Talha Aziz's thoughts on Pakistan Politics; The Two Nation Theory and Democracy in Pakistan.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Democracy in Pakistan

Democracy: Some of the definition of the word 'democracy' from different sources listed at

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/democracy are

  • The doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group [WordNet]
  • The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
  • Majority rule." [American Heritage Dictionary]

The common perception of democracy that an ordinary man has, is that he votes for the people he chooses to represent him for the legislative council (parliament, senate or any other body that makes the laws for a country). These elected representative 'of the people', make the laws 'for the people'.

It isnt as simple as it sounds. Democracy in South Asian countries .. specially like the one in Pakistan is far from being 'ideal'. Consider this example: A town of 100 people are supposed to choose a representative from 4 candidates to represent their town in the Parliament. 50 people show up to vote. Assume the results are that Candidate A get 20% of the vote, Candidate B gets 15%, Candidate gets 10% and Candidate D gets 5%. According to the rule of "Majority Rules!", Candidate A has all the rights to represent this town in the Parliament. This means the representative of just 20% of the people is chosen as representing the whole town.

Now a number of situation can arise. For example, Candidate B and C form a political alliance. Now they represent 25% of the total population of the town, They hav the right to make it to the Parliament now. Even thought they still represent just 25% of the people.

The same phenomenon is repeated in the parliament. Out of Three or Four Candidates, one is to be chosen as the head of state. If some one doesnt hav the 'over-whelming' majority in the house.. political alliances are made. These result in weaker governments. Cause the alliance now formed is an alliance usually between rivals. They come together with the sole purpose of gaining some position or ministry in return.

In Pakistan, this cycle is repeated each time an election takes place. The 'usually rigged' elections that Pakistan has had in its history.. hav had around 30-35% of the total population turning up for voting. The highest ever has been 37% .. the last time people voted.. to elect the PML-Q led federal government in Pakistan. Even if PML-Q had 100% of the result (which they definitely didnt had) ,, it still means they just represented the 37% of the people. Everyone knows that the current government needed to break certain politicians from opposition to form the government e.g. Faisal Sualeh Hayat from PPP was handed the Information Ministry for his betrayal of the party that gave him ticket for the elections that got him elected. Once the government had its important bills passed, this guys was humiliated and ripped from the ministry and handed the 'Ministry for Kashmir and Issues' (which is of no importance as the real heads cater the Kashmir issues themselves.. this ministry is just in the books) and no wonder we never hear about Mr. Hayat that often now. Anyways.. criticising the current government and that political parties in Pakistan think of people as nothing but their stairway to power, is another topic altogether. I'll post on it some other time soon. For now, I would keep my focus on the topic this post is about: democracy.

Provided you hav understood the "Musical chairs" type of game for power that i hav discussed above.. i think that following are the only ways to eliminate it.

There should be just two political parties (vid some independent candidates may b). This wud eliminate the forming of coalitions which result in 'weaker governments' (as discussed above) which are trying all the tym to keep their coalition partners happy.

This two-party sort of system is what we see in democracies such as United States (the Democrats and Republicans) and in the United Kingdom (the Liberals and the Conservatives).

At its core.. the problem can never be solved unless more and more people (ideally; all of them) turn out at the polls to vote for elections.

A friend of mine has a very interesting argument. And as much as i think into it.. the more i feel convinced about it. The argument is that how can you treat the opinion (vote) of a learned man (a PhD or some scholar) equal to the opinion (vote) of an illiterate man (some one living in a distant village who doesnt knw whts going on in the country .. at the international scenario and has had nothing to learn from history or know abt history etc .. an addict .. a criminal etc)? You can never hold the opinions of the two as equal. What it means in its core is that if the majority of drug addicts (heroinchis, charcis as they are locally called) or the un-aware ppl from the villages vote in for another charci or illiterate man.. this man wud hav all the rights to contribute to the law making that each and everyone has to follow.

I would b pondering over this new thought that i hav.. n vid hav something to write abt it soon.

Although i dont agree with all that is on at the following link .. i strongly recommend that you take some time to read something interesting that the writer has to say on the following link http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/democracy.html

until the next post ..



Blogger Aliafaq said...

We must keep in mind that ours is a republic and not a democracy. A republic ensures individual's and minority rights through a written constituition. While in a democracy everything is decided by the will of the majority.

Suppose there are 100 people and 51 out of them want to take all lands owned by the rest of 49 then, in a democracy, they have every right to do so. But in a republic the constituition is and law is supreme and no majority can deny the basic rights of minority.

In a republic the majority cannot just make decisions in whatever the way it likes. It has to be according to the constituition and basic human rights and norms.

Go to the following link for further reading:


10:15 AM

Blogger imran said...


constitution is only a curtain to blind people from the truth that republics are still democracies. havent u seen constitutional ammendments through majority vote and parlimentary proceedings?
for gods sake... one cannot justify somethings as illogical is majority vote with or without a constitution. by the way the constitution was made by humans... and to err is human... so naturally no constitution can be complete or perfect unless its from th creator. unless u dont believe in the creator i dont see how u can disagree with this.

11:15 AM


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