Naeem ul Hassan
Democracy is the beauty of any progressive nation. People can elect the person of their choice. The people can choose the best man who can raise their voice in the assemblies and get the problems solved by the government. The democracy is the life and blood for the poor who are unable to raise their voice. As Abraham Lincoln said very well that “Democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people’ But if we talk about the democracy in Pakistan, we find no democracy in true essence at all. Democracy was the dream of the founding Father of Pakistan Quaid Azam Muhamad Ali Jinnah. As per the report of the University of the Wurzburg annual global rankings for the quality of democracy Pakistan ranked 123rd among the total number of 176 whereas our neighboring country;
India stands at 85th and Nepal stands at 73rd, Sri Lanka 93rd and Nigeria stands 100th. The rankings were issued in 2020. The report suggests the dismal picture of democracy in Pakistan. There are multiple issues which are being the hindrance in the way of democracy in Pakistan. Being the democratic country, its electoral system has many flaws to uphold the democracy. The social factors: Poverty, illiteracy, hereditary, feudalism, politics as well as the cultural trends are the prime barriers to intact the democracy in Pakistan. Firstly, Poverty is the menace which sucks the blood of democratic bird mercilessly. The majority of population live in Rural areas is poor and dependent on the agriculture. The lands almost belong to the feudal. And the feudal consider their votes as their own property. The land reforms could be taken effectively so still the few people own the chunk of the lands in rural areas of Pakistan.
So, it is very difficult for the dependent person to decide the leaders of his choice. The pressure by the feudal come in many ways like financial pressure and the fear of land grabbing etc. Poverty is the biggest challenge to the democracy. According to the data of Asian Development Pakistan faces 34 percent poverty. Rural areas face poverty incredibly. So, poverty is threat for the true spirit of democracy. Secondly, illiteracy is undeniable threat to the democracy in Pakistan. As per the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLSM) district level survey 2019-20, Pakistan is stranded at 60% literacy rate. There are many districts in Pakistan which are facing acute literacy issues. According to the Pakistan Buru of Statistics, Rajanpur, the district of Punjab scores 34 in terms of literacy, Thatta district located in Sindh scores 36, Dera Bugti and Barkhan, Balochistan stand at 6% literacy only. The illiterate voters cannot choose their fate rationally. The voters will not choose smartly their leader because they possess no excessive knowledge about their rights. The people play smartly with emotions where literacy rate is very low. Hence, the true image of democracy cannot be scathed on the canvas of democracy.
Thirdly, hereditary politics has been practicing in Pakistan since its inception. However, people those whose elders were rich, possess lands they inherited political power from their older. So, in Pakistan these people are the barriers to entry for the new people. According to the Book, Pakistan A Hard Country written by Anatol Lieven writes that in Pakistan hereditary politics is being practiced for the long time. And few castes and tribes control the democratic skeleton of the country. There are countries which possess high spirits of democracy. Pakistan should closely follow the models of the great democratic countries like, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Ireland, Switzer land, Finland, Australia etc. These are the great example of the democracy in the world. The policy as well as the law maker must go through the models of these countries and compare to those models in Pakistan.
The policies and laws must be drafted after taking ground realities into consideration.Here are some of the way forwards regarding the functioning of the true democracy in Pakistan. Give the right to vote only those who possess at least education till matriculation. Because educated person can choose his representative wisely. Democracy and literacy go ahead in hand to hand. Education provides the light to the person who can select a competent person even in the age darkness.So, the right to the vote must be given to the educated ones.The government of Pakistan give incentives to the people to live life. When people will be independent. When they will be free from the chains of modern slavery then they can decide their representative with out any fear of any feudal lord. So, if people will not independent, they will be unable to exercise them. Aware the people through Electronic Media, Radios, social media about the true essence of democracy. People still are unaware of the democracy. The don’t know what it means. If they do not know about the democracy people will make mistakes while exercising their rights.
Hence, Politics is the only mean to claim the rights. Specially the democracy is like the light at the end of tunnel. It provides the plethora of platforms where you can make accountable the representative, you can participate in the choice of your representative. It provides opportunities of freedom of speech, freedom of expression etc. It is worth having if it is being practiced in a proper way. Pakistan must consider the models of strong democracies, pay attention on the education of its people, manage poverty, and look after the electoral system for the best interest of its people.