By Naveed Tajammal
For democracy to succeed in Pakistan, we have to evolve our own form of democracy. That cannot be achieved by an imitation of the Westminster type of democracy. It must suit the social life and the national spirit of the Pakistani people. It must fit into its national structure. Otherwise, as has been seen during the last 60 years or so, it has brought more harm than good for the country. To create and make a Constitution one has to study the psychology and sociology of a nation.
Our people are still in a slumber. The question arises can ‘sleeping’ people understand the value of freedom? People will wake up only when they are aware of their own aims and goals. So far, we have been led by a band of dynastic rulers. The present form of democracy, as being run in our country, is along the lines of the English system. Such democracy has always been supported by the crown. The strength of the British crown has been the navy and the land forces, the air force came later. The queen-empress or the king-emperor heads the forces. The aura added stability to this type of democracy.
In our part of the world, on the other hand, the leaders for quite some time till now are progenies of the former collaborators, whom the British had made into nawabs, tumandars, and chiefs. They may not be in the front but the people’s power from the rural areas is still with them. The then world power in which the sun never set, the rule of the union jack had created a new set of rulers for us after the fall of what is now called Sindh, Punjab, NWFP and the Northern Areas.
Men who had provided ‘services’ to the crown were awarded titles and positions in our society that still linger on in one form or the other. The British had created them in wake of their forward policies but the British had left our land 60 years ago. Do we need them now? Why do we still adhere to them? Why no government of the past has touched them. This is a major factor. Men like Iskandar Mirza boasted of their links with Mir Jaffar of Bengal. None challenged him. What our nation desperately needs is an in-take of fresh blood in our political system.
The condition of graduation as the minimum standard of education did put an end to the practice of illiterate people becoming MNAs and MPAs. They ensured their presence by throwing in their new breed of graduates. The only difference is that they now speak English in American accent. This, in a way, shows the state of our political bankruptcy. The elders still play the thana-katchehry politics. It is also a fact that those in power are bullied by those in the opposition, whose main target is to attain power by fair or foul means regardless of the harm they do to the national interest or cause. Sometimes the opposition succeeds in turning the tables on the rulers in power and the role is merely reversed when the opposition comes to power.
Mudslinging continues and the benefit is reaped while the sun shines. They bask in its glory. Therefore, an insight in any level of leadership is a must. It is the duty of the state to be able to ensure that. Hardly any political party can claim a vote bank, except for the religious parties. But that is a different story. Our blood hounds sniff the air, the political air, before they join the fray. They maintain the legacy of their past masters to ensure that disharmony and a state of uncertainty should always prevail. Changing the bandwagons is a matter of a whim. Today we have the PPP, yesterday it was PML (Q). Before that, it was the ever-loyal PML (N). So, where is the vote bank?
Remember, here the object is not a national cause. Here the true chameleon has to recoup his election costs, and the payment he made to the party funds for getting a ticket. Unfortunately, our writers make such a fuss of the leadership that they fail to see what the same lot has done in the past, maybe under the shadow of a different bandwagon. The solution is a one-time ticket awarded for a five-year term. The same holds good for the prime minister too. Let him prove his worth. If Sher Shah, with his resources available to him, could do what he did in five years, then the already developed infrastructure should be no hurdle for the new prime minister. He should come empty-handed and go empty-handed. After all, he wants to serve the country. I am sure even that despite all these constraints we, a population of 160 million, can locate a good person who takes our nation forward as one nation.
We have been an egalitarian society in the past in our salt range and above. The system still exists. Feudalism was imposed on us. Even in the Mughal administrative set up, the job of mansabdar, jagirdar or faujdar and other officials was never given to a person because of his credentials of ancestry. One had to achieve it through hard work. Each man did his best till he lasted. It was a matter of intellect. A mansabdar was fined he would fail in his job. In our lands, the concept of the rule of five elders in our villages had existed from the dawn of our times. It still does in the rural areas.
The same councils still decide the most complex matters. The town committees can handle the urban side. Barring the new settlers, the bulk of our city population is and still retains strong rural contacts. The thana-katchehry culture must end. It is a redundant practice. State officials must provide service at the door of the litigant. The writ of the state should ensure that. The original Gazette notification of 2000 was a good step forward in the local bodies elections if its clauses had been implemented. The law had then stated that no one with any political affiliation was allowed to contest. He had to be a tax payer. If such laws are implemented in true sense, this can be a giant leap forward.
The ‘old’ politician will die his own death. No seat becomes a family seat. Politics is not a profession. Each person aspiring to be a worker for his people takes his time out. In a nutshell, this is what a revolution is all about. The five-year clause is the force that will ensure that the political process moves forward and the peoples’ will prevails. With the present population of 160 million and a projected 300 million in three decades, it is about time we took the first step in the right direction by getting rid of the dynastic rulers.
The writer has a 28-year experience in investigating the identity of the Indus-person in a historical context.