Threats still exist
Eighteen years ago Pervez Musharraf illegally took over the country by suspending the 1973 constitution. His stint as a military dictator proved to be as harmful for the country and its institutions as those of his three predecessors.
There was significant democratic progress since Musharraf was forced out of office. The first peaceful transition of power took place in 2013 with PML-N replacing PPP. One hopes for another timely election.
However the recent political turmoil has put a question mark on that happening. Since his disqualification, Nawaz Sharif has been relentlessly blaming – without taking any names – the army and judiciary for engineering his ouster. This civ-mil tussle is counterproductive and dangerous and the ruling party after accepting the decision of the apex court should refrain from provocative statements and move on.
During the past several decades accountability mechanisms have been manipulated by both the civil and military establishments instead of allowing these to function independently. This has discredited accountability bodies.
A lack of faith in institutions such as National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for example is what compelled Imran Khan’s PTI to take to the streets to get the Supreme Court to hear the Panama case against Nawaz Sharif.
Another inherent issue with political parties is their casual attitude towards parliament reflected by poor attendance, embarrassingly insignificant legislation tabled let alone passed. What should have been a place of constructive debate is used by the ruling party to bulldoze self-serving bills or mudslinging between opposing members of parliament often ending in walkouts.
The ruling party mistreats the opposition. The opposition in turn fights backs with no holds barred
As witnessed in the past, left unaddressed, systemic weaknesses of the type can be used for launching unconstitutional misadventures with the help of a handful of civilian conspirators. Space for such an occurrence should not be provided by the government and any attempt to undermine the constitution or hamper the progression of democracy should be fiercely opposed by all.