Democracy Needs Patience

Posted on February 4, 2011
Filed Under >Salman Shah Jilani, Politics, Society
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Salman Shah Jilani

Switch on any TV channel, open up a newspaper or log on to social media and you will see our parliamentarians and their electorate especially those residing in the rural centers continuously drawing ire of the urban educated elite. At times participants in the TV talk shows having an intellectual discourse stoop low and raise eyebrows over the wisdom possessed by the electorate and flay their decision of re-electing the same person who is allegedly tainted.

Such feelings on the part of the educated elite incited me to ponder over the mystery shrouding the electorate who is willing to rally around the same bunch of politicians every time. And after introspection I came to the conclusion that the bone of contention is socio-economic imbalance prevailing in our society.

The conclusion I drew is a battle between two classes i.e. Haves and Have-nots. Both the classes will be at loggerheads till the time vast dichotomy in their status persists in our society.

All those born in well to do families, the “Haves” class, who had the privilege of going and graduating from good educational institutions, subsequently receiving offers from multinationals or a timely call from one of their family friend manages to reserve or create a slot for them. And then there exist “Have-nots” a class of people who is barely able to meet both the ends and for them sending their children to a good educational institutions is like asking them for an arm and a leg. Hence their children end up at “peela” schools and soon after graduating or dropping out of school they compete with other poorly skilled individuals and graduates of good educational institutions in a hotly contested job market where opportunities are scanty and at times only exist for those with the right “links.”

Hence for this class of people their economic benefit lies in linking up with their local power broker who is further linked to politicians or others in the corridors of power. There’s nothing outlandish, these masses make quite a rational decisions based on their needs and wants.

Short cuts don’t help any one, covets of martial law, Bangladesh model or mid term polls by the urban educated elite won’t help and might set a dangerous precedent for the future. Those disqualified on the grounds of possessing a fake degree were discredited by the urban educated elite, however their electorate seemed content with them and got them re-elected even after an onslaught by their opponents and media.

Did the electorate make an irrational decision? No they did not.

They vote for their tested people. They have experienced the elusive revolutionaries who have always usurped the throne impersonating as true representatives of the people in a quasi democracy which serves as a smokescreen to protract their rule.

During their stint as rulers, Pakistan was always plunged into darkness, majority has suffered because firstly their power brokers in these times do not enjoy the power they ought to, secondly better than modest economic growth witnessed during their regime failed to sustain and trickle down to the grass roots. And lastly the legacy left behind is what we know today as exacerbated separatist movements, terrorism, draconian laws, political assassinations and a polarized society.

However, this does not mean that Pakistan is doomed, division is in the offing and Pakistan being synonymous with predicament is chronic are mere illusions. Judicial activism, vibrant media, migration, remittances and electorate’s increased exposure to the outside world is slowly and gradually weakening the traditional power brokers.

What we need is for democracy to be given the time it lost to despotism. With democracy, Pakistan could become an upper-middle class country with high GDP growth and population enough to galvanize a change where the majority prefers policy over patronage. However, more hiccups in the ongoing democratic process would act as a last straw that could break camels back.

Salman Shah Jilani is a management sciences undergraduate and blogs at

16 responses to “Democracy Needs Patience”

  1. AHsn says:

    Dear Adnan,

    It is the opinion of Pakistani Intellectuals, Writers and Journalists Mr. Jinnah was a Secular reader.
    My personal is:
    “The secular intellectuals forward many political and legal arguments in favour of the lack of the courage of their Hero. The simple fact is that he did not declare Pakistan as a Secular State because he had some other vision. His hesitation is a sign of his doubtful sincerity in secularism.
    The Secular Scholars cite very often the 11th. August, 1947 speech of Mr. Jinnah where he guarantees the complete religious freedom to the citizens of the state and declares that State has nothing to do with the religion. The problem is that it is only half definition of a Secular State. The other half is that �the religion has nothing to do in the state affair (the system of the government.)�. He always ignored this other half of the secularism. It is a clear indication that Mr. Jinnah wanted the religion in the state (Government) to govern the people in the name of Allah without the interference of the religious authority. He simply did not want �theocracy�. Perhaps he did not know it but he was following the advice of the other proclaimed secular philosopher Allama Iqbal “.

    جدا ہو دین سیاست سے
    تو رہ جاتی ہے چنگیزی .htm

    I also wrote:

    “The Father of the nation of Pakistan Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah used argumentative logic (rational) in his professional life and in politics. But in his personal life he had a deep root of his religion (irrational). He got married to his Parsi wife only when she converted to Islam. He wanted her daughter to marry a Muslim husband and not a Parsi boy. It is certainly a conservative religious attitude and irrational.” .htm

    You can always send me your comments to:

    Good luck.

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