While addressing a gathering in Islamabad, Imran Khan rightly said that Pakistan has been a victim of sham democracies and fake dictators; both approaches did not work. Our democrats wanted to be dictators and for purposes of legitimacy dictators moved in the direction of sham democracy. In the end they both created a mess for the nation to face.

Constitution bashing was common in both cases. Ayub Khan abrogated the 1956 constitution and then did not follow his own hand made constitution and handed over power to the Army Chief instead of the Speaker of the National Assembly. Yahya abrogated the 1962 constitution while both Zia and Musharraf defaced the unanimously adopted 1973 constitution. In his last stint in power Nawaz Sharif with the support of the right wing wanted to become Amir-ul-Mominin or Khalifa. The bill passed the assembly but was defeated in the senate, the constitution worked when the due process was followed.

The 1973 constitution is a gift of the only freely elected parliament of the country. The antagonists insist that it was the honest ballot of 1970 that dismembered Quaid’s Pakistan. Since then ten elections have been manipulated thanks to the administrative machinery and Election Monitoring Cell of ISI. Without free and fair elections there can be no democracy for the politicians or legitimacy for the dictators. A manipulated system does not work, it only chokes. Four failed dictators and ten manipulated ballots should be enough to drive the point home that democracy has its own dynamics which cannot be delivered by the manipulation of agencies, ‘Baboos’ or the ‘Qazis’.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the last Muslim general to taste battlefield victory in 1915 at Gallipoli which was a century ago. He then declared Turkey a republic and ruled with an iron hand. He then got rid of the Sultan and the Mullahs who had monopolized religion. He never posed as a democrat and had no desire to establish his dynasty. It is widely reported that Ataturk was a dictator so that Turkey may never have another. Turkish army was given a constitutional role to intervene when circumstances demanded.

Elections were regularity held in the country finally Tayyib Erdogan emerged on the scene. He was first elected Mayor of Istanbul and then the Prime Minister. Turkey under his leadership emerged as a leading economy of Europe which was once considered sick and denied European Union membership. After consolidating democratic authority he sent the Army back to the barracks and the out of control generals to the prison. While Ataturk got rid of the Mullahs, Erdogan knocked out the Khakis to restore people’s power.

Today all Islamic democracies are progressive and vibrant. Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bosnia are leading the pack. There is democratic transition of power through an honest ballot in these countries. While the Sissis of the Middle East remain in power in connivance with the Lawrence’s of Arabia the non-democratic Muslim countries are in turmoil. Democracy in Pakistan continues to struggle, no one is interested (Khakis, Qazis, Baboos) in a free and fair election to determine the will of the people. Mafias have taken over while the nation sinks deeper and deeper. Khakis are interested in building their own empire; Qazis are enjoying the perks of power while the Baboos continue to manipulate the files to suit their masters.

Kaptaan is leading the charge for a democratic “Naya Pakistan” as envisioned by the founding fathers. An honest ballot is the first step in that direction. Quaid’s Pakistan was not dismembered by the free and fair election of 1970 but by the reluctance of the rulers to honour the people’s mandate. If what remains of the country has to be saved then constitutional democracy and rule of law is the only way forward.

Dictators have been disasterous for the country. Zia destroyed all civilian institutions and established the rule of the Mullahs which then led to Talibanization of the country. Musharraf tried to pull off the biggest sham of all times by getting elected in uniform. Such a stunt has never been tried even in banana republics. Last words of Baboo and Maj. General (Honorary) Iskandar Mirza as President were, that “only last night I got the blessings of the US Ambassador to continue”. Little did he know that Ayub Khan had been given the nod to take over? Generals in the Islamic world only topple their governments not counter their enemy. Capt Gohar Ayub Khan had a scooter on loan when his father took over in October 1958 but was one of the richest Pakistani when his father was toppled in March 1969 as a result of student unrest.

The US Constitution is revered as a Miracle of Philadelphia in the year 1787. The original 1973 unanimously agreed constitution of Pakistan is no less an event that took place in Islamabad. From the shop keepers of Athens in 420 BC to the Magna Carta in June 1215 to the US constitution in September 1787 to the Indian Constitution in 1948 and Pakistan’s first constitution of 1956 followed by the 1973 version, democracy has come of age. There is no turning back in the 21st century.

The charade of sham democrats and fake dictators is over; it is curtain time for them. They have a choice either to gracefully bow down and leave the arena or to face the wrath of the long exploited people of Pakistan. It is either bullet or ballot but change is inevitable. Kaptaan has to walk a fine line while the Khakis restore peace and get rid of the menace created by them. Future seems bright for democracy and rule of law.