A civilized society implies that every citizen upholds norms, values, and traditions that define a community. Similarly, the democratic foundations of a country are strengthened where everyone, including rulers, respects the constitution and lives up to the democratic ideals. Besides, everyone passes through an across-the-board accountability framework against one’s deeds in a society where rules hold supreme importance.

Britain is probably the only exception which does not have a written constitution, yet the country has strong institutions owing to the respect for constitutional norms, historical statutes, and democratic ideals. The UK’s incumbent prime minister (PM), Boris Johnson, has recently announced to step down after a sizable majority of his cabinet resigned, apparently a sign of their distrust in his leadership to steer the country through mounting challenges. Despite narrowly surviving the No-Confidence Vote against him recently, the British PM still announced resigning when he lost a moral authority to govern amid loud calls asking him to quit. Besides, the PM faced investigative inquiry a few months back when he was found partying at his official residence, defying the COVID-19 safety protocols.

The rulers’ disregard for democratic principles is mainly responsible for weakening democratic values in the country, leading the country to occupy the lowest slots in the annual Democracy Index for many years. The former PM Imran Khan adopted every extra-constitutional step to avoid voting on the constitutionally mandated No Confidence motion and cling to power. Similarly, influential people take every unfair route to escape the accountability watchdogs. Last but not least, in a country where mega corruption scandals against the heavyweights fail to bring them to justice, the break of the pandemic safety measures holds no significance.

The powerful political actor’s disregard for the constitution allows non-political and non-elected powerful forces to intervene in every domain of the country’s affairs. The constitution has to be upheld, and democratic norms are to be respected if this country has to move forward and aspires to stand tall in the comity of nations.

ASAD AZIZ,

Khushab.