An epitaph on Pakistan’s demokratia?

An epitaph on Pakistan’s demokratia?


We curse Chief Justice Muneer because the pioneer who paved for praetorian rulers. We nonetheless neglect simply what Chief Justice Muneer mentioned shortly earlier than announcing his verdict on the infamous Dosso case: ‘when politics enters the portals of justice, democracy, its cherished inmate, walks out by the backdoor’ (Roedad Khan, Pakistan: A Dream Gone Bitter).

Our Structure relies on the “separation of powers”. But, our historical past teems with luminaries who harboured supra-constitutional hallucinations. The ‘institutional boundaries’ in golden phrases of our structure are crystal clear however ‘blurred’ in minds of purblind gamers, ruling bureaucrats, judges and praetorians-to-be.

The kingpins in varied establishments, all the time at daggers drawn, shouldn’t neglect Jean Bodin’s dictum majesta est summa in civas ac subditoes legibusque salute potestas, ‘the very best energy over residents and topics [is] unrestrained by regulation’.

Bodin defined energy resides with whosoever has ‘energy to coerce’. It doesn’t reside with the citizens, parliament, judiciary and even structure. Prior to now, our bureaucrats, judges, politicians, and even praetorian rulers fought tooth and nail to show that energy belonged to them. We have now the uncommon distinction to stay fortunately with a praetorian in uniform and grant one other lifelong presidency.

Historical past glistens with names of “heroes” who suffered from the “I’m the structure” paranoia. Julius Caesar and Napoleon additionally harboured extra-constitutional ideas.  Napoleon informed Moreau de Lyonne, “The structure, what’s it however a heap of ruins. Has it not been successively the game of each occasion?” “Has not each type of tyranny been dedicated in its identify because the day of its institution?”

Throughout his self-crowning in 1804, Napoleon mentioned, “What’s the throne, a little bit of wooden gilded and coated with velvet? I’m the state. I alone am right here, the consultant of the folks”. Take Basic Zia.  He had nothing however contempt for the Structure and democratic norms (Roedad Khan, A Dream gone Bitter).

Whereas addressing a press convention in Teheran, he mentioned, “What’s the Structure?” “It’s a booklet with ten or twelve pages.  I can tear them up and say that from tomorrow we will stay underneath a unique system.  Is there anyone to cease me? At the moment the folks will observe wherever I lead them.  All of the politicians together with the once-mighty Mr Bhutto will observe me with their tail wagging (ibid.). Dicey mentioned, “No Structure will be completely secure from a Revolution or a coup d’état”.

“Until the day contempt of the Structure vanishes, Pakistan will stay a battlefield of troopers of fortune, in khaki or mufti” (ZA Bhutto). Alas! All of the troopers of fortune had been mortal. Our ex-PMs and PMs-to-be ought to take the cue. Bear in mind Nehru mentioned, “Pakistan, I might not have that carbuncle on India’s again” (DH Bhutani, The Way forward for Pakistan, p. 14) . Patel referred to as Jinnah ‘poison’. Let’s cease uncannily fulfilling the goals of Pakistan’s enemies. .

Democracy is inherent flawed. Democracy in Pakistan is in peril because the politicians haven’t any worldview. To right multifaceted social injustice, all stakeholders, in khaki and mufti, ought to attempt to evolve the Aristotelian `Golden Imply’. Or else, proceed on auto-pilot till divine retribution strikes.

The rot begins in minds when govt, parliament or judiciary out-steps limits to its authority. In his ebook Governance Deficit: A Case Examine of Pakistan , former finance secretary Saeed Ahmed Qureshi factors out that our constitutional evolution had an uneasy begin with preponderance of personalities over establishments. Qureshi goes on to recount “eight blows to the constitutional system” together with dissolution of the Constituent Meeting, the dismissal of elected prime ministers, the induction of Gen Ayub Khan as defence minister on 24 October 1954, the imposition of martial or quasi-martial regulation “for 33 out of Pakistan’s 68 years of historical past”.

The drafter of India’s structure, Dr. B R Ambedkar, prophetically remarked, ‘Nonetheless good a Structure could also be, if those that are implementing it usually are not good, it should show to be dangerous. Nonetheless dangerous a Structure could also be, if these implementing it are good, it should show to be good’. The Indian Structure permits the President to dissolve the elected Parliament (doing so is treason in Pakistan). However he has by no means achieved so.

In Pakistan, it’s the vested pursuits, not demos (folks) of demo-kratia, who rule. There isn’t any social democracy. To cite Ambedkar, ‘Political democracy can not final except there lies on the base of it social democracy. What does social democracy imply? It means a lifestyle which recognises liberty, equality and fraternity because the ideas of life’. The fault lies with democrats, not democracy, whether or not presidential or parliamentary.

In his examine of political techniques (oligarchy, monarchy, and so on.), Aristotle concluded demokratia was most likely the perfect system. The issue that bothered him was that almost all of free folks (then excluding ladies and slaves) would use their brute voting energy to introduce pro-poor laws like taking away property from the wealthy. Through the Aristotelian age there was just one home, a unicameral legislature. Aristotle too was a person of means. His family had slaves.

Aristotle prompt that we cut back revenue inequalities in order that have-not representatives of the poor folks weren’t tempted to encroach upon haves’ property. Like Aristotle, the American founding fathers had been unnerved by the spectre of `rule of the proletariat’. James Madison harboured related considerations. He feared `if freemen had democracy, then the poor farmers would insist on taking property from the wealthy’ through land reforms. The concern was addressed by making a senate (USA) or a Home of Lords (Britain) as antidotes in opposition to legislative vulgarities of the Home of Consultant or a Home of Commons.

Aristotle would rejoice within the grave to see each Pakistan’s Nationwide Meeting (commons) and the Senate (lords) populated by the wealthy. A “democrat”, now self-exiled defiantly wore Louis Moinet `Meteoris’ wristwatch, value about Rs. 460 million. One other, a proponent of Medinite State, owns a 30-kanal home. Our august bi-cameral legislature by no means took any legislative steps to equalise residents in entry to training, health-care, housing and jobs. They by no means seemed into the origin of landed aristocracy, chiefs and chieftains within the subcontinent through the Mughal and British durations. In consequence, about 560 scions of the British raj, together with nouveaux riches (industrial robber barons) have been perched in our decrease and higher homes since 1947.

Participation was the sine qua non of the Aristotelian democracy. Vote-eligible males used to flock to the parliament when in session. However, these days, solely a handful of “elected representatives” (a mafia) attend the parliament.

A German sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 ebook, Political Events, postulated the Iron Regulation of Oligarchy. Michels acknowledged that the raison d’être of consultant democracy is eliminating elite rule. It’s an not possible aim.

Shabbar Zaidi’s ebook Wealthy Individuals, Poor Nation portrays a sorry state of Pakistan. Creator’s estimates, primarily based on the quantity of property revealed underneath Overseas Property (Declaration and Repatriation) Act, 2018 (tax amnesty scheme) recommend {that a} substantial variety of Pakistanis, round seven to eight % of the nation’s then complete inhabitants of 210 million, had been very wealthy. These Pakistanis have particular person incomes probably exceeding even the very best common per capita incomes on the earth. In sharp distinction, our authorities stays poor— with the ability to gather taxes that represent solely 10 per cent of the gross home product (GDP).

He argues a authorities not capable of tax the wealthy won’t ever have the sources required to offer the poor with financial and social safety.

Democracy is inherent flawed. Democracy in Pakistan is in peril because the politicians haven’t any worldview. To right multifaceted social injustice, all stakeholders, in khaki and mufti, ought to attempt to evolve the Aristotelian `Golden Imply’. Or else, proceed on auto-pilot till divine retribution strikes.


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