Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani and Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq unveiled a monument at the Parliament House for the unsung heroes of democracy. Sardar Sahib talked about the Supremacy of the parliament. Comrade Rabbani has indeed strong democratic credentials but the PML-N nominated custodian of the house does not qualify for this honour. He was un-seated by the election tribunal and won the re-election through non-kosher means. Punjab Police was seen hoisting his election banners, then the NADRA electoral lists were also disputable.

Journey of democracy starts with the ballot, which has to be indisputable. The 1970 free and fair election is the benchmark of our democratic struggle. The truly elected legislation then formulated the unanimous 1973 constitution which is binding on every institution of the state. In the sacred document the electoral process is clearly defined yet it had been blatantly defied ten times between 1977 and 2013. The enemies of the people and democracy continue to rule over us by taking turns. And now they have the audacity to unveil a monument for the unsung heroes of democracy, constitution and rule of law. After the end of the term of the 1970 elected parliament, no one seems interested in the will or welfare of the people whom they claim to represent.

In 1967 when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) launched his People’s Party he asked the packed YMCA hall ‘Awami’ or ‘Sarkari’. ‘Awami’ was the unanimous roar. After that there was no looking back. In the very first election three years later the ‘Sarkari’ parties were badly defeated. Till 1975 democracy flourished in the country. The military action in Baluchistan proved to be the beginning of the end. By 1977 the ‘Quaid-e-Awam’ had surrounded himself with the electables who had no roots in the ‘Awam’. His ‘Awami Hakumat’ supported ‘Sarkari Siasis’ who then indulged in their old tricks of ballot manipulation. As a result the ‘Khakis’ managed to seize power.

Zia the third khaki usurper proudly proclaimed that the constitution had no significance for him, he could tear it and then throw it in the trash. He re-introduced, ‘Sarkari Siasis’ like Mian Nawaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif, Chaudhry Shujaat, Javed Hashmi etc. Zia and his coterie proved to be enemy of the people and democracy. In the famous Asghar Khan case the Supreme Court verdict is not being implemented which has clearly established guilt.

To re-establish the writ of the establishment Zia introduced the concept of positive results through manipulated ballots, which has proven deadly for democracy. PML-N is an embryo of Zia’s dictatorship as such has never been democracy friendly. The democratic approach has its own dynamics, which cannot be manipulated by stuffing ballot boxes. Musharraf the fourth Khaki usurper followed Zia’s game plan of democracy bashing and produced his own brand of ‘Sarkari Siasis’.

The civil society joined the lawyers movement for rule of law. When the route of the first long march was being finalized, my suggestion was to surround the President and seek his resignation. Instead the marchers entered the capital through Shahrae-Kashmir leaving the dictator in control. The General then finally caved in and allowed the political rogues to return through the infamous National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). These NRO politicians are as big an enemy of democracy as the four Khaki dictators.

Ballot drives democracy, and as such its sanctity has to be preserved and protected. It is the very basis of representative democratic order. The beneficiaries of ten manipulated electoral exercises are enemies of democracy. The Nasir-ul-Mulk Commission has pointed out serious irregularities in the 2013 elections yet not one of them have been removed. The candidates who benefitted from these shortcomings remain in power including the Speaker himself.

The current parliament does not deserve to display the monument for the unsung heroes of democracy. The torture cells at the Lahore fort or the place of ZAB hanging in the Chaklala jail is a much better location. There was a movement to rename the Shadman Round about as ‘Bhagat Singh Chowk’ as a tribute to the freedom fighter who was hanged by the colonists in the Borstal Jail located there. The 1970 truly elected legislator’s met at the old State Bank auditorium which is now a part of NADRA headquarters in Islamabad. The parliamentarians who have occupied the present parliament house do not represent the people of Pakistan. In the words of Mustafa Khar they are usurpers, not elected representatives of the masses. A parliament is the mecca of democracy that has to ensure the rule of law and constitution. The 1973 document is a gift of the 1970 truly elected legislators. Instead of unveiling monuments the current occupants of the house should fully restore and ensure implantation of his article of faith for the nation. Enforcement of two terms for the Prime Minister and electoral reforms to meet the constitutional requirements of a free and fair election are the first step in that direction. I am confident that Comrade Rabbani fully understands the burdens of political offices but I am not sure if the tribunal disqualified Speaker has earned his democratic wings. The enemies of democracy are within, NRO provided them a short reprieve but their days are now numbered the noose around their neck is getting tight. Unveiling of plaques and monuments cannot save them from political annihilation.