Weak democracy weak state.


Byline: Dr Farid A Malik

'No government is the best government' these were the words of President Ronald Reagan. As a student in the eighties such statements were music to the ears. For the first time after the Second World War, two elected leaders of the free word (Reagan, Thatcher) conspired to weaken the state. Most regulatory frameworks were done away with, a new concept of free market was introduced. Multinational Corporations (MNCs) started to control the world economy. The mighty United Socialist Soviet Republic (USSR) Collapsed resulting in a unipolar globe. Un-controlled capitalism became the new order of the day. Unfortunately the biggest casualty of this new realignment has been the democratic order.

Common good has become uncommon in the 21st century. For over 2000 years democracy with all its faults has ensured a participative approach for collective benefits of the society. Only the five Nordic Welfare States (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark) have been able to weather this storm against the democratic order. In most other cases the states have caved in to vested interests. Developing countries like Pakistan with a colonial past are severely disadvantaged to face this onslaught. A colonial state is not designed to serve the masses which are treated as subjects not customers who have the power of vote. That is why constitution making has always been an uphill task is such cases.

Democracy has been deliberately weakened in the land of the pure. A constitution is an agreement between the rulers and the ruled. Through an electoral process the levers of state are entrusted to elected representatives. Despite all teething problems the 1956 constitution moved Pakistan in the direction of a democratic republic. Its abrogation followed by the deplorable 1962 imposed document weakened the democratic order while strengthening the colonial state.

The free and fair electrons of 1970 were a hallmark for democracy which produced a very able legislature. As the levers of state were in undemocratic hands the system collapsed. As the most popular leader of what was left of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) took charge. He moved the long lost republic in the direction of a constitutional democracy. The unanimous 1973 constitution keeps the Islamic Republic of Pakistan together.

While the first dictator abrogated the constitution in 1958, the two usurpers after the 1973 version tried to disfigure the document. Though the constitution...

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