RANDOM THOUGHTS: Is this Democracy? - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

Is this Democracy?
Dr. A.Q. Khan


There is a saying that if rulers ignore the problems, pains and needs of the people, they are doomed sooner rather than later. The situation in Pakistan seems to have almost reached this point. The rulers and those in authority seem least bothered about the welfare of the poor people. Even those who are very vocal in their demands for rights and facilities for the poor often only indulge in hypocrisy, a lot of talking and no practical help or support. People (many thousands) are challenging the decisions made by Parliament, which is responsible to the people because it has been elected by them. Mischief mongers incite people to block roads, prevent transport from plying and even to attack the law enforcers. We have seen more than enough of this by Imran Khan and his party workers, Altaf Hussain and his cronies and Dr. Tahirul Qadri and his supporters. The Supreme Court has started working within the Constitution and according to democratic principles. Unfortunately, when one remembers the role of the judiciary in the cases against Musharraf, Hussain Haqqani, Ayan Ali, Zardari ($ 60 million in Swiss Bank), etc., then it is far from satisfactory or worth any feeling of pride. During the tenure of the former Chief Justice, suo motto notices were applied in large numbers, but that does not mean that, where there was an urgent need to react, it was right for the judiciary to just sit as an onlooker and not bring cases to their natural conclusion. Law breakers enter from other provinces and cities creating law and order situation other than in their home towns and some mischief-makers (like the young doctors) create real law and order situations that cause a lot of inconvenience to the public. However, we see the government giving in again and again to appease these trouble-makers. Is that democracy? Blocking roads, causing public damage, breaking the windows of offices and shops is not democratic and should not be rewarded and giving in to such hooliganism is more like defeatism. The majority suffers at the hands of a few; such rowdiness continues for days with the government remaining inactive and then giving in to many, if not all, of their demands. In the case of the young doctors, ambulance services are blocked and emergency services closed, even leading to loss of lives. A Parliament elected by millions of voters is rendered inactive by a few mischief-makers. Even if their demands are genuine, the possibilities provided by the law should be followed and exploited. Our rulers should take an example from the administration of Hazrat Umar (RA) and Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz to see how they ruled and kept the public under control. This was done with simplicity, honesty and following the law in letter and in spirit. They did not let a small minority take the majority hostage and create a law and order situation while sitting back and doing nothing. Many people are paid to create mischief and a law and order situation and there are always many found ready to do so.

Parliament is the representative organization of the country (public) and is supposed to provide safety, security and comfort measures for the common man. The problem arises when, due to the failure of the government and Parliament to provide good governance, a powerful and ambitious general usurps power and puts the democracy of the country back by decades. We have seen this happen in our country too often in the past. Since the army has been engaged in fighting a proxy war with outsiders, it has left our country at the mercy of our enemies. Infiltrators have been not been stopped from entering the country and they have freely indulged in acts of sabotage and the use of explosives, resulting in many casualties amongst innocent people and a bad reputation to the country. If the PML(N) failed to block undemocratic actions by mischief-makers, Parliament must exert itself to fill the gap. They should make laws and bring in appropriate action to block the possibilities of taking the country and the people hostage. Why do people say democracy is in danger if you block the anti-state activities of a few thousand people? Is democracy for the majority or for a few thousand people? By not acting, great harm is done to the country and great inconvenience and loss caused to the public. Compromise doesn’t pay. On the contrary, it encourages troublemakers to indulge in even more mischief, creating further law and order situations. At the time our Constitution was framed the country’s situation was totally different, these kinds of things were not happening and appropriate laws were not framed to deal with them, making it possible for any political party to gather a few thousand people, agitate and bring main cities to a standstill, causing major financial loss and inconvenience to the public.

Political parties oppose everything another party does simply for the sake of opposition. There is no such thing as positive criticism in our system, only negativity. Any problems that the parties feel exists should be taken to the courts and dealt with according to the law, not by agitation. We recently witnessed how strikes in Karachi failed miserably simply because the Rangers took strict action. The MQM was sitting like a lame duck and lost face.

To put an end to this viscous circle, the government must act against anti state activities and elements in the manner as has been advised by the Supreme Court. It is fortunate that the Rangers and Defence Intelligence agencies have been active to control the situation. Lately a large number of terrorists have been captured or killed in encounters. They are bringing the situation under control. Without their involvement the situation would have been much worse, while our “preachers of democracy” would still have been comfortable and safe in their palaces. A country does not obtain democracy on a platter. It requires diligence, fighting for and taking stringent actions, if necessary, to enforce it.

Posted on Mar 06, 17 | 3:27 am