The root cause of Pakistan political woes lies in its feudal system and the ‘winner-take-all’ approach to governing that has been practiced by successive civilian and military leaders. The Muslim League, that brought independence to Pakistan, lacked internal democracy. Once partition and statehood had been achieved, Muslim League was confined to paper. There were no opposition parties to counter Muslim League initially, but later on, Muslim League disappeared completely from the picture. Coupled with the political legacy of Muslim League, the civil and military bureaucracy, that was of more importance, due to its small number, gained so much power that they depressed the political institutions. The first 10 years which were constitution-less from 1947 to 1956-was an ill exercise of the political actors, which invoked the military to interfere in politics.

Absence of constitution allowed the people with power to manipulate the political and constitutional institution, as they wanted. The constitution has been abrogated many a time with the help of the judiciary. Beside the judiciary and Army’s role in politics, the intelligence agencies have become major actors on the national political scene. Military Intelligence (MI) and Inter-Services-Intelligence (ISI) are widely believed to have had a major hand in shaping the candidates and the choices available to voters at least since General Zia’s general election of 1985. In these situation how can a true democratic government be formed to realized the dreams of the great Quaid?

Democracy requires patience’s. A democracy is the product of wishes of the people and not the desires of an elite few but the political players of Pakistan could not do so. Illiterate voters, family ties a among politicians and feudalism has constrained democracy in Pakistan. Democracy can be revived in Pakistan by taking some steps, we would need reforms in the judiciary. There needs to be an independent election commission. All parties should have internal party elections. There should be a strong free press. Constitution should be implemented and fair elections should be held. Protection of minorities and civil liberties should be catered to.

The nation political parties should embrace a new spirit of co-operation and constructive opposition, moving beyond out dated confrontational and self-defeating actions and walk-outs and boycott politics to engage in vigorous political debates, free of violence.

SIBTAIN ALI,

Lahore, May 5.