We are made to believe that democracy is indeed the only answer. As we move along this indoctrination, we do have our chances of putting this claim to test. The world at large offers those who seek, many examples of different ways of political governance. We have the dictatorships, the monarchies, the caliphates and then, yes, democracies. A well thought analytical approach to compare and contrast must lead one to conclusions that should be similar across the board. While not perfect, indeed Democracy is the only way forward.

The system of governance has no real faults unless we talk about the electoral votes. Beyond that, it is simply a representation of the choice of the people. The choice can reflect the will; it can also reflect naivety. The problem with bad leaders winning democratic elections has little to do with the system of politics and more to do with the gullibility of the common man. The way forward has to be a better-educated populace that is smart enough to contemplate choices and minimise the bias when it comes to voting. The way forward has to be a society that is more humanist, secular and informed. Then, in such situations, democracy can bring about truly good representatives to lead nations. However, before we can pitch measures to convert the populace, there must be a pre-requisite amongst the common voter: that, democracy is indeed the only way to go forward.

Pakistanis seem not to understand that. After all, they still lionise General Musharraf and desperately begged Raheel Shareef to follow his footsteps. People don’t seem to understand constitutional hierchy and the importance of a civil institution calling out the shots. Unfortunately the nation, at large, still sees the uniform as a purer representation of nationalism and patriotism than the sherwani. When Imran Khan demeans the Prime minister, the nation at large joins the party. When Ayesha Siddiqui reveals the corruption in the army, the nation joins to call her a traitor. Of course this comes about after years of propaganda to take the uniform as such. Indeed, this comes about due to the constant assault by sherwanis to prove themselves untrustworthy.

Intelligent people living in Pakistan celebrated the tweet of Major General Asif Ghafoor where he used crude language and insulted the chief executive of the nation. Seemingly forgetting what the constitution demands of the armed forces, the General ‘rejected’ an inquiry approved by the Prime Minister. Mind you, the army has all the right to offer reservations on the inquiry however, it cannot reject it. That simply not the modus operandi of doing things under the Paksitani constitution. And yet, educated people I know personally loved it! They proudly enjoyed the insult to the Prime minister and congratulated the army on joining the ‘Go Nawaz Go’ camp. More importantly, they did so not out of any bias but more out of a rationale justification. These people insist that some situations call for drastic measures and the politics of Pakistan is one such example. They insist that given the constant disappointments, the office of the Prime Minister does not deserve the respect it demands. For them, the army is indeed the lesser evil, except, it is not an evil at all.

A few weeks ago when I was writing on Mashal Khan, I pitched in the same realisation: people form dangerous opinions out of much thought and analysis. So, it is really not about an emotional outburst, a political bias or sheer naivety. In this time and age, everyone has access to literally all the information in the world. Especially in Pakistan where the privacy laws are despicable, one can easily download any book and read it. One can access opinions, columns, editorials from the biggest newspapers in the world. One can personally converse with the personalities and decision makers on their social media pages. And yet, not many do. Pakistanis would rather download barely seeable camera prints of a movie than spend time reading books. The opportunity cost of the knowledge they could have garnered had they gone for the book does not make them naïve. It makes them rationally and consciously unlearned.

The lazy, unlearned crowd that balloons in Pakistan derives opinions out of word of mouth, gets easily swept into propaganda and genuinely believe in their fantasies. Democracy in such an environment will produce exactly the sort of leadership the country wants. In other words, the gullibility that people complain about that allows politicians to steal away elections puts little blame on the politicians and more on the self-chosen priorities of the society itself. This society can indeed be easily wooed on the idea of anarchy. It can easily convince itself to be chose the wrong leader. Unless the attitude towards thought, analysis and critique changes, until there is a culture to question and to read and confirm, no system will work in Pakistan.