Tyranny of Democracy

Posted on May 29, 2008
Filed Under >Deeda-e-Beena, Politics, Society
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Pakistan election 2008The 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 individual’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 3D’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 ‘Right.’ 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 – 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 – 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 “AWAM” 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 “AWAM” 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 don’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.

14 responses to “Tyranny of Democracy”

  1. Shiraz says:

    Following article by Cowasjee is worth reading..

    Black is white, white is black?

    By Ardeshir Cowasjee

    FRIDAY, March 21, the Spring Equinox of Anno Domini 2008, was a truly secular day.

    The Zoroastrians, followers of Zoroaster, the first monotheistic prophet known to man, and the Iranians celebrated Nauroz, the advent of spring (bahaar aamed, bahaar aamed) and started a fortnight

  2. Rafay Kashmiri says:

    It is exaggerated a bit, no? every single Paradise is
    attached with an 88 years old “Bai ji ” called
    Madame ” Dam-o-muksi ” (dying old courtisant) trying to
    attache another piece of golden decorations in her arthy.

    FOOL THE DAM, thats it, this is democracy!!
    justice in democracy, ? usually the Marxist/leninist always
    over-decorate everything.
    Mostly, they get ” over-decorated “.

  3. JAVED says:

    Maybe we are asking too much from democracy. Decisions made democraticlly will never please everyone. They will please most people. We have to learn to live with those democratic decisions that we ourselves may not like.

  4. Anwar says:

    CJ’s machismo approach contributed significantly to the mess. He needs to step down from the pedestal as well along with Mush and co. I am also baffled by the current state of affair and that is how come all the non-elected people are calling the shots and formulating policies?
    Democracy aside, people first must learn to be civil otherwise it is rule of the mob (classical definition)

  5. Eidee Man says:

    I find this post somewhat ridiculous. If this is a dictatorship, when was the coup, where are the arms, how is the press being suppressed, when was the emergency opposed, when were the judges arrested like common criminals and shoved into confinement? the list goes on….

    Zardari’s certainly not an angel, and he is obviously looking out for his own future interests, so it must be quite disappointing for those who expected immediate miracles.

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