“Democracy is an universal evil being promoted and propagated by the luciferians to lure away the people from the truth.” Raja Mujtaba
By Dr. S. M. Rahman
Pakistan’s democratic journey metaphorically has been a roller-coaster ride, defying sanctity and sereneness of the system, poised to creating order, stability and sense of movement toward achievement of national goals and purpose. Successive achievements foster national pride, raises national morale and sense of identification with the country. Deliverance of non-discriminatory justice is the hallmark of a civilized polity and the quintessential value of Islamic faith. It is undoubtedly the most salient and distinctive feature of good governance. It is not to plead for an utopian system, which may sound like music to the ears, but tends to be hardly practical or implementable. The democratic system has an in-built corrective mechanism for progressive refinement. Only words and rhetoric, high flown proclamations through party manifestoes, juicy slogans may only hoodwink people for sometime, but the backlash of betrayal heightens the credibility gap, manifesting in tragic consequence of violence, waywardness, long marches and voices of disenchantment.
Democracy never comes full blown. It is always in the continuous state of “becoming”. Democratic transition is essentially based on attitudinal transformation, which comprises of three explicit elements, namely cognitive: beliefs and knowledge about how a political culture operates; affective: feelings about the democratic culture, its values and positive likeness for what it stands for and finally the conative dimension, the most vital one which is orientation to action. If beliefs, norms and values built around a paradigm of mutual security based on tolerance for divergent ideas, consensus seeking through dialogue and cooperation, mutual trust, restraint and accommodation are not operationalised in concrete terms, a culture remains that much impoverished and backward. In other words, they are deficient in democratic quotient (DQ). This concept, which I propose may add a quantitative dimension of measuring and classifying societies along how much democratic a society is in spirit and action. We are, undoubtedly far below in both respects n ours is democracy which paradoxically functions in ‘authoritarian manner’ overly centralized command pattern-reminiscent of Martial Law regimes, which have inflicted severe wounds-visible as well as invisible to the political culture of Pakistan.
According to Lucian Pye: “The notion of political culture assumes that the attitudes, sentiments and cognitions that inform and govern political behaviour in any society are not just random categories but represent coherent patterns which fit together and are mutually reinforcing (Quoted in Political Culture and Democracy in Developing Countries), edited by Larry Diamond, p-8.) Cultural differences in values and political biases may exist more within nations than between them. The dichotomy between people’s perception and the state policies is ridiculously at variance with each other, with the result that governmental actions do not harmonise with public sentiments and expectations. This ironically is fundamental error which negates democracy.
Theories have analysed “a pattern typical of British system, in which initially democracy emerges among the elitist class, which in turn, becomes a role model for the civic culture – neither traditional nor modern, but partaking of both a pluralistic culture, based on communication and persuasion, a culture of consensus and diversity, a culture that permitted change but moderated it. This was the civic culture. With this civic culture already consolidated the working classes could enter into politics and in a process of trial and trial, find the language in which to couch their demands and the means to make them effective.” (The Civic Culture by Almond and Vebra, cited in Diamonds’, book (p 74).In our context distance between the ‘elite class’ and that of masses has progressively widened, and the former hardly serves as a model for the latter to emulate as it represents the upper-upper strata of society typically predisposed to act as inheritor of colonial values and style of life, depicting the “Black Face and White Mask” syndrome, which is the title of a book, by Franz Fanon. He has very aptly brought out how ‘colonialism’ leaves its pernicious legacy in the post-colonial era, as a substantial number of ‘elites’, tend to imitate attitudes and values of their past masters and devalue own culture and its rich traditions. They hold ‘West’ as model of refined civilization. They are the main barriers, who never identify with the deprived segments whom Fanon calls “wretched of the earth”. The bureaucracy – armed and civilian – the feudal lords, money barons converge in the unholy alliance to perpetuate power and the working class remains marginalized and is not integrated into the mainstream of the society. Power and pelf remains the monopoly of the ‘elites’, who behave as if they were aliens in their own social milieu. Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had a dream of uplifting the poor, the peasant, who constitute the major chunk of the population of Pakistan. This constitutes the first betrayal to our founding father.
The second betrayal was that Pakistan markedly drifted towards assuming a praetorian identity, a very shameful and anachronistic state of affairs, repugnant to modern sensibility. Quaid had quite unequivocally cautioned the men-in-uniform to remain subservient to civil administrative structure whether it be a Presidential form or governance or parliamentary democracy. He preferred the former, but left the choice to the people to determine, as both adhered to democratic norms. What is even more ironical that the so called ‘politicians’ and constitutional experts are still relishing the return of the ruthless military ruler – General ® Pervez Musharraf, who has degraded the country into becoming a vassal state, and at the receiving end of all sorts of terrorism, suicide bombing, wanton killings of innocent men, women and children, bomb explosion on the mosques and places of worship, and at the top of it, our so called ally is adamantly subjecting the country to drone attacks and violating international norms of propriety, unleashing missiles through gunship helicopters. We are indeed living in horrendous times. The party that the dictator created, ironically is named Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) – PML(Q).Nothing could be greater affront to the name of our Quaid, who had a great disdain against military intervention into politics.
The third betrayal was made by Late General Ziaul Haq, who turned the country towards transforming into a theocratic state and radicalizing the society, much against the liberal ethos, which was in congruence with the thoughts and philosophies of our great mentors – Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Useless polemics is being raged if Quaid-e-Azam was a secular. He was secular to the extent that all religions have to be respected, but not secular like George Bush, who was seething with hatred against Islam. So was Blair and men of his ilk. The colossal control, Israel exercises, USA’s secularism is only a show piece, devoid of moral values. Secularism without spiritual content tends to become savagery.
Our inept and greedy policy makers have given us nothing but grief and agony besides being intensely corrupt and nothing that could smell soothing and fragrant. A Chinese proverb says: “A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses. We had only one such hand of Quaid-e-Azam. He gave us Pakistan – the ‘Red Rose’ – as a parting gift to the nation. What have we made of it? The red rose has turned into spilling of ‘red blood’ of the poor. This is not what democracy does.
Dr S. M. Rahman is Secretary General FRIENDS founded by General Mirza Aslam Beg, the former Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan. He is widely acclaimed for his intellectual and scholastic contributions through various mediums. He is widely travelled and has lectured in many renowned universities of the world and Think Tanks.
He has authored several books in global and regional issues. Now he is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.