A wave of an ocean may not have as many ups and downs when compared to the fluctuations that occur in the politics of Pakistan. Throughout its chequered history, Pakistan has oscillated between dictatorship and some form of democracy. Today despite passing of so many years, the debate still rages on as to what is a better template for governing Pakistan.
Democracy allows a common man to decide for himself, “who he wants to be ruled by?”, whereas, dictatorship halts this decision power. While theoretically democracy draws its strength from the people and tries to capture their aspirations in the way governance is conducted, but the actually reality is often different.
In reality, at least in Pakistan, both democratic as well as authoritarian regimes have governed poorly and instead of accepting responsibilities have tried to blame the other party. All the regimes, irrespective of their nature have governed poorly and have tried to pass the blame to previous regimes. Apart from those both civilian and military leaders have put the blame on each other and have complained about “less time”. It’s surely a story which our next generation would be giving no stars to it. Poor governance of different governments, irrespective of their kind — democracy or dictatorship — has not led Pakistan to win many raves around the world.
Eventually it is not only the “form” but what a government actually does which is more important. Civilian governments by constantly failing to deliver and by merely blaming conspiracies of the establishment merely undermine the case for democracy. Yes, democracy is the way forward but then democratic governments have to do a better job in governance. Eventually people will develop trust in democracy provided democrats show responsibility and govern better. In Pakistan, most of the defenders of democracy simply try to absolve the mistakes of the democratic governments by citing “establishment’s conspiracies” and not enough time. While these may be critical hampering factors, democrats themselves also need to show greater responsibility to allow democracy a better chance to flourish.
Pakistan seems to be on the verge of having enough dose of this “pass the buck” trend. Governments fall short on deliverance and start blaming all other except themselves. When democratic governments do that repeatedly they inadvertently end up making the case for dictatorship. And dictatorship is something which we cannot afford .
It is important for the governments, federal and provincial, to have a serious introspection into their performance and after critical evaluation, direct their efforts towards real issues confronting the population. Their efforts in this regard, if even partially successful, will strengthen democracy.