- Democratic supremacy has been established in the country
10 years and two successive tenures later, Pakistan acclaims another win for democracy. Marred by rumors of potential coups or even dismissal of an entire parliament, the system prevailed. Tumbling through the various threats poised, democracy emerged victorious as the second elected government completed its tenure and abdicated the throne.
It would be prudent to acknowledge the efforts of all state institutions who invested in preserving and protecting the democratic system without letting it get derailed. Analysts and keen observers often hype up the political temperature of the country by rendering drastic prophecies pertaining to the system. Talks of national governments, dismissal through court and even the classic military take-over remained some of the predictions that sensitised the political ball game of the country for the past decade.
Let us appreciate the achievements of the system for once. Despite the ongoing fissures between state institutions and politicians alike, democracy didn’t derail. The system survived the occasional turbulence it encountered due to events unfolding. Starting from the dharna days in 2014 up till the ravishing ‘Mujhe Kyun Nikala’ days, the system stumbled on every nook and corner but, miraculously, managed to stay intact.
Military establishment displayed its competence in eradicating terrorism from the country. Judiciary gained its independence. Parliamentary democracy continued, though parliamentary supremacy has recently been over-shadowed by judicial activism.
Judiciary of today is, seemingly, more empowered as opposed to the past. Its independence, from political quarters at least, is unquestionable under the current circumstances. The essence of democracy is the independence of the judiciary. Though occasional toes across the line by the robed gentlemen are uncalled for. In spite of difference of opinion on any given topic the larger picture remains evidently clear. The system has benefitted from the successive tenures of the governments.
Even accountability has witnessed heightened levels of dominance in the past year or so. Ever since the incumbent chairman took the reins of NAB, the accountability watchdog is busy pursuing the accused who have allegedly looted the nation’s wealth.
All the aforesaid developments collectively have helped the system remain safe from harm. Safe from any unconstitutional intervention that would have pushed the country back a decade. TV channels remain preoccupied with lambasting the outgoing government or else predicting the incoming one. Possible delay was also the hot topic over the weekend. Not many people, however, appreciate the systematic achievement that the nation has witnessed. Democratic supremacy has been established in the country for the first time since its inception.
This nurturing of the system has compelled state institutions to re-evaluate their respective mandates and work on how to improve them. Although the judiciary has its quandaries that need to be dealt with including speedy disposal of cases, exceptions remain. In a report published over the weekend it was revealed that senior judge of the Supreme Court Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has cleared the backlog of criminal appeals pending before the top court. A bench headed by Justice Khosa has expeditiously and actively disposed of almost 10,000 cases since 2014 and only a few hundred appeals remain pending. This has to be recorded as one of the most remarkable achievements of a judicial sailor in the former’s history. Such achievements are indirectly co-related to system empowerment.
Quite astonishingly, not much heed is being paid to the successive completion of a democratic tenure. Maybe, the people have forgotten about the stamping of the boots on the ground. Nevertheless, the army has played a vital role in unfettering democracy from the clutches of failing dictatorships. General Bajwa’s ideology was reflected by his appearance before a senate committee. The senate briefing had to be one of the most beautiful incidents in the history of Pakistan where a general willingly gave the parliament its constitutional importance.
Democracy has made the most powerful politicians of the country bend forward and kneel before accountability courts amongst others. This isn’t part of any vindictive scheme being orchestrated against the Sharif family or others. Rather the same are being made to answer for allegations against them. Democracy envisages a free and fair accountability of the leadership and answers meted out to the common man for questions raised.
Shahbaz Sharif on being quizzed by the Chief Justice about the appointments made in the companies started reiterating his work and initiatives in the province only to be reminded by the chief that his performance in Punjab wasn’t the point of discussion. A simple question was put forward which Shahbaz Sharif was unable to answer and rather acted jittery at the rostrum. Thank you democracy again for making the ‘Khadim e Aala’ stand before a court of law.
Another volatile development was the judgement authored by Justice Ayesha Malik of the Lahore High Court. Petitioner’s counsel Mr Saad Rasool was articulate in his arguments whereby he successfully satisfied the court that the nomination papers were in violation of the dictates of the constitution. Standing up for the protection of constitutional provisions turned the tide against him and Saad Rasool continues to be blamed for attempting to delay the polls. An argument which is both misconceived and ill-founded. The federal government had exhausted numerous opportunities before finally appraising the court of their stance.
On the contrary I’d term the decision as yet another win for democracy. The order reflects unprecedented levels of judicial independence, a factor stressed upon by principles of democracy. Had it not been for a stronger and truer form of democracy, the courts of law wouldn’t have had the will to author tough spirited judgements.
With hopes of a better future, let us pray that the system of democracy remains prevalent. Continuation of democracy will ensure perfection of the reoccurring flaws in the system and in the times to come every institution shall have a clear and defined limit of its own.