| Welcome to Global Village Space

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Consolidating democracy in Pakistan!

The multifarious interaction of structural and social forces that characterize democracy is characterized by the extent and scale of democratic change being defined by the recontextualization of the political scene. Influencing and enforcing governments through legitimate and uninterrupted elections has been on the surface during the previous developments taking place in Pakistan.

Democracy in Western Political thought has much in order to debate on Civil Supremacy against the military. Much of the theoretical framework has been produced on the situation of third-world countries. Third world countries have distinctions in their political setups and the threats perceived by the military to fold the setup, this means a compartmentalized concept of practicing and developing democracy.

In ideological states, like Israel and Pakistan, the state of being, and the state of the end, are considered a result of Military existence. Military and its role in Pakistan have been oscillating within a different time period, where the military pressed its role in the light of very basic foundations of Pakistan. Further, the induction and influence of the military were expressed in terms of Paradigm Shift, especially, after the Musharraf era, as the military establishment put its interest by setting its agendas through less-democratic political actors.

Read more: The mockery of democracy in Pakistan

These political actors are the elites in Pakistani society

They include the Religious, Political, Military, Bureaucratic and Media centric elites, they also tend to replace one another, however, military elites are the most powerful as they nourish the rest of the elites and also change their position with respect to political interests. The role of an agency is maximizing itself in the later periods, especially, the post-February 2008 elections, which eventually grew with the induction of new social and political changes taking place in the contrary nature of the upper authoritative elites and actors participating on behalf of democratic agencies.

The transition from authoritarian rule several positive developments that deepened democracy such as the institutionalization of electoral competition, maturing of parliamentarian politics, political elites’ commitment to institutional democracy, consolidation of civil society, and the emergence of new social movements such as the Pashtun Tehfuz Movements. In addition to that, associational life in Pakistan has increased in many folds which has allowed various groups and actors to demand meaningful participation in the political process and representation.

These changes occurred maturely after the successive elections and transition of power between various governments, followed by the expulsion of Nawaz Sharif in 2016, in addition to the debate generated, 2018 elections and judicial powers exercised as per democratic nature, the recent developments taking place in Pakistan. Certain other events in the civil society have contributed maximally to the nature of democratization and consolidation of Democracy by shortly, legitimate means, such are the civil society actors, deprived of fundamental rights under authoritative regimes or establishmentarian democracy.

Read more: Judiciary and Democracy in Pakistan

The continual nature of democratization is characterized by the plural interaction of structural and social dynamics in which recontextualization of the political landscape defines the scope and scale of democratic change. Influencing and enforcing governments through legitimate and uninterrupted elections has been on the surface during the previous developments taking place in Pakistan. This is a happen of continuous involvement of the democratic nature of the public masses and the introduction of civil rights moments, the Women’s March and the debate on the role of undemocratic vs. the Democratic generating a debate in the Social and Political sphere of Pakistan, as well as, the introduction of individuals to new modern systems and liberties worldwide.

The way forward

Democratization is to be flourished in Pakistan through various assumptions, some might think of relating it to the Economic and free market, others to the educational purposes, some to the cultural pluralism, however, more recent developments to some democrats consider that democracy is a function of the elites and building consensus. The later has attracted a basic sentence in its support, Democracy is Sustained by the Public and Maintained by the individuals. In 2006, the two mainstream political parties Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz reached an understanding, via the Charter of Democracy, The Charter of Democracy was an elites’ collaborative commitment towards the consolidation of democratic institutions and mechanisms.

Given the developments, this emboldened politician particularly the leadership of PMLN defied the rule of the game operating in the form of establishmentarian democracy. The challenging forces diversified in the face of general elections in 2018. The manner in which elections were conducted and political actors treated unevenly generated a response that culminated into the formation of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, an umbrella coalition of mainstream political parties demanding constitutionalism and democracy. The process of democratization has initiated a reconstituting process in which political actors reinvent them. As Pakistan is a swing between semi authoritarianism and semi-democracy.

Read more: Collective opinion important for stability of democracy: Justice Akhtar

The fragile conditions of consolidation have triggered a response from democratic forces to reconfigure and restate the rules of the game by re-negotiating existing power arrangements toward the demands of the constitutional role of each institution. In the present debate, we are solemnly focusing on the developments made on part of the structure and the actors responsible for the enhancement of the process of democratization in Pakistan.



The writer is a graduate of Politics and International Relations (SPIR), QAU, Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.