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Why democracy has failed in Pakistan?.........

(36 posts)
  1. In Pakistan, democracy has been tried several times, and each time it has failed, there is no doubt about that. It has failed to provide people with necessities of life, provide security and uproot poverty and corruption. There have been several reasons given to us repeatedly for its failure such as weak judiciary, lack of education, strong military influence in the country etc. However, we must realize that these are not the reasons for the failure of the system; rather these are problems emanating from this failed system.

    I believe that democracy has failed because it is bound to fail. There are a number of arguments for this claim. Firstly, democracy is the political system of capitalism, which originated when a peace was made between thinkers and clergy, a compromise based on separation of church and state i.e. the church will be allowed to preach and practice and the state will not interfere in its matters, likewise the church will not interfere in the matters of state. In the face of black and white, compromise is the grey part. Then how can a system based on compromise be rational?

    Secondly, in democracy, groups of human beings are given the authority to legislate laws for the whole nation. Now, a human being is limited in its thinking, he does not even know what his needs will be tomorrow, what to speak of the needs of the whole nation.

    Furthermore, democracy is not a representative system at all. Politicians participating in this system need to be wealthy in order to campaign and win. It is anyone's guess as to how much the MNA or MPA party ticket for the next election will cost standing on the platform of the main parties such as PPP, PML-N, MQM and ANP. Once they win, they will then want their money back with a profit that is what any businessperson will do. So the politicians in this system will always put their personal interest before the interest of the people and with the power of legislation in their hands, they can always bend the laws for that.

    This is the reason why to this day the big feudal landowners, who happen to make up a big portion of those sitting in our assemblies don't pay any tax on their agricultural income; it's because they haven't passed any law requiring themselves to do so but they did pass a law recently requiring the new VAT tax to be imposed across the board to satisfy IMF demands.

    Another flowery notion of democracy is the freedoms it promises. Again, who exactly decides the extent of freedom and why? Who sets the boundaries?

    It does not take much to see that democracy has failed the people. What is more difficult is the search of an alternative system. Certainly, military rule is not an option; we are still living under the effects of dictator Musharraf's rule. An alternative system has to ensure that the rulers cannot just tear up the rulebook and change the rules of the game as they play. Islam has given us such a system, the Khilafah, where The Creator has already decreed the laws, and the ruler's job is just to implement them on people. These laws are flawless and able to satisfy humanity's needs because they are decreed by the Creator, Who has not only created man but also his needs. If any ruler tries to flout an Islamic Shariah rule he would be seen as a transgressor; on the other hand all a democrat has to do is pass a bill with a majority and he can make anything legitimate.

    As Thomas Jefferson, the third American President said, "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

    Posted 4 years ago on 01 Jul 2011 11:32 #
  2. Rizwan Qaimkhani

    It is anyone's guess as to how much the MNA or MPA party ticket for the next election will cost standing on the platform of the main parties such as PPP, PML-N, MQM and ANP.

    It is a complete lie that MQM sells its electoral seats; that is one of the dividing difference between MQM and the rest.

    Posted 4 years ago on 01 Jul 2011 11:56 #
  3. Just_one

    The article does not make any sense.

    It begins with the failure to understand the true reasons behind the failure of democracy in Pakistan.

    The failures lies in the fact that democracy, at a structural level, does not mean election only. It means free and fair election. To ensure the latter, three things must be in place:

    1) Independent Election body (i.e. election commission) overseeing the electoral process and ensuring that there is no rigging of any kind.

    2) Independent judiciary persecuting criminals and ensuring that criminal do not take part in elections (the latter will be done by EC on the basis of judicial verdicts).

    3) Independent accountability bureau (il.e., NAB). This ensures that the corrupts at any level of state are not able to participate in election or ensure victory in election through corruption money.

    The above three things are indispensable for any democratic system. And they are also inter-related.

    Pakistan had till now none of these checks and balances in place. WE have had an independent judiciary only recently, which is still in its inception as an independent body.

    This is why democracy failed in Pakistan. The above the key to implementing working democracy.

    However, another important thing in a democratic system, apart from the structural issues, is the equality of all human beings - this is the spirit of democracy. As you give voting rights to all, so you recognize their equality before law. I don't know if a religious state can ensure that.

    Democracy, in its actual form, is the only functioning system in the whole world. It has been implemented in countless countries situated in different continents and provided successful models. There is no reason it can't be implemented here.

    The alternative the author proposes, which is a religious based autocracy, finds no successful implementation in any part of the world.

    Another argument proposed by the author is that, since human beings are limited in intellect, they can't give solutions to their problems as opposed to a system which is hypothetically perfect because it has supposed to have come from God.

    First of all, a look at history and different countries refutes this premise that man cannot solve his problems. Human beings have solved countless problems and we have successful societies continuously moving towards progress and prosperity, under one facet of democracy or another. Furthermore, human beings have transformed societies, wiped out diseases, explored the planets, invented things which were unthinkable a few decades ago, only on the basis of their "intellect". So solving social problems must not be too difficult.

    But apart form the above, the author forgets that the supposedly perfect divine knowledge must also be interpreted by limited and erring human beings!

    And when they would do that, countless differences would arise as we see all around us. Politically one set of believers would put fatwas on the other set and declare them kafir or try to force their opinion on others.

    Thus we see that democracy is the only system that is workable in a country. And since democracy is related to the concept of equality of all, separation of religion and state is needed so that one set of believers don't enjoy superiority over another set.

    Posted 4 years ago on 01 Jul 2011 12:42 #
  4. Irshad

    Indeed nice article and there is need to Keep establishment and bureaucracy away from political matters and bring pure and fair judicial system then stare at the better results will bring democracy in our country.

    It is no doubt that our judicial system still not reliable and most of them are close friends, relatives to currupt politicians and bureaucrats and they dance at the tune of their lords.

    I am in agreement with Ch. Iftakhar words that there is corruption in judicial system that need to be cleaned first to put hands in other lawbreaker elements in our society.

    Posted 4 years ago on 01 Jul 2011 13:35 #
  5. It was not democracy which failed many times.
    It was something else 'labeled' democracy.

    Posted 4 years ago on 01 Jul 2011 14:36 #
  6. Hussain Farooqui

    We have no foundations on which democracy can be established:

    1) The majority of our people are living under the tyranny of feudal lords. They are forced to vote their oppressing feudal lords.

    2) Literacy rate is hardly 25 percent, out of which the educated class hardly forms 5-7 % of the population. The masses can be easily misguided by corrupt politicians because of their lack of awareness.

    3) There is no rule of law, so even in urban areas the ones who have guts for gangsterism; they take maximum nos. of votes.

    4) Rigging on governmental level is also a common practice. Results are mostly engineered.

    Democracy can not be established unless the foundations for democracy are established first.

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 5:47 #
  7. fear

    Democracy can not be established unless the foundations for democracy are established first.

    HF.... Is there any state fulfilling above criteria...

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 5:54 #
  8. Hussain Farooqui


    Yes, Gentleman, wherever there is a true democracy you will find there these foundations strongly established.

    Well, there are many countries where these foundation do not exist and the people are suffering from the so called democracies like us.

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 6:16 #
  9. 2011pakistan


    1) Illiteracy,
    2) Poverty,
    3) Military intervention/Marshal Laws,
    4) Influence of religious sects/groups/parties,
    5) Week Judicery,
    6) Week Accountability,
    7) Week Media,
    8) strategic alliance with USA/West,
    9) Close ties with Arab Kingdoms,
    10) Excessive expenditures on Defence,
    11) Security establishment love for hatred with nabourers,
    12) School syllabus based on imiganry past events,
    13) Religous fundamentalism,
    14) Role of Mulla Military Ittehad.

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 6:40 #
  10. fear

    Hf... Do you think western countries have true democracy...
    and what do you mean by true democracy... Can you give me example of a country with true democracy.

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 6:52 #
  11. 2011pakistan

    true democarcies;

    USA, UK, Germany, France, Norway, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Sweeden, Denmark, Iran, and a number of other countries working for the best interests of their public.

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 7:01 #
  12. Hussain Farooqui


    The countries mentioned by 2011pakistan are democratic countries, although there are sometimes deviations from the principles of democracy in the said countries also. They have the concrete foundations which are required for democracy.

    The deviations from the principles of democracy in these countries are not as wide as wide as the countries like ours.

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 9:18 #
  13. runaway

    We never had democracy. Just because we had elections doesn't mean it is democracy. One of the conditions of democracy is that the elected representative is from the people who is electing him/her and is like them.

    Most of the people in our parliament have no connection with the people they represent.

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 12:21 #
  14. fear


    USA, UK, Germany, France, Norway, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Sweeden, Denmark, Iran

    You placed iran, with countries which are less (perceived) in corruption. If you look at statistics, Pakistan is given 2.3 points while iran is given 2.2 points. It means Pakistan .1 better in democracy than iran.
    -----The organization defines corruption as "the abuse of entrusted power for private gain"--------
    Do you favor separation of church from state. Democracy in Pakistan failed because of religious factors. Majority of pure Democratic state are secular. They have scarified their religion thinking it.... Do you have courage to scarify your religion.

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 12:52 #
  15. Now let us keep this discussion within the confines of 'a westernized democracy' (I am afraid democracy is a westernized concept of power to reign in the last follwers in line who believe in all the holy books revealed) we are discussing right now.

    This has been imposed upon us forcefully, fortified with embargos, bycotts and vetos. Now let us bear with a particular preplanned attack comming from neocons focused on developing nations that has failed miserably!

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 13:33 #
  16. Not Possible

    Democracy means by fair election, our political parties are not based on fair elction they are herditary parties, there is no fair ecletion in tose parties, it is just the parties of nawabs and jagidars

    that is no democracy but artistocracy

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 14:43 #
  17. Democracy is essentially a head count. A single count more and it sways to the other side regardless of ethics and morals...
    We are human not bovines where a head count is more important than individual intellect to whats right and wrong and then go for it but never for a Pakistani election since three decades.

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 15:07 #
  18. aftab

    Democracy can work if a lot of other organisations are independent and relatively corruption free, and of course competent.

    Posted 4 years ago on 02 Jul 2011 15:20 #
  19. Just_one

    We absolutely need western, or westernized, democracy. Any other is perversity of democracy. The Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, etc, have adapted models very similar to western ones.

    Iran is not a democracy. It is a mullahcracy.

    Democracy, as I mentioned, bases itself on the principle of human equality.

    Thus every person - no matter how rich, how poor, how "intelligent" (relative), how downtrodden, man or woman, belonging to any creed, caste or color - has only one and one vote. That follows naturally, as all are equal.

    If someone believes that, say, a doctor is superior to a shopkeeper because the the former supposedly has more "intellect", then this thinking belongs to the dustbin of history as it discriminates between human beings.

    A shopkeeper is as essential for a society as a doctor. Every job is sacred.

    A person hoping to become a public representative needs to work his butt off to convince a shopkeeper as he has to do so to convince a doctor.

    That's the beauty of democracy. The human equality.

    Posted 4 years ago on 03 Jul 2011 21:51 #
  20. quaidkamazaar

    true democracy in Pakistan will require only one step

    1) greater voter turnout with voters giving a lot of thought before choosing their leaders... voters who can think beyond a plate of biryani. choose leaders like we choose our pants, pants and shoes that fit us perfectly. people need to put more belief in the electoral process even though it can be corrupt itself. because it is only way of bringin peaceful change.

    this will result in breakdown of feudal/ elite mill owner class politics, time to elect those who are from amongs us who understand problems who have gone to government hospitals and have been in shabby buses.

    democracy means election of "servants" who put nations interests before their own interests. protection of public before their own protection. the whole definition of democracy is blasted into pieces Pakistan.

    i dont blame people for calling democracy worthless because what they saw is Pakistani style democracy, not real democracy.

    Posted 4 years ago on 04 Jul 2011 2:40 #
  21. Hussain Farooqui

    The first step towards the establishment of a true democracy must be abolition of feudal system. Feudal system is the real menace of our society.

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 8:36 #
  22. he he he
    democracy kabhi aye hoo iss mulk mein tou fail hogi na.

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 10:02 #
  23. geelemitti

    fundamental requirement of democracy is informed citizenary. Because it is termed as a system by the people, it has to be the people who are capable to implement this is society which is not the case in Pakistan.

    Islamic history plainly suggests that democracy is not even the only political solution for muslims. Islamic society has been based upon the independence of Judiciary and empowerment of Judiciary. It is irrelevent what political system islamic state has as long as above is true.

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 10:17 #
  24. Faarigh Jazbati

    Democracy can only flourish and progress in a absolute secular soceity where religion is ridiculed and limited to few personal matters.

    If muslim soceities wants to have a democratic future and system then I am afraid they have to leave islam and say good bye to Allah swt and His messanger's saw sayings.

    Please note that there is a clear difference between elections and democracy. Election is a process to elect representatives and Democracy is a system to make laws, change laws, amend laws, abbrogate laws. In Islam only Allah swt has this right and not the human beings.

    Tu janab Farq saaf zaahir hai keh pakistan main Demoncracy kyun kaamyaab nahin hai ya nahin ho sakti.


    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 11:35 #
  25. Pls forgive me for jumping in. I would support this term 'Demoncracy' by all means. This is exactly what is being forcefully implemented upon the Muslim world through well placed (planted)stooges of the west.

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 12:14 #
  26. gv


    "Democracy is a system to make laws, change laws, amend laws, abbrogate laws. In Islam only Allah swt has this right and not the human beings."

    Please enlighten me how exactly does Allah change, amend and abrogate laws for us in real time?

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 12:21 #
  27. Holy Quran and Ahadees-e-Mubaraka as a reference for those who believe and are followers of the holy books, Holy Quran being one and the final and they are considered as devine. Torah-Zaboor, Injeel, and final Quran!

    Followers of man made religions like hinduism, jainism or atheists who abhore religion as a way of existence by the followers may choose according to their following/thinking without throwing stones at judism, Christanity and Islam.

    Any set rules devoid of religious guidance are rightfully termed by FJ as 'Demoncrasy'...Man I love this term.

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 13:08 #
  28. Faarigh Jazbati

    dear gv

    اگر تو آپ محض چسکہ اور دل لگی کیلئے سوال پوچھ رہے ہیں تو اور بات ہے

    ورنہ اگر آپ قرآن پاک کا مکمل مطالعہ کریں تو آپ کو اپنے سوال کا جواب مل جائے گا

    ف ج

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 13:53 #
  29. gv

    Dear FJ

    We may have had this discussion before but i think the point i am tryign to make is that in an Islamic state laws are made based on human interpretation of the Quran and the Hadith. They should also be changed, amended, abrogated according to the Quran and Hadith. With this concept I have no issue.

    (Personally i think you can have a democratic state where laws are made, changed, ammended etc based on the Quran and Hadith.)

    I take issue with many people who insist that all laws in an islamic state are made directly by God. This is a misrepresentation of reality. Laws even in an Islamic state have always been formulated by mortal men who has based these laws on their study and interpretation of the Quran and Hadith. I hope you see the implication of this.

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 14:04 #
  30. Faarigh Jazbati

    Dear gv

    I donot subscribe to conventional view point of pakistani Ulema which is contary to classical process of ijtihad in islam.

    I donot want this thread to end up in the oblivion of F&R so bear with me.

    Allah swt has given us the direct laws and in certain cases the principles.

    For food, worship, some economic transations etc there are direct and clear cut injunctions. Then there are areas where principles are laid down and for a good reason as soceity has to evolve. This is the reason majority of the islamic laws are NOT cannonised or codified. Thats why there is a principle of adoption or tabanni in islam (which most of the current ulema has forgotton and the reason of most of our religious bickering).

    If you keep these things in mind then you will understand easily that for any situation where DIRECT injunction is not there for that particular reality or situation, based upon those general principles provided, an ijtihad can be done by using a analygy and in case of more than one ijtihad/opinion, the principle of tabanni come into practice and problem solved.

    There is no such thing in islam as changing the law but a different adoption (tabanni) can be done by the assigned authority and it may appear that this is different to previous law but as the new adoption is also from within islam but a different opinion on the same subject matter based upon the different understanding of the reality/situation by the scholar, so it also considered the hukm of allah swt.

    I hope this clarifies.

    but in democratic principle of making/changing/amending laws, there are no fixed boundaries and it is based upon the majoriy wish and not on the TRUTH. The human wish and intellect which is full of contradiction and flaws is the sole arbiter in democratic system.

    Again I am making this point that elections are different from DEMONCRAZY.



    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 14:30 #
  31. gv


    thank you for the post it was very illuminating.

    i will not respond here otherwise this thread will definitely end up in f&r but thanks for taking the time to explain.

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 14:40 #
  32. Just_one


    I think you are incorrect about the requirement in democracy with regards to religion.

    I think democracy ideally does not demand the rejection or ridicule of religion. It simply demands that there should not be any official state religion. (Even though, on paper, England is still a Christian country, it has a strong established democracy.)

    This follows simply from the fact that if you have one religion as a state religion, the other religions, i.e., the minorities, will turn into second class citizens.

    Secondly, as gv pointed out, religious laws are based on human interpretation (of the religious texts), which could possibly be flawed.

    Restricting legislature to religious laws is then putting yourself in a vicious descending spiral of clerical dictatorship.

    This is not healthy for any society (or even the religion itself) as it leads to curtailment of human thought.

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 20:03 #
  33. zenith

    Democracy has two broad types. Parliamentary and Presidential. For a country like Pakistan presidential democracy would be more suitable.

    But the bottom line is that accountability should be the pivot in any system if it is to be functional.

    And a system that promises more accountability is presidential democracy like the US.

    In our case we must make sure that we adopt a presidential system like the US, but make sure no legislation takes place contradictory to Quran and sunnah.

    If some participants are not comfortable with the term democracy, we can always change it to some other name.

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 20:03 #
  34. Irshad

    PAKISTAN Required a very New Constitution with all necessary need of 21st Century, and also a new election system which should be very fair and direct from NATION.
    and all the present corrupt politician, must DISQUALIFY.

    aik school aik sylabuss jub tak nahi hoga, tab atk aik qoom nahi ban sakty.

    at the moment we are atomic power but we have no power at home....
    we are agriculture country but no agiculture in the country...
    we got gas but we dont have gas at home

    Posted 4 years ago on 05 Jul 2011 21:39 #
  35. saladin89

    The reason why democracy failed is because the ruling elite have never wanted a fair and free election. Because they all are power hungry people. Whether it is muslim noon, PPP or MQM. The 2 main parties are the main culprits for this.

    One rules Punjab, the other rules Sindh.

    Have u forgotten the 36.5 million vote scandal?

    Posted 4 years ago on 06 Jul 2011 2:41 #
  36. Hussain Farooqui

    Rigging does occur in every election. In the rural areas, the voters are simply forced to vote their feudal lord or his nominee. Those who try to stand against their feudal lord are severely punished.

    Posted 4 years ago on 06 Jul 2011 10:51 #

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