While democracy is self correcting, other mechanisms tried in the country have been self defeating. Four martial laws, ten manipulated elections and four constitutions have created a mess of un-imaginable proportions. The Khakis, Qazis, Baboos, and their propelled political leadership has failed to deliver. It is the abused and ambushed unanimously approved 1973 Constitution that continues to save the union. Why has this document of faith been under constant attack from the first day of its promulgation?

Despite its flaws, democracy remains the only self correcting mechanism of our times. Rule of the ballot prevails in civilized societies. There were two world wars and several revolutions in the 20th century. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia dominated the world by creating the United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). Lack of democracy caused its demise after 77 years. Today Russia is a democracy and poised to regain its position. The Chinese Revolution has kept its course but is moving in the direction of liberalization. Iran became an Islamic Republic after the fall of the Shah. All three countries have self correcting mechanisms in place.

Democracy in India has survived despite several challenges. Indira Gandhi tried emergency rule to establish family control over the state but she soon realized her fault and returned to the ballot. Her congress party is still a force to be reckoned with despite its recent electoral loss to the BJP. Modi has to deliver on his promises to retain power. He has already lost Delhi to the Aam Adami Party (AAP). The established electoral process in India is a self correcting mechanism through which the will of the people prevails.

By contrast, democracy in Pakistan has been kept in constant tailspin. The elections in 1977 were the first under the 1973 Constitution. There were solid democratic gains between 1971 and 1977 which were then neutralized by the third Khaki usurper. Education is the basic building block of a nation which was guaranteed in the constitution as a self correcting mechanism. Zia-ul-Haq amended the constitution by removing the ten year time limit... which meant never.

There was agreement on provincial autonomy as it played a critical role in the break up of Quaid’s Pakistan. A ministry of provincial co-ordination was formed with a list of concurrent departments that were to be transferred to the provinces within ten years to strengthen the federation but it did not happen. Finally, the Pakistan People’s Party government passed the 18th and the 19th amendments under which these departments were devolved to the provinces.

Provinces have now been allowed to establish their own revenue authorities to collect sales tax on services. The Federal Board of Revenue is not too happy with this arrangement and there is an ongoing tussle with land locked provinces like Punjab and KPK. The 8th amendment was also done away with. The President can no longer dismiss the Prime Minister (PM). Only the parliament can vote him out. The Supreme Court under the previous Chief Justice did send the Chief Executive packing on contempt but it did not sit well and is largely considered a self defeating act by an out of control judiciary under a controversial Chief Justice.

Civil society supported the lawyer’s movement for the rule of law which is an important self correcting mechanism. According to Hazrat Ali (RA), no society can function without justice. Imran launched his party in 1996 for this purpose and named it Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI). It is indeed interesting that the largest opposition party has been seeking justice itself after the May 2013 elections.

The historic ‘Black Coat’ movement has created a legal mafia which is indeed a self defeating mechanism. The rule of mob has reached the court rooms. Judges are intimidated by the lawyers. The bench and the bar can no longer be relied on for justice and fair play. Even the police are not safe in the courtrooms. The ex Chief Justice will go down in history as a tormentor of ‘Insaf’. While we marched to get him restored, we are ready to march again to ensure his retirement in case he tries to prolong his misrule.

Soon after the partition of the sub-continent, India was able to formulate a constitution which regulates the state and has been a self correcting mechanism. By contrast, it took us nine years to approve our Constitution in 1956 but it was abrogated in 1958 before its full enactment. The 1962 version was a sham to derail democracy. Finally, the unanimously approved 1973 constitution brought us back on track. But our democratic journey was disrupted by the rigging of the 1977 elections. Our struggle is ongoing. The rampant manipulation in the May 2013 ballot has once again denied us an opportunity for self correction. Nations survive and advance through self correcting mechanisms like democracy which is based on free and fair elections. It may require patience, perseverance and sacrifice, but it is the only sure way to move forward. Let there be an honest ballot in 2015 to revive and restore the self correcting mechanisms enshrined in the 1973 constitution. It is the best way forward both for the nation and its vital institutions.