Strengthening democratic dispensation in Pakistan will be desirable for meaningful counter-terrorism in the country and the region. We need to stay committed to our national objectives and mission and be prepared to serve the nation with courage. If leadership remains indifferent the outcomes could be disastrous. We have to act responsibly with eyes and ears open, be watchful of the enemy within and without and act immediately when action is needed.

One of the many issues of modern politics is the challenge of confronting democracy. Is government by the people possible? The question before us can be answered simply: government by the people is possible but highly improbable. The difficulties of self-government are manifest throughout the world.

The history of political thought in the nineteenth and twentieth century is largely one of qualification, modification, and outright repudiation of the heady democratic optimism of the eighteenth century. “The play is still on”, wrote Carl Becker, “and we are still betting on freedom of the mind, but the outcome seems now somewhat more dubious than it did in Jefferson’s time, because two hundred years of experience makes it clear that men do not in fact always use their freedom of speech and of the press in quite the rational and disinterested way they are supposed to.” Recent marches and sit-ins in Pakistan uphold this view point. Violence was used as an instrument to show power.

A political leader is chosen because of his supposed qualifications for his job. If he is qualified, he should be allowed to carry it out according to his own best judgment. If his judgment is found defective by his electors, he can and should be removed. His constituents, however, must recognize that he has a duty to his office as well as to them and that their duty in turn is to fill the office but not to run it. We must distinguish between the functions of representation and of government, requiring our elected leaders to represent us while allowing them to govern. It may well be questioned whether the complex and slow-moving procedures of government are adequate to meet both the dangers and the opportunities of international relations. Too often, decisions of principle are postponed or neglected and opportunities lost because of the obstacles imposed by our policy processes. The source of his malady is the diffusion of authority between and within the executive and legislative branches and the accessibility of all of these centers to a wide variety of pressures and interests.

One of the great features in the evolution of democracy has been the growth of a political community in which more and more groups of people have moved to an organized status and have become legitimate members of the political community, with leaders who could effectively voice their interest.

The electorate need not understand the details of the issues, but they must understand the general spirit, temper, and drift of the issues. They have to have some understanding of history, they have to have enough understanding of scientific method, enough understanding of intellectual discipline, to be able to see that arguments have come out of a certain context and have a certain background.

If we were to identify the most serious defect of received democratic theory, we would say it is the tendency to suppress the significance of leadership in a democracy. The crucial question is the recruitment and distribution of leaders. Are the best people in a given society willing to go into politics? Do they find the public life a satisfying and rich one? Is the morality or the code of politics one from which they would retreat? Is the leadership of labor unions as talented, as educated, as the leadership of great corporations? Where are the leaders for those who are voiceless? Where are the moralists? Where, if you will, are the poets?

Unfortunately there has been anoverdisplay of political desperation and impatience since the marches and Dharnas started in August this year. Politicians are either immature or are deliberately on a course of destabilization and destruction to serve their own selfish agendas. They hardly talk of real issues and plans to tackle the issues and problems that affect the people. They refuse to listen to the saner elements who in all sincerity keep reminding that the democratic evolution requires politics of consensus not confrontation.

Remember, a bad workman is bound to quarrel with his tools. In most situations it is not the system to blame. It is the man behind the gun that matters.

Evolution of democracy involves certain pre-conditions in inter-state as well as intra-state relationships. A mature democracy is represented by the following vales: freedom, equality, accountability, fairness, openness, transparency and trust. An objective analysis could indicate the level of maturity of democracy in Pakistan. The happy note is that the army is in support of democracy. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) claimed the 2013 elections to be the fairest in this country’s history.

On the road to change we need to start with good intentions, a patriotic spirit and a sense of ownership of the country we belong to. Transparency and accountability are the pillars that could support democracy in Pakistan. Otherwise democracy in this land of the pure shall continue to be dysfunctional. For a way forward, the need is to focus on the negative attitudes and distasteful behaviour of the elites including the civil and military bureaucracy, politicians, and all other sectors of the society, groups and individuals who are indifferent to the difficulties and problems of the people. We need to get rid of all psychopaths, parasites and terrorists who wish to deprive the people of what belongs to them.

 The writer is a former director NIPA, a political analyst, a public policy expert and an author. He can be contacted at