Pakistan is among a group of countries that claim to be democracies but are experiencing serious challenges to basic freedoms. Tasneem Noorani had this article in Dawn on fixing Pakistan’s creaky democracy. Here is an excerpt:
The landmark was repeated in 2018, when the PML-N handed over the government to the PTI. Our premise as a nation has been that democracy in this country will take root once we repeat this cycle a few times.
But is that a correct premise and do we really have democracy in the country? The three major political parties are all ‘owned’ by three individuals or at best one individual and two families. Can anything in the party move without the consent of Asif Zardari in the PPP, Nawaz Sharif in the PML-N and Imran Khan in the PTI? Can any of these parties exist in their present legal form without these three individuals/ families? Obviously not.
So where is the democracy? If the founding pillars of democracy, ie these political parties, are run by ‘dictators’/ owners, how can the edifice of democracy be built upon them? It pains me to say this but the truth is that there is more democracy in the army, where a COAS has to take his corps commanders along in any major decision. That is why many a prime minister goofed up in trying to pick a ‘safe’ army chief, because ultimately the chief does what the rank and file of the military want him to do.
Access the full article here.