THE Funder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah desired the new country to have a democratic constitution, which he expressed at number of occasions. In Feb 1948 in a radio broadcast to the people of the United States of America he said ‘The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam’. Even before independence while talking to the audiences at Kingsway Hall London in Dec1946 he said, ‘Democracy is in the blood of Muslamans who look upon complete equality of man’. It is for certain that the only suitable system of government for Pakistan, as per the aspiration of Quaid-e-Azam, is the democratic system.
Democracy is the form of governance by the people, for the people. In dictatorship the dictator is not answerable to anyone and takes the decisions about important national issues as he pleases, but a democratic leader takes all-onboard before taking important decisions. The difference between a democratic leader and a dictator is that the dictator thinks himself above the law, whereas a true democratic leader abides by the law. In democracy the system is sacrosanct/ indispensable whereas in dictatorship the leader considers him as indispensable. According to political scientist Larry Diamond, democracy consists of four key elements: a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; protection of the human rights of all citizens; last but not the least the rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens including the leadership.
Sometimes behaviours of political leaders also turn dictatorial, which are not different from the dictators. With such a mindset the system under said leader virtually ceases to remain democratic despite coming into being as a result of democratic process. If a caliph can be publicly questioned about the resources of making his shirt or he is made to appear before the Qazi as an accused, then why not so in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In a true democratic system no one is above the law, the law of the land is supreme/sacrosanct without any exception. For any crime the accused is answerable to the courts and can’t hide behind his heavy mandate or power base, as this is the basic difference between him and a dictator.
In any democratic system if the personalities are given preference over the system then nothing can stop that system and the complete edifice from collapsing. In Pakistan the poor are held up for minor offences but the rich get away with even heinous crimes. There are numerous examples in the history where great civilizations perished when they devised different laws for the poor and the rich. The campaign to malign the judiciary after its verdict against the convict ex PM is quite sad. In WWII, when the Germans were bombing London, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was briefed on the casualties and economic collapse. He asked, ‘Are the courts functioning?’ When told in affirmative, Churchill replied, ‘Thank God. If the courts are working, nothing can go wrong.’ Unfortunately, in Pakistan the custodians of law have themselves started mudslinging against the honourable judiciary.
There are news that the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 and amendment in the constitution are in the offing which would enable any convict to be elected as the head of political party and make the institutions personal servants of the rulers. It’s a clear defiance of the judiciary and amounts to making mockery of the whole system. If it happens it would open the gates of corruption in the country. No powerful individual would ever be answerable to the law and would mold the laws like the ‘nose of wax’ for his advantage. The attitude displayed by the deposed PM is certainly non-democratic, rather it gives a feeling that instead of democracy he believes in aristocracy.
It’s the moral responsibility of every democracy loving politician/ individual to oppose the move of turning the democratic rule into a family rule. The beliefs that, the worse democracy is better than best dictatorship has proven wrong, unfortunately Pakistan has suffered the most diplomatically and economically in last ten years of democracy, the gap between poor and rich has widened, middle class has disappeared and the country has gone under unbearable internal and foreign debts. Pakistan can’t afford any further experiments, it’s high time that we have a good democratic system in which everyone is accountable and answerable to law and no one fiddles with the law of the land to suit his personal interests, instead of rhetoric only we also need to make our behaviours democratic.