There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip. This idiom is a befitting description of our political culture, which has mostly remained embedded in uncertainties.

Even after more than six decades of our existence as an independent state, unfortunately, we are still groping in the dark to find the avenue that could lead us to our cherished destiny of a democratic polity, thanks to dictators, time-serving politicians and forces inimical to democracy, who have abiding vested interests in the perpetuation of a culture of confusion, not allowing democratic entities to gain ascendancy. So whenever democratic norms seem to take root in Pakistan, these forces activate themselves and conspire to derail democracy and drag the country back into a dark alley.

Now when everything seems to be moving towards a smooth power transition, the rumours about postponement of elections and establishment of a caretaker set up for a longer period are getting louder. Recently, Senator Raza Rabbani, while speaking to the media outside Parliament, said that a plot was being hatched to derail democracy and set up an unconstitutional caretaker government for the next three years. The opposition parties too have expressed their fears about it.

These rumours have been going on ever since Dr Tahirul Qadri landed in Pakistan after an absence of five years. His long march, his ever-vacillating stance on the country’s political future, the threatening tone and insistence on reforms before the 2013 elections are the usual ploys employed by anti-democratic forces to deny the people their right to exercise their will in choosing their representatives.

Initially, he wanted the implementation of constitutional provisions in determining the eligibility of candidates. But later demanded the reconstitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which is an unconstitutional desire.

Against this backdrop, there are signals emanating from different quarters suggesting that well orchestrated moves are in the offing to disrupt the democratic process. These tactics are designed to precipitate confusion and have the elections postponed, paving the way for the establishment of an unconstitutional setup in the country.

Moreover, the rightist and religious elements have always played the role of a spoiler by supporting unconstitutional arrangements and dictatorial regimes. They have been creating doubts about the viability of democracy in Pakistan, ever since the 2008 elections and have run a sustained media campaign to discredit the PPP-led government. However, their sinister designs have been thwarted by the political will and sagacity of the ruling party, which must be given the credit for fighting an unrelenting war against anti-democracy forces.

It is also gratifying know that these forces are facing tough resistance from democratic entities. The government and the opposition parties, who have differed on everything under the skies after the end of their short-lived bonhomie, have shown solidarity on defending democracy and holding the election on time, according to constitutional requirements.

Equally reassuring is the support for the continuation of democratic process from the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, while hearing a contempt case against the Nab Chairman, maintained that the judiciary would resist any endeavour to scuttle the democratic process. The court’s warning has at least permanently closed one avenue for the forces hostile to democratic order, who try to legitimise their unconstitutional acts.

There is no doubt that the country badly needs political reforms and change in the way we elect our representatives. But that change must come through a democratic and evolutionary process, rather than unconstitutional means. Our salvation, peace, progress and tranquillity lie in our unflinching commitment to democracy; the course cherished and envisioned by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

    The writer is a freelance columnist.

       Email: ashpak10@gmail.com