This is with reference to the article ‘Is right-wing populism fading?’ (July 18), which made a few very relevant points. One look at human history is enough to suggest that populism leads to the negative propensity for hero-worship. In the absence of powerful democratic institutions individuals hoodwink the masses with catchy slogans even in the name of religion.

It is worth mentioning that the era of the righteous caliphs was known for governance through consultation, equality, accountability and people’s will — through the element of bayth — which are regarded as the pillars of modern democracy. Even some Western jurists have acknowledged that of all the universal religions, Islam has the greatest potential to accommodate democracy. It is a pity that after that particular era, Muslims moved away from such critical principles.

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In recent history, the untimely demise of Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah, the first governor-general, and the tragic assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister, our democratic institutions lost steam and became weaker, allowing space for populism and hero-worship to creep in. Unfortunately, the malaise continues to date.



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