Lot of pundits and analysts are of the view that current political dispensation, which is dubbed by many as democracy, should be allowed to complete its tenure because it will strengthen democratic values and culture in Pakistan.  Unfortunately, completing five years term has absolutely no correlation with democratic values and culture. Current form of government or political system cannot be defined as democracy but it flawlessly fits the description of 'kleptocracy'.  Wikipedia defines Kleptocarcy as “a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service. This type of government corruption is often achieved by the embezzlement of state funds.”  Furthermore, current form of democracy is promoted by the people, who are financial and political beneficiaries of this duplicitous system, as a sacred cow as if Pakistan cannot exist without it.  Democracy is not popular in the West just for the sake of it: it is system which has delivered success successfully and played a foremost role in changing destinies of nations and by that virtue changed the destiny of common people.

Unfortunately, our democratic forces are utterly clueless about the real scope, working and realities of true democracy. Two pertinent pillars and preconditions for smooth function of democratic system are: ethics and morality. Moreover, theses universally practiced principles act as safeguards against any breakdowns and gridlock and allow for mid-course correction necessary for continuation of democracy: high standards of moral and ethical values compel underperforming government to take principled and honorable high ground and step down and call for new elections. In addition, these high moral and ethical standards also act as filter to flush out incompetent and corrupt public officials. Unfortunately, Pakistani ruling elite being totally clueless, there is utter and reckless disregard for these standards in Pakistan: our ruling elites only adhere by chicanery and cacophony.  It is firm belief among our ruling elites that after elections the country is leased to them for five years.

Therefore, they are the sole arbitrators of right and wrong in governance: totally oblivious to the concept of check and balance, a backbone of all successful democracies in the world. Moreover, any challenge to force them out because of their incompetence and corruption is considered as desecration to their public mandate. Public gives them mandate for their welfare not to rob public blindly. If public have the right to give them mandate, then they have right to take it back too.

Furthermore, most of national leaders are circumstantial leaders who lack basic training and experience to lead. Therefore, they use alternate methods and short cuts which include monetary influence to gain prominence as a leader.  Most of them are uninspiring and lack charisma to inspire people towards greatness. Therefore, why should people of Pakistan tolerate this utter nonsense imposed upon them in the name and shape of sham democracy? Democracy means freedom and this freedom means society free of monetary, moral and social tyranny.  Moreover, theses freedoms also correlates with empowerment of common man/women to decide their path of the future they want and ability to crush and resist any force which hinders in attainment of that future. Let us not confuse continuity of the government with the survival of democracy. Democracy survives when it presents itself for accountability and leaves room for good governance. Japanese democratic system could guide our future.

HAMMAAD R SHAMS,

Lahore, January 2.