The public pronouncements made thus far by the Chief Justice Iftikhar have emphasised two themes viz. Supremacy of the Constitution and, the Rule of Law. He has left his own restoration and that of the superior judiciary to his minions, Aitzaz and Nawaz to pursue. Together his two themes represent the foundation and the essence of any Democratic system.
What we have witnessed since the 18th February are the diktats of some individuals having no electoral credentials and not even the protective cover of an Oath under the Constitution. The media pundits and the so-called civil society are entranced in a deafening silence over this version of Democracy, either through some ulterior motives or sheer ignorance. Perhaps both.
Major national issues are being tackled by some individualâ€™s declaration or decided upon away from the country in the dark, secretive back-rooms of Dubai and London. The most recent example is the declaration by a minister that KalaBagh Dam is buried forever. Such pronouncements have been the hallmark of Dictators, not behoving the elected Parliamentary Governments.
The 3Dâ€™s of Democracy are Deliberation, Disagreement and Debate. All of the three are unfortunately missing in the manner of governance these days witnessed here.
Indeed, Democracy is an expensive and possibly the slowest system of government. Nevertheless due to its deliberate and collective wisdom, sharing of ideas and the spirit of give and take, at the end of the day it always comes ahead. A Democracy runs based on mastering the art of flexibility and compromise and not the dogmatic behaviour of only one â€˜Right.â€™ A working democratic polity allows a million flowers bloom.
Back to the issue of KalaBagh Dam. A proper democratic discourse in the Parliament would have brought out all its pros and cons â€“ Political, Parochial, Social, Environmental, Economic, Agricultural, Energy-related and above all its Scientific and Technical feasibility. Unfortunately for Pakistan, the democratic government through the pronouncement of one minister showed its total ignorance and understanding of such a complex issue. A parliamentary debate might have led to the same decision. But, having expressed their positions, no one would feel cheated and all would be on board.
If dictatorial rulers are bad, how could this tyranny of democracy be any better?
In my earlier ATP Posts â€“ Pakistan Elections 2008: Awam Express has arrived and, Who will stop this mayhem in Pakistan, plus several comments on other relevant guest-posts, I have pointed out, perhaps in not forceful enough terms, that the comfortable Civil Society and the Media should wake-up to deliver on their social responsibilities. They have a role to play towards educating and helping the â€œAWAMâ€ understand the major issues of the day, so that in the next elections they do the right thing once again. They have the numbers which the civil society does not possess and Democracy is the game of numbers.
Let us not forget that it is these â€œAWAMâ€ who have brought about this monumental change in the political landscape of Pakistan. They can also resort to other, unpalatable means if their wishes are not fulfilled. The media revolution has resulted in giving them a level of understanding of issues we donot give them credit of. So donâ€™t push them over the precipice. Their patience cannot be limitless. Not doing so would be to the peril of the civil society and the media. Therefore, the blame for what may follow as the consequence of this neglect is also to be exclusively theirs.