“I believe in democracy because it

releases the energies of every human being.”

– Woodrow Wilson

In Pakistan, there are not many people, who by their actions are conveying a message that their vote is primarily for democracy. This attitude of indifference or, perhaps, carelessness is because it has not been allowed to prosper due to long periods of authoritarian rule.

Once again, the country is showing signs that the institution of democracy may, indeed, be in danger. While the dark clouds that are hanging over it may have something to do with the unfulfilled expectations of the people, the blame cannot be solely pinned on those who seek power through dubious methods.

Undoubtedly, Pakistani politicians refuse to learn the lessons and continue to repeat the same mistakes that have allowed opportunists, adventurists and political turncoats to enter the corridors of power. But the government, too, must be held responsible for creating conditions that destabilise the democratic institutions.

Also, unfortunately, all these factors are hurting Pakistan’s economic growth that, in turn, leads to uncertain conditions. Apparently, the state has been caught in this vicious circle for a considerable period of time with no hope of breaking out of the trap in the near future.

Presently, the government is facing serious challenges, like the so-called war on terror and insurgency in several parts of Balochistan, without any respite. In some areas, external hostile forces are responsible for bleeding Pakistan’s economy, so that the only Islamic nuclear state could be weakened to an extent where it becomes impossible for it to stand with dignity in the comity of nations. So, this is the time for our political leadership to play its due role and create conditions that enable democracy to take root and prosper.

Regrettably, as said earlier, they have consistently refused to set aside their selfish objectives and thus are responsible for tearing down the fragile edifice of constitutional rule and democracy. While it will not be appropriate to comment on the issues related with the judiciary because some of the cases are now sub judice, it is entirely reasonable to question the role of the politicians, who have dragged it into the political domain where some of its decisions may have serious political ramifications.

Likewise, the politicisation of economic issues by some political parties have not helped the country to move on, but resulted in creating impediments in economic growth. After a thorough analysis of Pakistan’s political, judicial and economic situation, several analysts are predicting an early demise of the federal government.

These elements need to understand that in the current scenario, even if both the President and Prime Minister are bumped off together or end up in jail as is being claimed by their political adversaries, it is going to be Parliament that will call the shots. Therefore, all efforts to destabilise the democratic setup are not going to bear any fruit mainly for those who have sinister designs against the federation of Pakistan.

Moreover, some intellectuals and political analysts are suggesting that since 2012 is an election year, divisive voices will be heard across the country, which means that division and polarisation is not going to help any political party at the end of the day. What the country needs is to redraw the basic priorities, so that no serious damage is done to vital national interests. In case criticism and mudslinging continues, it will not help the democratic forces to achieve their goals and may end up creating opportunities for those who have never believed in the will of the people.

To avoid such circumstances, it would be in the fitness of things if all the political parties of Pakistan join together and vote for democracy. This unity of purpose will not only help to strengthen it, but will also result to deter the undemocratic forces. While one would like to believe that the politicians, the army and the judiciary want democracy to prosper, but they must initiate some visible steps that would snub the forces, who are trying to regroup to defeat them.

Needless to say, it is absolutely essential that the politicians should forget their differences and send out a loud and clear message that the country believes in only one option. That is to allow the will of the people to prevail!

In the coming days and weeks, hopefully, all major political parties will show maturity and collective wisdom to ensure not only free, fair and transparent general elections, but also a peaceful and orderly transition of power. This can only happen, if Pakistan’s political leadership is pragmatic and displays political maturity that has been lacking in the past.

As a final word, Pakistan needs to conduct two to three peaceful elections before the pillars of the state become powerful enough to resist any attempt by the so-called messiahs to lower the expectations and aspirations of the vast majority of people.

The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist. At present, he hosts a political programme on Pakistan Television.

Email: zarnatta@hotmail.com