We always come up with a debate that whether there is a democracy or dictatorship in Pakistan? Could something be seriously wrong with the way issues have been defined to people in Pakistan? To answer this ever-emerging question, firstly we need to redefine some definitions. What is actually democracy and civilian- supremacy in Pakistan?
Unfortunately, the democratic rule has always been judged via two lenses. First, if there is no military uniform present on the President or Prime Minister’s seat then its democracy. If it is so then Saudi Arab, Qatar, Oman, UAE and all the Middle Eastern countries are democratic as they have no military dictator. If it is so then Eygpt, where Gen. Sisi put his uniform off and became an incumbent President, was also a democratic country.
And the second biggest misapprehension about whether its democracy or not? That if the elections are being conducted in the country then it is solely a democrattic rule. All the central Asian republics have been conducting elections for long. Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev is a Kazakh statesman serving as President of Kazakhstan and conducting polls since 1991. So is it the covenant of democracy in Kazakhstan? Even Hosni Mubarak conducted elections in Eygpt. Can anyone even dare to call it a democratic country? Robert Mugabe has been ruling Zimbabve for more than 30 years and has been conducting so-called elections. So what?
Elections were even conducted by Sadam Hussain in Iraq and Muammer Ghaddafi in Libya. But none of them afore said examples concede with the veritable elucidation of democracy. We are unable to discern between democracy and monarchy or dictatorship. Because, in Pakistan, power has always been oscillating between civil-military oligarchs.
The history mourns at the misfortune of this land. The military oligarchs not just ruined the political setup but also maligned the institution of army. The discipline among the whole military got vanished and the world got a sizzling topic of civil-military divide. Whether it was in the worst form of Zia’s coup or the military takeover by Musharaf, the martial law of Ayub or mutiny of Yahya. It always proved to be a step towards annihilation of democratic norms.
On the other hand, civilian oligarchs like Zardari and Sharif Dynasty formed their own dictatorial border. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The term like conflict of interest had no meaning in their dictionary. It has been 30 years observing the nexus of these two bigwigs. And when asked about accountability and auditing of their royal expenditures, they often get offended.
Now, what is democracy? Democracy is actually the mutual check and balance of institutions like judiciary, executive and legislature. The courts ought to be fully independent that could not be intimated by any sort of external pressure. The actual path leading to true democracy in Pakistan is hurdled by political influences. And one single solution to these arduous hurdles is: depoliticizing the state institutions such as Police, District Administration, IB, NADRA, NAB, FIA, PEMRA, ECP, SBP, SECP. All these institutions ought to be institutionalized so that the decisions could be made incontrovertible and unprejudiced.
Parlimentarians are not supposed to grasp development funds, contracts to build roads and overhead bridges and provide jobs to the voters of their constituencies. These are the principle functions of local or city governments. The members of provincial and national assemblies are primarily for the legislation of laws for the general welfare of public. They are elected to form foreign policy, financial policy and maintaining law and order through constitution. But unfortunately, the current circumstances are the reciprocal of it.