True democracy combats crises
Akhtar Ali Kureshi
We frequently discuss and print the word 'democracy' and we have not still realised that it is a word the real gist of which still sleeps, notwithstanding the resonance and the many angry tempests out of which its syllables have come, from pen or tongue. It is a great word whose history remains unwritten in Pakistan because that history has yet to be enacted.
We must remember that the basis of democratic leadership is ordinary citizens' desire to take their country back from the hands of corrupted plutocratic and political elites. This desire is predicated on an awakening among the populace from the seductive lies and comforting illusions that sedate them and a moral channelling of new political energy that constitute a formidable threat to the status quo.
This is what happened in the 1958, 1970, 1977, 1999 and 3rd November 2007 in Pakistan history. Just as it looked as if we were about to lose the democratic experiment in the face of civil war, imperial greed, economic depression and racial upheaval in each of these periods a democratic awakening and atavistic energy emerged to keep our democratic project afloat. Let us not be deceived by the great dramatic battle of the twenty first century, dismantling of empire and the deepening of democracy. This is much or more a colossal fight over visions and ideas as a catastrophic struggle over profits and missiles. Globalisation is inescapable the question is whether it will be a democratic globalisation or one country let corporate globalization.
We live in a propitious yet perilous moment in which it has become fashionable to celebrate the benefits of ruling class and acceptable to condone the decline of democratic governance. The pervasive climate of opinion and the prevailing culture of consumption make it difficult for us to even imagine the revival of the deep democratizing energies of our past and conceive of making real progress in the fight against un-democratic forces.
No democracy can flourish against the corruption or withstand the temptations of militarism in the face of terrorist hate without a citizenry girded by these three moral pillars of Socratic questioning, prophetic witness and tragicomic hope. The hawks of the present government have professed themselves to be the guardian of Pakistan democracy but there is a deep democratic tradition in this country that speaks powerfully against their nihilistic, antidemocratic abuse of power and that can fortify genuine democratic today in the fight against these forces. The problems plaguing our democracy are not only ones of disaffection and disillusionment because majority of public do not vote and who caste their vote seems to be considered as they are short-sighted.
Foreign elements also target the sole reliance on the force of power, aggressive militarism, which is a false security, a mere diversion from attending to the necessary domestic policies of compassion that can heal your wound. Escalating authoritarianism is a species of injustice that tightens the rope around one's own neck. The deadly charge of idolatry, which is the pre-eminent weapon in the prophetic arsenal against injustice, whether that idolatry is the worship of power or money, sits at the centre of prophetic resistance to the nations. The golden calf of wealth along with the blood-soaking flag that envelops it is the true idol of empire, past and present. This prophetic commitment to justice is foundational in Islam. The love and mercy taught by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) this profound tradition should inform and embolden the struggle against the callus indifference of the plutocratic elite of Pakistan about the suffering of our own poor and oppressed peoples.
The perception of pervasive corruption at the top seems to justify the un-principled quest to succeed at any cost in their own lives and the widespread cheating in our culture reflects this sad truth. The oppressive effect of the prevailing society's moralities leads to a form of sleepwalking from womb to tomb, with the majority of citizens content to focus on private careers and be distracted with stimulating amusements. They have given up any real hope of shaping the collective destiny of the nation. Sour cynicism, political apathy and cultural escapism become the pervasive options.
The public has good cause for disillusionment with our democratic system. The saturation of our society forces and moralities has indeed corrupted our system all the way up. Our leadership elite has lost faith in the efficacy of adhering to democratic principle in the face of the overwhelming power of the society's forces. They are caught up in the corrupting influences of society morality. Our politicians have sacrificed their principles and integrity on the altar of special interest and profits.
An important question which can only be realized with extra ordinary prudence that Pakistan which is arrested in number of sensitive issues including the threat of losing some a great un-repairable loss as earlier faced, can only be negotiated and handle with extra care by a strong political will through true political leadership which is unfortunately missing in Pakistan, is the real bone of contention to think over it. The matter may be of Kalabagh Dam, Bolochistan crises, Waziristan issue, a wish of real democracy which can secure the civil liberty as well as the prosperity of public, delivery of justice and fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution and Holy Quran, can only be achieved through a true democracy either in its plight condition but it is better than.
It is a surprising situation that the public that comes out to strike and takes out procession for only religious matters and whenever the question of its fate, which is destined in the constitution failed, never turn up to fight back. They rather recognised it and extended full support putting next generation into the dark ages to bear its consequences and this become a never ending story. However, the time has come to realise the actual position of our country and we are moving towards the high time zone to combat those elements which creating the problems. Mere realization of actual problems can also give confidence to the desperate nation to re-design its priorities by adding or replacing the national issues with religious zeal so that we can enter into a new era of peace and prosperity through democracy.
The writer is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, freelance columnist, law professor, and member of International Bar Association, London