Democracy is in the blood of Musalmans, who look upon complete equality of manhood [mankind]… [And] believe in fraternity, equality and liberty. M.A.Jinnah –London, 14 Dec 1946
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 brick and mortar of 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 mouth watering 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.
So did the electorate make a whimsical decision this time around? 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 Bangladesh, exacerbated freedom movements, terrorism, draconian laws, political assassinations and a polarized society.
Though, don’t lose your cool, formidable fear in ones mind 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 tradiontional power brokers.
Cameos of democracy will always damp squib. Only if democracy is given the time it lost to despotism. Pakistan would be an upper-middle class country with historical GDP growth and population enough to galvanize a change where the majority prefers policy over patronage. However one more impediment in the ongoing democratic process would act as a last straw that would break camels back.
Unity in the face of daunting challenges will serve as a caveat to the conspiracy hatchers and would help keep them at bay. Patience and faith in democracy is the answer; a slight change in the baby data base up in the sky would have landed you and me in the majority.
Agreed! Patience is required, but the fault also lies with many politicians and proponents who have painted "democracy" as a form of miracle cure which is not. Perhaps there is a need to manage expectations. Which in turn comes down to holding political figures to account, where journalists have to play a more sensible role, atleast in terms of the questions they ask.
Everyday, one politician, bureaucrat or the other makes some implausible or nonsensical statement, on which much hype is placed on the rhetoric, and NOT the actual substance. For example the MQM and its 9 demands are all well in theory, but did someone stop to ask where the figures they are throwing around are coming from? Same with the PML-N.
So yes, instituting a system and expecting different results is surely foolhardy and shortsighted, when the people who populate that system, make hopelessly impossible claims, which just sets them up for ridicule when they fail miserably.
The fundamental requirement for any state is the 'Rule of Law'. Talking of democracy sans rule of law is converting the stae into ‘mob-cracy; like theocracy, ruled by mullah’s ‘deen-e-fassad’ as actually has happened in Pakistan.