Aristotle said that democracy was not a perfect political system but it was better than others. His worry was that poor people would throw up poor law makers, who would be busy in accumulating personal wealth at the cost of the people. In later ages, this problem was solved by creating two houses to balance power between ‘haves and have not’s’ (Maddison): a House of Commons versus a House Of Lords, National Assembly vs Senate and so on. The problem with our policy is that we do have a balanced house but we have forgotten the ‘sine qua nons’ of Aristotelian Demokratia. It was pivoted on honesty, merit, nationalism, spirit of sacrifice, corruption-free public services, across-the-board military-civil accountability, truthfulness and welfare of the masses.

‘Audi-alteram-partem’ the principle was essential to all trials. There were no missing persons, renditions and drone killings without a trial. Even Socrates was given the opportunity to show cause against the charges slapped on him. The state and society showed disciplined behaviour. I believe that the solution to ills of democracy is more democracy, not cacophonous calls to barracks and boots to take over. We do need to learn patience and stay steady through these growing pains that all democracies go through.


Rawalpindi, July 21.