Do we really have democracy?... By Fazal
05 January, 2013
There is a serious question boggling the minds of the people of Pakistan even after six and a half decades of the country's existence: is there democracy in Pakistan? To clearly understand what democracy is all about one would have to know its definition. Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as a "government of the people, by the people, for the people". If we were to go by this definition, then, to some extent, yes we did have democracy in the country for a period of over three decades.
Those who came to power through the ballot always claimed that they were elected to power by the people of this country. Naturally, therefore, the governments they formed, after being elected, were governments of the people. However, the third part of the definition is the 'grey area' that leaves much to be desired. This is the most important area where none of our so-called democratically elected governments have been able to make any significant contribution. History stands witness to the fact that successive, democratically elected governments, which came to power in this country, did everything for themselves but nothing for the people who elected and placed them in positions of authority. They became opulent and amassed massive wealth during their respective tenures at the cost of the poverty-stricken masses of Pakistan.
Access of the poor to even basic amenities such as food, shelter, education and health, as guaranteed by the constitution, has been blatantly usurped by the rulers of this country over and over again. It has become immensely difficult for them to even have three square meals a day, what to speak of the other basic needs of life. The time has come for the people to realise quickly that they have always been exploited by those in whom they blindly vested their trust. They must also realise that it is they who have the power to elect people to govern the country. Heavy responsibility lies on their shoulders to elect the right people to power. This is the time for people to exercise their power to elect their representatives judiciously and make conscious efforts not to repeat past mistakes.
M FAZAL ELAHI