Comment Why the Political Process is our Only Hope?


  • Syed Jaffar Ahmed


Is it not paradoxical that one finds oneself faced with the challenge to construct a case for politics and democracy in a country that attained independence seven decades ago through political and legal means. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s history has regularly oscillated like a pendulum between military and civilian rules. Recurrence of military rules and their longevity—the four such regimes consumed almost 32 years of the country’s history—have, to many, made it an ever-present option, to revert to. At least, it is regarded as a preferable option by those who find military rules more conducive for their economic and financial gains. The presence of this option, no matter how real or unreal it is, does cast a shadow of threat on the democratic dispensation at a given time. Presently, the cynics among the intelligentsia and a wide segment of electronic media speak as loudly and, at times, also as admirably about it, as possible. Now, after the end of the fourth military rule in 2008, and while under the second civilian dispensation since then, one is made to be confused with the question why expectations should still be pinned upon democratic institutions and the political class when they have largely floundered the space given to them, and have failed to deliver for which they were brought to the fore. Unfortunately, what charges are leveled against the politicians and political institutions may not be rejected outright, however, what the critics miss out are the facts that the country is at best an evolving democracy, and also that no democratic set-up is ever free of faults and flaws. Moreover, a couple of other questions need to be answered in understanding why democracy and a continuous political process built around it, are so essential for a country like Pakistan.