Apart from Plato’s widely controversial concepts regarding communism of wives and his hierarchical society, his thoughts on democracy appear relevant enough from close quarters when assessed by the benchmark democratic failures world has produced in twentieth century and beyond. Plato’s grievances with democracy were based on his disapproval of majority rule, as he dismisses the notion that majority’s decision in democracy is equivalent to wisdom.

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Pakistan as a newly-born democracy did not journey through a hard-earned right to political participation, a practice that has been experienced by several relatively successful democracies in the world today. From United States, Switzerland and New Zealand to Rwanda and Turkey, all around the world people have had to fight for the right to vote. And it’s been a long fight, too. This specific struggle that has resulted in a democratic system that stands stronger on the pedestal of civic consciousness mandatory for acquiring a successful democratic process.

It also dispels the validity of an opposing argument which believes that democracy is a self-refining system and therefore does not need any amendments in order to fix the loose ends while corruption, healthcare, unemployment and inflation soar high and place social progress at standstill.

The irony with the world is its prevalent path dependency over perceptions, customs and traditions that have existed without any explanation to the relevance and productivity of their existence. The idea of democracy is one such example, which is viewed in its black and white context, as replacement of democracy is only commonly seen as dictatorship, consequently leaving no space for debatable and possible amendments that could be made to the system based on cultural relativism.

The famous theory “tyranny of majority” finds its roots in Plato’s thoughts, explaining the idea that populist rule in democratic regimes tend to manipulate the power, which is used as a tool to suppress the large number of people in name of their falsified identity as mere minority. Plato’s replacement to democracy could be stated somewhat closer to aristocracy as he vigorously furthers the idea that leadership belongs to the philosophers or to explain it insightfully, leadership belongs to those who are capable of it.

Pakistan is constitutionally a democracy, though it will be safe to say that it has oscillated almost throughout the history between democracies, dictatorships, distorted democracies, distorted dictatorships and the vicious circle does not seem to end. The current democracy like many in the past struggles to sustain its legitimacy, it seems as if its limbs are stuck in different challenges each. It goes without saying that as time for general election approaches near the question whether this democracy is the only system one has to keep re-experiencing, or there is a possibility of tasteful amendments reigns many minds, and it does sound legit.

If western measures of governmental legitimacy are put aside for some time, as it places a state in a dilemma of experiencing the glorified democratic form of government without assessing the presence of necessary requisites for its success, there are chances of mending the loose ends.

The American diplomat Richard Holbrooke pondered a problem on the eve of the September 1996 elections in Bosnia, which were meant to restore civic life to the ravaged country. "Suppose the election was declared free and fair," he said, and those elected are "racists, fascists, separatists, who are publicly opposed to [peace and reintegration]. That is the dilemma." Indeed it is, not just in the former Yugoslavia, but increasingly around the world.

The electorate in democracy must be politically conscious, only in this way democracy could reveal its full potential as recognised in several pre-requisites for success of democracy stated by various authors. However, the predicament in the way is attached to a stigmatised perception regarding a tailored version of democracy, since any deviation is liable to be termed dictatorship or readily termed de jure or illegitimate. Universal adult franchise or universal suffrage as commonly identified is placed at the heart of democratic values; nevertheless, it is the very practice that has caused most harm to democracies with inadequate and inconsistent understanding to determine the rightful candidacy, resulting in democracy that has worse elements of autocracy and suppression that may put dictatorship to shame.

There are three major arguments keeping in view Pakistan’s experience with democracy:

1) Democracy has made space for incompetent people to become powerful, hold the decision making positions and manipulate the power that comes with that position.

2) The above is caused through the power democracy gives to ineligible people in order to cast vote in name of acquiring the basic right of political participation despite lack of necessary political consciousness.

3) Democracy is inefficient in acquiring opinion of majority through prevalent democratic election, many at times it gives power to minority rather than majority due to fallacy of its generic system of election.

Universal adult franchise, which gives the right of casting a vote to every adult individual reaching up to a pre-determined age in a state, it is widely accepted as significant element of democracy as it ensures equality in provision of the right of political participation to members of the state. Nevertheless, it is debatable that in countries where this very basic right is the reason for anarchy and chaos, if that country omits this basic right from the constitution in lieu of a restricted and regulated system of political participation based on eligibility criteria adopted as mandatory component in order to acquire this right, will that state still be termed democratic?

Or this should even be a concern at all? - As restrictive or regulated democracy is better than a “dictatorial” democracy.

A good and fair democracy is the sum of many civil liberties, like freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest, and thus it cannot be enclosed in mere idea of unmonitored power in hands of ineligible individuals to vote representatives not capable of representing, in the name of equal participation or basic civil rights.

Pakistan in this regard is unable to mend the basic social inequalities which easily get translated into political contextualisation. General social order which is also highly influential in political realm is the system of bradri, community, religious sect and ethnic relevance. Therefore, the change that we seek in democracy while still holding on to the democracy as a form of government is needed within this social order and not in the structure of government. Allegiance to the state should be upheld instead of the above mentioned associations, and such a change in social order can be achieved if restricted political franchise is promoted in Pakistan at least for the time such faltered practice in democracy does not lose its influence.

The restricted or regulated system of political participation could be based on written constitutional literacy test, unlike property or gender based restriction which directly undermines civil liberties.

To conclude, as Andrew Jackson, the seventh American president says, "The great constitutional corrective in the hands of the people against usurpation of power, or corruption by their agents is the right of suffrage; and this when used with calmness and deliberation will prove strong enough."

And as Rutherford B Hayes, the nineteenth president of American states, "Universal suffrage should rest upon universal education. To this end, liberal and permanent provision should be made for the support of free schools by the State governments, and, if need be, supplemented by legitimate aid from national authority."