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Islam expects every Muslim to do this duty, and if we realise our responsibility time will come soon when we shall justify ourselves worthy of a glorious past.- Muhammad Ali Jinnah

The Cure for Evils of Democracy in Pakistan

By Shah N. Khan, Moderator, Pakistan Post - Internet Discussion Group

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Many people feel that democracy has not been given a fair chance in Pakistan by the military dictators and their foreign supporters. And some people wonder why the modern democracy has not been successful in most of the Islamic countries. Enlightened Muslims feel that Muslims should consider adopting secular and democratic principles for their countries. But religious parties are clamoring for Islamic system without defining its practical applications.

The Government can have for its aim only one objective - how to serve the people, how to devise ways and means for their welfare, for their betterment.
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah

Our object should be peace within, and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial friendly relations with our immediate neighbours and with the world at large.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah

No amount of charters, direct primaries, or short ballots will make a democracy out of an illiterate people._Walter Lippmann, 18891974

The constitution of Pakistan guarantees fundamental rights and freedom of association and a large number of political parties operate in Pakistan. Most of the leading parties are regarded, more or less, as Personality Cults and leadership is inherited as is usual in monarchies. However, the elected Politicians and their Governments failed to fulfill the aspiration of the people. Due to their misrule a culture of corruption , nepotism, intolerance, extremism and lawlessness developed revealing the truth of the following words.

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. _George Bernard Shaw.

No amount of charters, direct primaries, or short ballots will make a democracy out of an illiterate people._Walter Lippmann (18891974), U.S. journalist, A Preface to Politics.

Democracy is merely a method for the transfer of power according to choice of the voters. However, in Pakistan hardly 50% Voters turnout at elections and complaints of massive rigging are always there during and after the polling. Accuracy of voters lists has often been questioned.

There are certain universal truths about evils of democracy as observed in US, India etc. They are described later in this paper. They have prompted me to conclude that a truly functional democracy specially in conditions such as ours, where ignorance is prevailing and ethnic prejudices are growing can work only when we spell out in Federal constitution the various additional provisions such as outlined below, for which elaborated details would have to be worked out.

Adult Franchise

An important question is that whether the concept of the adult franchise or universal suffrage is in accordance with the Islamic values. This needs to be settled by Ijtehad.

There are qualifications for voters in the Western democracy such as age, nationality etc.

The qualification of voters according to the Islamic values may not be materially different as the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan was adopted after taking into account Islamic values and traditions. But a review of that appears to be advisable. Although the beggars, destitute, illiterate Muslims who do not know even the basics of Islam, deserve our sympathy and help, it is doubtful if their judgment in electing a competent representative can be relied upon specially as the experience has indicated that their votes are purchasable cheaply and easily. Moreover, according to some traditions, the opinions of persons of guilty of moral turpitude are to be ignored! Only by Ijtehad we can learn if this applies to voters and/or candidates!

No amount of charters, direct primaries, or short ballots will make a democracy out of an illiterate people. Walter Lippmann (18891974), U.S. journalist. A Preface to Politics, ch. 9 (1914)

Continued click here for second part