“Democracy is hypocrisy

without limitation.”

–Iskander Mirza

58 years ago, on this day, President Iskander Mirza, with support from the army, suspended the 1956 constitution and imposed martial law. The general elections, scheduled to take place the following year, were also cancelled.

The applicability and exercise of democracy has always been a debatable affair in Pakistan. Shifting between military coups and inefficient civil governments, Pakistan could never enjoy the fruits of a well-developed political system. We had to wait 66 years till a democratic government could complete its term and perform a democratic transfer of power. Our nation has certainly come a long way.

Today, the threat of a military coup seems minimal, and it appears that Pakistan is now well on its way to establishing democratic norms. Yes, it would take us a considerable amount of time to internalise democratic sentiments; and perhaps by walking bravely through these formative years, we can evolve into a politically stable and well-functioning nation.