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Burial of Democracy in Pakistan – Essay

Sample essay on the burial of democracy in Pakistan of 1200 words for school and college students.

Debacle of Pakistan in Kargil culminated in the downfall of popular and democratic regime of a duly elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif and once again dictatorial form of government came into existence under a military ruler Mr. parvez Musharraf. Under continuous pressure of international community and more so from the United states of America Mr. Musharraf staged a drama of general elections in Pakistan in the name of the restoration of democracy. Although unconstitutional legislations, were promulgated before the election to ensure that absolute majority did not slip from the hands of the military ruler but the election held on October 10, 2002 have thrown up the equilivalent of hung parliament for the 272 member national assembly.

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The PML (Q) or the king’s party supported by General Musharraf could not gather more than 77 seats which is for away from majority. The PPP of Benezir Bhutto was restricted to 62 seats. The MMA, a coalition of six parties secured 52 seats and 19 seats went to independents. This has complex implications. The election results were susprising and greatest surprise was the emergence of religious sight in a significant way within the political calculus of Pakistan. Generally Musharraaf had sensed the possibility of a hung parliament and had been quick enough to promulgate an ordinance making it imperative for the independents to join one party or the other within two days after the declaration of the results.

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Effort to from a popular government began in no time. Pro. Taliban cleric was named as candidate for prime Ministership by an alliance of Islamic parties holding the balance of power in the hung parliament. The supreme council of MMA proposed Moulana Fazlur Rehman. The Pakistan people’s parties (PPP) were actively courting the MMA’s clerics to join a coalition to capture the majority capable of forming a government. A pre-condition of joining the alliance was proposed by MMA representatives the at Pakistan president parvez Musharraf should quit his post as army chief. Musharraf was asked to ratify his position through the constitutionally demanded process of election whereby the national and provincial assemblies and the senate choose the president.

But ultimately Pakistan parliament elected Mr.Zafarullah Jamali of a pro-military party as its first civilian Prime Minister since 1999 coup. But he is civilian only in the name. He will have to rule in the shadow of military president parvez Musharraf who has promised to hand over ruling authority to the prime minister but he has managed to remain president for further five years with considerable influence upon the government as he would hold the power to dismiss the parliament. It is said that Mr. Jamali of Pakistan Muslim League has been a choice precisely because he is supposed to dance to the tune of Military Ruler, Immediately after accepting the vote of election Mr. Jamali endorsed the legacy of parvez Musharraf during the three years since coup elaborating the achievements of the general with special regard to his foreign and economic policies.

Jamali has been elected by a slender majority with only 172 votes in a house of 328. The Pakistan people’s party of former Prime Minister Benezir Bhutto is the Major opposition party with a following of 70 members. It appears that in the so called democracy directives shall be coming from Washington apparently because Mullahs have been kept out of power. As such the Americans may now hopefully push General Musharraf more hopefully into action against terrorism.

As for India there seems to be no sign of relief. India will have to be more watchful now. The available election figures and accompanying discourse suggests a better insight which believes the conventional wisdom regarding the ostensible synergy between religion and politics in Pakistan. It is quite relevant that in 1947 whereas India decided to remain a secular state in spite of the bloodshed between Lahore and Amritsar over religion, Pakistan and defined itself within the framework of two-nation theory and had declared itself a Muslim State.

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A verteran politician Mr. Zafarullah Jamali belongs to the pro. Musharraf Muslim League (Quite Azam) and is the first Prime Minister from the province of Balochistan. Fiftyeight years old Jamali comes of a tribal community. In the youth he was a player of hockey and football. His political career started under the influence and guidance of Zulfikar Alli Bhutto. Later he joined Pakistan people’s party during Benezir Bhutoo’s first regime of prime ministrship. Then he becomes Chief Minister of Pakistan. He is probably the only leader of any province who ever resigned and dissolved his own legislature.

Election in the National Assembly on 21st November, 2002 is an indication how the elections have been manouvered. Jamali was a dark horse for the prime Minister’s post but he emerged as a respectable and agreeable choice for his party’s opportunistic parliamentarians. Despite an unprecedented delay in convening the first session of the elected parliament, six weeks of coalition building and horse trading, cajoling and coercion could manage to get a bare minimum majority for Parvez Musharraf Sponsored PML (Q)’s candidate.

Musharraf has decreed himself President of Pakistan for another five years whoever might come as Prime Minister. He also insists to stay at the head of the army. The reforms and amendments to the constitution introduced by the military ruler after over-throwing Sariff are now under the protection of Legal Framework Order (LFO) put in place by the military Government to cover its tracks. Musharraf insists that LFO is now a part of the constitution and that the changes have been allowed by the Supreme Court judges who upheld the General’s take over. The LFO provides sanction for institutional changes like the formation of National Security Council which may give Pakistan’s armed force a key role in overseeing the working of the elected government. It also gives a legal cover to the amendments made by Musharraf’s Govt. in the constitution including the enhanced power for the president to dismiss elected governments, economic packages and reforms in social sector.

The new government is a personal project of Musharraf which he can control according to his own agenda. In his address to the nation on 20th November, 2002 Musharraf presented his achievements and his service to the nation and as usual asserted that he would continue to oversee politics like a father who only lives for the best of his children. But looking to the thin majority in parliament his prolonged success seems to be doubtful.

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Jamali may follow the policies of General Musharraf because his views are similar to those of Musharraf so for as domestic issues and international relations are concerned. Recently in an interview Jamali stressed for the need to normalize relations with India saying that this was the wish of the people of Pakistan. He had said, “We cannot continue fighting each other. Those days are over, long over.” But it is yet to be seen whether he brings a new approach and a softening temperament towards India.

The Islamic forces now burgeoning in the corridors of power may not be able to sway much in the matters of foreign policy. Hence the Pakistani and foreign observers apprehend that their energies might be diverted towards social issues and this might result in further deterioration in rights of women and minorities and increase in religious conservatism in education and the media. Mr. Zafarullah Jamali may have been crowned a king but it is a “Crown of thorns” as cited by one MMA leader.

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