“Ten million ignorances do not makeup one Knowledge”.(Baines)
Before discoursing on the topic, it is essential to know what democracy means. It is a compound of Demos (the people) and Tracy (rule). According to French root is means Demos (the people) + Kortos (strength). Thus in simple words, it means rule of the people. In a democracy, the people carry on the government collectively. The best example is found in the Greek city-state. But in a modern democracy, the people are governed through their elected representatives.
The best and the most accepted definition of democracy is Government of the people, by the people, for the people (Abrahim Lincoln), Such an ideal democracy is merely a remote fact. What democracy is, cannot be separated from what democracy should be. This distinction of ‘is’ and ‘ought must be clearly understood because ideas and reality interact. Moreover, the descriptive and prescriptive definitions must not be confused because the democratic ideal does not define the democratic reality and vice versa. These are the reasons why democracy means different imperatives and value goals for different peoples.
The plant of democracy can thrive only where the people are educated, intelligent and self-concious. In the words of Lord Beveridge:
“Only when it is governed by reason, will democracy be sufficiently successful in practical affairs.”
To make certain of survival it must be governed wisely, in other words those who think must govern these who work.
In Pakistan Democracy has not prospered because the majority of the voters is illiterate and poor. They cannot fight the elections that are very costly business. They can be easily purchased, influenced and bullied by the rich landlords, govt. officials and the police. They cannot cast their votes, honestly, rightly and fearlessly. Once they have voted, they have no control’ on their representatives, the selfish self-seeking, insincere and corrupt representatives. Such an Indirect democracy has made a mockery of the whole nation Where the people are ignorant, the constitution is a simple pack of papers more to be exploited than to be upheld. Aristotle has wisely remarked:
“To neglect the education of the young ones is to weaken the constitution of the country.”
The repeated dissolving of the elected assemblies, palace intrigues and stronghold of the crates have not only stabbed democracy in the back but have also paved the way for four dictatorial rules (regimes) in the country. Oh! Liberty what crimes are committed in thy name.
We are living in an age of confused democracy. The past experience shows that will of the people is least respected by the rulers who are very vociferous about democratic principles but least interested in the welfare of their makers. Democracy does not mean merely counting of votes. It must be real both in substance and spirit. Real democracy stands for civil freedoms, justice, and equality: It is a deeper way of living in society.
Judged according to these norms, there has been sham democracy in Pakistan, Poor ‘demos’! It is not the general Public but only the ruling party, its leaders and workers that matter. Modern democracy hinges on majority rule. The elected members are mostly ‘yes-men’ who blindly follow their leaders. Permits, public offices, plots and large are freely distributed among the party men or who easily swallow the bait and change loyalties. People are really fed up with such ‘sham’ and show business.
No democracy can flourish or survive without honest politicians, a man of character and unimpeachable principles, intelligent, committed to the service of the people and the country. Democracy is not like a mistress that is changing hands but it is a way of life, a holy trust, blessing of freedom and an act of patriotic duty. It calls for great scarifies, devotion and dedication.
Both the rulers and the opposition have been irresponsible and at daggers drawn. Mutual good will, respect, sense of compromise, tolerance and cooperation are the values for running true democracy. All these virtues are missing in Pakistan for its own sake, by fair or foul means. The way out of the world troubles is to treat man as man, to enthrone influence over power and to make power revocable.