Elections, Pakistan Style!
The events of the past few months have made it clear even to the most dense that the will of the people has nothing to do with the way their country is governed.
The history of democracy and elections for public representatives is quite old, as is the battle for political power, in which individuals and groups have vied for control of resources (including human) on the basis of wealth, religious beliefs and social status. Over centuries, various democratic and semi-ones have evolved, depending upon local economic, social and political conditions. Needless to say, the colonisation process has had a major role to play in influencing what goes for post-colonial democratization, the latter having mostly replaced foreign masters by local ones.
In simple terms, democracy is the rule of people, by the people. For this, they are supposed to elect a number of representatives who, with their support and approval, are presumed to look after and develop their welfare. The key to democracy is accountability of those elected to the ones electing them. There is no concept of rulers and ruled; rather of managing or governing affairs of people on their behalf. If anything, the elected are servants of the people.
This concept is unknown to the majority of Pakistanis and anathema to the few who have “ruled” over them ever since independence from British rule. After several constituent assemblies had been formed since 1947, the year 1958 saw the country come under military rule, a fatal but continued experiment that was the major cause of the breakup in 1971. By July 2023, the truncated country has seen two fully-fledged martial laws and multiple hybrid rules: often rigged elections with a civilian government apparently in power, but strings being pulled by the military.
The only institution that can claim to be well run is the military and its affiliated set-ups. It is also a major holder of the country’s resources, alongside politicians, property tycoons and criminal barons. The country is a classic example of elite capture, with the resources of the nation, whether indigenous or borrowed, having been directed towards the favoured few and their generations who have become richer in perks and benefits.
The events of the past few months have made it clear even to the most dense that the will of the people has nothing to do with the way their country is governed. They shall continue to be held in bonded labour to the powers that be, while the so called civilian political parties do the latter’s bidding, having conveniently sold their souls. The “elite” have closed their ranks and nothing short of a sustained, long term resistance that comes from within the suffering masses can tipple the game. Given the socio-economic conditions of the Pakistani people, this is well-nigh impossible.
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