Democracy in Pakistan – Evolving or Taking U-turns by Syed Irfan Iqbal

Syed Irfan Iqbal
Large and shadowy trees have strong roots. Amidst all turbulent like storms, hurricanes, floods and fire these large trees lost many years of their growth .Yet, these remain steadfast and keep growing.Fateful Day comes! When time repeats itself as spring emerges every year and these trees regain what lost in testing times.
One blissful reality of Pakistani politics is that tree of democracy in Pakistan has now deep roots and unbreakable stem. However, maybe this is only tree in the world which is facing strange revolt and conflict among its each component as sometime leaves try to replace with stem and branches are in a hurry to be stem , without taking a pause that every component has its own significance and has role in the growth of tree or otherwise.
The journey of democratic tree is ever evolving and ever ever-growing in Pakistan. And, 1973 constitution has been the sole support- soul of estate- that is not allowing this tree to be fell down, diminish completely or even to be uprooted completely by invisible powers. In fact roots of democracy draw its strength from parliamentary, federal, Islamic and consensus based 1973 constitution.
The golden jubilee of 1973 constitution – soul of Pakistani state & a point of origin from where authority and power of each organ of state originates has completed its fifty years. This sacred document has always been an unwavering support for each Pakistani and above all a sacred agreement between state and its citizenry. Fifty years journey of constitution is not a story of smooth sailing. Many times it was transformed into a piece of paper; four times it was completely pushed into oblivion and abrogated in broad day light. Yet, it was not made to be faded away , it was not made to be a just a piece of paper ; it was made to ensure unleashing people’s potential and granting fundamental rights to each citizen irrespective of cast, creed and colour.
It is coincidence that on eve of Golden jubilee of constitution; PDM government completed 365 days(each day is countable !) . This one year manifests an evolution of democratic tree and Parliamentary vibrancy and supremacy:
Frist time in political history of Pakistan a democratic Prime Minister was shown the door out of Power through a successful vote of No-Confidence as per Constitution;
First time in civil military relations a dreadful fault line became a street topic;
First time deep and unbridgeable cleavage bring itself on surface within judiciary,
First time ,Judiciary in Pakistan is exposed to wrath of Parliament so brashly and openly that joint session was held for enacting judicial reform bill after president of Pakistan found it unconstitutional ;
First time every street , every social media account especially in Young hands became an effective tool of political awareness and inclusive politics and last but not least; first time all powerful , all decisive and all influencing hidden hands became loud gossip of town.
What can define the Parliamentary vibrancy that on 10th April 2023 Parliament of Pakistan was in its full bloom as four happenings on one day: Session of National Assembly, convention of golden jubilee celebration of constitution , joint session was held on same day. These three sittings have peculiarity of its own kind ;
@ in first Session Parliament asserted itself in matter of allocation of funds for elections in KPK and Punjab (fountain head from where the current constitutional and political crisis flows ),
@ Convention to celebrate fifty years of constitution itself became historic due to presence of political bigwigs and One Honorable judge of Supreme court of Pakistan ( at a time when inner fractures in judiciary and among honouarable judges of supreme court became a central topic of media talks and Parliamentary debates)
@ at the end of day joint sitting of Parliament was convenes to upheld its right of long overdue judicial reform .
@ On the same day Constitution monument (Yadgar-e-Dastoor)- for many a repulsive think that might remind them their disloyalty to constitution-was inaugurated to inculcate the significance of constitution especially in socially media weaponized youth .
On 10th April 1973, these were the politicians who shunned their all differences and blessed this nation with ever glowing beacon of light in the form of 1973 constitution. It was democracy and its chief characteristics of dialogue and negotiations that let this nation to embark upon journey of prosperity and progress by ensuring a stable and balanced agreement between public and state.
On 10th April when PDM government  completed its one year: when invisible powers again are trying to gnawing at the very roots of this tree: when one organ of state is not allowing others to grow naturally : when political polarization have reached unbridgeable chasm; let our sagacious and wise Public Representatives ,whose roots are in public and they know the suffering of each and every citizen, to follow the path of negotiations and dialogue . Let’s pledge to allow the tree of parliamentary democracy to evolve naturally as, now, it is deeply rooted in Pakistani state.
Let’s pray that this month of ‘April’ be not ‘Cruel’ as April is a month of Spring when nature reasserts itself. Let Parliament and Parliamentary forces re -assert them. Dialogue and dialogue is the only approach that will let tree of democracy to ever evolve and grow.
Syed Irfan Iqbal is (Researcher at Parliament)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here