The president of Pakistan, while delivering his annual address to the combined session of both houses said that democracy in our country has seen many ups and downs. Maybe he was trying to make a point that after seeing such ups and downs, it is gaining strength at last.  

However, the scribe would beg to differ. Being a senior citizen, I have had the chance to serve both British and Pakistani governments and never in my life did I see democracy in its real essence ever rising. The real democracy is for the people, by the people, and of the people and this never happened in Pakistan. British left the country and their position was taken by a group of elite, who kept experimenting with us under different guises. Every ruler who held power, served this elite group, who enjoyed power and freedom, be it civilian or military rule. People in general have always remained at the receiving end. Even now, in the so called strengthened democracy, the provincial governments reluctantly held local body elections under order of the court, but power to the elected local representatives was never devolved.  

Instead, the lawmakers of the National Assembly, for self-serving reasons are given development funds, which helps to keep iron-clad hold on power. The members of the house do not attend the national assembly and proceedings are often adjourned for lack of quorum. Presidential ordinances are at times issued over weekends or holidays during on going sessions of the national assembly. Perhaps the poor citizens of this country were never destined to reap the benefits of real democracy. 

RAJA SHAFAATULLAH,  

Islamabad, June 5.