Democracy has evolved over a period of centuries as a system of governance, where rulers are accountable for all their decisions, acts and deeds done while in power. There is no need to reinvent the wheel as they, the system exists and only way it can function is if those elected adhere to its norms, strictly follow constitution whose interpretation is solely at discretion of Supreme Court and not those who are elected to legislate, nor those who amongst them are selected by parliament to serve as President, PM or CM. It is the failure of our paid servants and our political elite to adapt to democracy, rather than tailoring it to suit their feudal mindset which is the problem.
Democracy is a system where there is a government of laws, not of men and fundamental article of political creed is that unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is alien to it. It is experimentation with democracy and trying to adapt it to sick feudal mindset, where men or individuals matter more than laws, that democracy has failed to gain roots. Democracy cannot be tailor made to suit whims of rulers, but the mechanics of the system can be varied to suit the electorate, without making changes in system of checks and balances, or judicial review, built in to prevent abuse of powers. Every elected civil government over past two decades is responsible for compromising democracy by failing to deliver to people and address basic issues such as poverty, health, education and an infrastructure for local industry to develop and generate employment. Unfortunately civil and khaki bureaucratic system that Pakistan inherited was trained to serve their colonial masters and not people of this country. Even after more than six decades this British trained bureaucracy considers that this country and its 180 million people are there to serve them. What we have witnessed in past four years is an outright abuse of power, democratic norms and traditions. John Adams the 2nd President of USA stated that “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right and a desire to know — divine right to that dreaded and most envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers”.
MALIK TARIQ ALI,
Lahore, June 25.