A lot has happened since last week’s column and much of it has not gone well for our image abroad. I am sure that I speak for the nation when I say that all we want is good and transparent governance. Contrarily, I am bombarded with images of ruling politicians, who appear to have forgotten that there is a greater power above them, whose retribution, when it comes, encompasses all who are guilty.

There is no denying that our political elite has abused democracy in the ‘Land of the Pure’. There is a group of political pundits, who are of the opinion that a sudden implementation of a democratic system in former colonies, on gaining independence, breeds corruption and political instability. As a student of history, I tend to agree with this notion only part of the way. In my reckoning, the curse of colonialism breeds ‘virtues’ like sycophancy, unquestioning submission to bad laws and corruption. Case studies have shown that former colonies, who are now thriving and successful sovereign states became so because their founding fathers survived the birth of their states for a considerable period of time, to implement their roadmaps to prosperity and good governance.

These leaders adopted a hybrid democratic system, which was a blend of autocratic decision making based on the aspirations of the people and an even more autocratic implementation. This was necessary to set direction and put into motion a reform process that would ultimately clean up national psyches and ‘residual colonial era virtues’. These men correctly believed in the fact that total democracy would evolve out of such a hybrid dispensation. The two most effective examples of where this happened is Singapore and India.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was an amazingly charismatic leader, with the integrity, vision and energy to steer Pakistan through its initial hiccups, but fate had ordained to the contrary. This great man passed away just one year after independence to be followed by the assassination of our first Prime Minister. We thus lost the two individuals who shared a common vision and had the ‘character’ to implement, and even enforce, this vision. What followed thereafter is a regretful story that continues to unfold with each passing day.

Politicians often argue that our democratic journey was rudely interrupted by military dictatorships. In doing so, they conveniently overlook the fact that it was political blundering and corrupt politics that led to military takeovers. It galls me when these takeovers are used as a convenient excuse even today, for our last six and a half years of democratic rule have been the worst (even worse than dictatorships) in the history of this country. The last political tenure and the ongoing one has made us hang our heads in shame, as we have no defense to offer for the state we are in when questioned by foreigners.

The latest jest making its rounds in the diplomatic community is the status of the recently held elections. Meat for this jest is provided by media videos showing malpractices, a reluctance to hold a vote audit, unexplained fires that turn bags to ashes and successive ‘confessional bloopers’ published by the Election Commission.

Whether it is a Provincial Chief Minister, who spends his days and nights blissfully ignorant of the 158 plus children dead of hunger in Thar or the functionaries justifying the shooting down of protesters, the overall atmosphere in the country is one of growing anger and resentment against the Government. Where will all this lead, is a point agitating the mind of every patriotic Pakistani. They may not have to wait very long for the answer to come.

The writer is a freelance columnist.