The territorial issues and border conflicts with India, the socio-economic differences within the country, the struggle for a share of power between the provinces and the early death of the founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah, are some of those realities which not only politicized the policy making elites and their willingness in introducing the fair democratic procedures but also encouraged the non-democratic elements in the country including the army.
Even after 63 years, as a corollary, the country could not get cleaned from feudal, tribal, punchayt system and sectarian segregation. In this grim situation the public has been left untutored in the kind of vigilance usually needed to hold political leaders accountable.
Pakistan failed to establish a stable democratic government due to constitutional conflict. Due to political instability, Pakistan’s economic and social growth has been curtailed.
The root cause of Pakistan political woes lies in its feudal and the winner-take-all approach to governing that has been practiced by successive civilian and military leaders. The Muslim League that brought independence to Pakistan, lacked internal democracy. Once partition and statehood had been achieved, provincial and local political parties confined Muslim League just a paper-party. There were no opposition party to counter Muslim League initially, but latter on, Muslim league itself was disappeared. Coupled with the political legacy of Muslim League, the civil and military bureaucracy, that was of much importance due to its scarce number, gained so much power that they depressed the political institution. The constitution-less 10 years-history from 1947 to 1956-was an ill exercise of the political actors, which invoked the military to interfere in the politics.
Absence of a complete constitution, allowed the peoples with power to manipulate the political and constitutional institution, as they wanted. Different powerful civil and military bureaucrats played blasphemy of constitution, parliament and political parties.
Political parties in Pakistan are not working fairly. The intra-party election is no to be seen. The leaders, consequently, are autocrats. Political parties are famous in the name of leader of the parties. Personification has harmed extremely the true essence of democracy.
The third pillar of the state, the judiciary has also dual strategies all over the history. Mostly the role of the judiciary has been vulnerable. It has always provided a so-called legal way to the dictators to assume the power. The constitution has been abrogated many a time with the help of the judiciary. Beside the judiciary and Army’s role in politics, the intelligence agencies have become a major actor on the national political scene. Military intelligence and Inter-Services-Intelligence (ISI) are widely believed to have had a major hand in shaping the candidates and the choices available to voters at least since General Zia’s general election of 1985. In these situation how a true democratic government would be formed to realized the dreams of the great Quaid?
In addition to all above given anti-democracy factors, the dynamic structure of the state is also not in the favour of democratic values to be flourished. For most of its history Pakistan has been divided into provinces drawn basically on ethnic lines. Political loyalties and attitude have a strong ethnic dimension to them, and the central government’s desires to manage Pakistan’s ethnic diversity can have a major impact on resource allocation foreign policy decision, and the game of politics.
Another elements which has vitiated the democracy in Pakistan is violance in politics. The patience require for a democratic system is highly tacking in almost all the parties and theirs drivers. Democracy accommodate the presence of dissent party. Democracy is the product of wishes of the people and not of the desires of an elite few. But political prayer of Pakistan could not do so.
Illiterate voters, family ties a among politicians and feudalism has constrained democracy in Pakistan.
Democracy can be revived in Pakistan by taking following steps.
Reform the judiciary.
Creation of an independent election commission.
Internal party elections.
Strengthen the free press.
Division of provinces.
Don’t neglect provincial and local government.
Implementation of the constitutions.
Continuity of fair elections.
Protection of minorities and civil liberties.
The nation political parties should embrace a new spirit of co-operation and constructive opposition, moving beyond out dated confrontational and self-defeating street action and walk-outs and boycott politics to engage in vigorous political debates free of violence.