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Friday, May 17, 2024

Decaying of the Democratic System in Pakistan

Political parties, propaganda, media participation, public opinion, differences of opinion, individual and collective freedom and universal suffrage are some of the unique features of the nowadays democratic system. 

In the 21st century, democracy is considered probably the ideal form of government. Several attributes such as inclusiveness, freedom, equality and rule of law make it distinguished from the other forms of government. A number of political scholars define it in their own ways, however; it is clear that its the government of the people. People directly participate in the elections process and choose their rulers on their own. Political parties, propaganda, Media participation, Public Opinion, differences of opinion, individual and collective freedom and universal Suffrage are some of the unique features of the nowadays democratic system.

However, despite all these positive aspects, the democratic system is highly vulnerable to several active and passive challenges. Especially, in the 3rd world and developing countries, government of the people is highly exposed to such devastating factors. For instance, a powerful military is one of the major obstacles to the democratic process in the 3rd world countries. Several times, men in uniform intervene in the politics of such underdeveloped countries and establish dictatorial rule by derailing the whole democratic process. Pakistan is probably the most classic example in this regard, where the country is ruled by these military dictators for more than three decades.

Read more: Why unity is a top priority under current critical moments for Pakistan

Military dictatorship is considered a distinct threat to democracy, under which individual freedom, human liberty and media freedom become highly depleted. However, apart from the direct military interventions, there are some other drastic means as well, which ruin democracy rather slowly but deeply.

More often, democracies die at the hands of elected leaders, not of generals

These political leaders are elected through the same electoral process, but they dismantle it after coming into power. Such political leaders use state institutions for suppressing political opponents. Such elected governments highly transform their behavior to autocratic ones and tend to limit prerequisites related to democracy and the government of the people. Countries like Venezuela, chili, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey have witnessed such devastating experiences over the years in terms of their autocratic political systems. Even in the United States of America, under the reign of Donald Trump, the inhabitants came across ultra-media restrictions, victim blaming, racial discrimination and suppression of political opposition, which made the democratic process endangered.

Today, in Pakistan situation is getting worst in the prospects of the mentioned dilemmas. The PTI government was ousted as a result of the No-Confidence Movement in the month of April. Soon, the coalition of 11 parties in the name of the Pakistan Democratic Movement PDM, formed a coalition government. Currently, the democratic society of Pakistan faces awful implications in the government of the so-called democratic alliance. Although the constitution of Pakistan guarantees both individual and collective freedom, liberty of media and political association, it has a value of a mere piece of paper in contemporary Pakistan. The political opponents are accused of sedation, corruption and contempt charges, in order to halt their political participation in the process.

The same is the case with the media sector as well. The government attempted to ban several mainstream media TV channels. More alarmingly, few prominent journalists and anchorpersons are harassed through state institutions such as Federal Investigation Agency FIA. They are charged with sedition and contempt allegations as well in order to stop unwanted critical voices. Due to such authoritarian desires and lust for suppressing political adversaries, the already fragile democracy of Pakistan is on a ventilator, breathing for life.

Read more: Pakistan bans Joyland for screening on ‘objectionable content’

More importantly, the latter challenge is more severe than the former one. Such disintegration, unlike direct military interventions, cannot be felt, but occurs on a comprehensive scale and damage the democratic norms massively. In order to avoid such devastating challenges to the democratic process, political parties need to launch a Mega political dialogue on major collective matters. For instance, there is an exceptional need of charter of democracy in real version; on the issues like elections, accountability and its dimensions, and the constitutional and legal role of both civil and military institutions, etc. By doing so, the political parties can safeguard the democratic process from both active and passive challenges.


The writer currently works as a Research Associate at the International Parliamentarians’ Congress Islamabad. He has wide experience in writing for various newspapers and can be reached at barkatullahbarakaat@gmail.com

The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent Global Village Space’s editorial policy.