason for the successive military interventions, most of the political analysts have broader agreement on the weak and vulnerable institutions which were equally gagged by the military as well as political governments since the creation of the motherland.

Another dilemma of fractured democratic governments in the country was that instead of serving the masses and taking steps for strengthening of the institutions, the political governments too had weakened the institutions in the name of establishing their absolute writ.

So, in the quest to enjoy absolute and undiluted powers, the political governments itself had weakened the institutions, and when some unconstitutional move was made to dislodge the government the weak and vulnerable institutions fail to defend the democracy.

The people stop short of taking the ownership of the democratic order in the country due to the indifference of the political governments toward their problems, so in the absence of the public backing the political dispensation, which was already weak due to the weak institutions become more vulnerable to unconstitutional intervention.

What the civilian leaders need to understand is the fact that they have to deliver, if given power, and establish good governance. But, what the establishment needs to understand is the fact that the government, how bad it may be, could only be removed through the constitutional means and not through any extra-constitutional way adopted in 1958, 1968, 1977 or in 1999.

Theoretically the rhetoric ‘a worst democracy is even better than a dictatorship’ sounds extremely good but the reality is quite cruel and to strengthen the democracy in the country and to make it strong and stable the political leadership across the spectrum have to rise above their personal and party interests for this greater cause.

They have to jointly work for supremacy of law and constitution, strengthening of institutions and above all to make the system deliver for the people of Pakistan because without their faith in the system the democratic order in the country would remain under threat.

 

 

ABRAR SAEED

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 12-Oct-2017 here.