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A Democracy Without Accountability | By Anam Khan

Pakistan
December 17, 2014
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ADemocracyWithoutAccountability|ByAnamKhan
More articles by Shahbaz Shakeel
Written by: Shahbaz Shakeel
Tags: 2014, A, A Democracy Without Accountability | By Anam Khan, Accountability, Anam, By, css, current affairs, Democracy, Khan, spotlight, Without

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A democracy is basically defined as a system of government by the whole population or all eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. If
one glances over the above description, it is fair to say that Pakistan is indeed, a country that follows a democratic form of governance. The general election in May
2013 marked the first time that a democratically elected government was succeeded by another.
In The Journal of Democracy, Thomas Carothers and Sheri Berman claim that countries that are transitioning from dictatorships towards electoral politics are especially
prone to civil war, violent revolutions and sectarian bloodshed. However, there are examples of countries that have not faced significant violence in the midst of
democratic transitions due to the existence of perquisites that help solidify the road to democratic politics, such as relatively competent and impartial state
institutions. Examples of such countries include Brazil and South Korea. This does not mean that Pakistan should shy away from the idea of a democracy. The
people must have a voice and embrace the right to choose their representatives. Sometimes there are also situations where mass political pressure on dictators is
necessary to drive progress and beneficial change even though certain preconditions for a true democracy have not been met. However, keeping all of these possible
counterarguments in mind, the people of Pakistan should also be able to hold their leaders accountable for fulfilling their needs and upholding justice.
Lets consider the attack on the office of the Minhajul Quran on June 17, 2014, in which the government-controlled police in Lahore killed 14 people, including a
pregnant woman. This attack was unprovoked. The government initially refused to allow the victims families to file a complaint against the prime minister and other
officials. Lets also consider the fact that we live in a country where people are rightfully afraid of addressing several controversial incidents surrounding minorities,
religion and sectarian violence because it is difficult to feel safe in a country where certain written views are met with death threats from extremist factions. It has
sadly been established that there are certain things that we just cannot write about. In this case, the government should feel obligated to make the people of
Pakistan feel secure, and it would if it was held accountable for its lack of action. The state of public hospitals is also abhorrent. Patients writhing in agony wait to be
treated. The conditions at these hospitals are unsanitary and downright inhuman. Yet, these hospitals continue to function without signs of improvement.
There are hopes that the continuous process of electing and re-electing new leaders will eventually give rise to elected officials who will help Pakistan become a
country founded on the principles that Muhammad Ali Jinnah could not implement due to his untimely death. In addition to the electoral process, other legislative
procedures need to be simultaneously implemented so that the leaders we elect are fearful of our judgment, especially after they have been elected into office. The use
of the police, judiciary and administration for partisan purposes should not be tolerated. Corruption should not be accepted as common practice. Institutions need to
be restructured so that government officials foresee the possibility of facing legitimate consequences if they pursue illegal conduct and fail to produce necessary
deliverables. Even though the democratic process in the United States indisputably has its flaws, elected presidents still face the threat of impeachment during their
term. A military dictatorship is not a preferable alternative. However, sitting idly and allowing the system to cleanse itself through the electoral process could hinder
democracy and trigger an irreversible nosedive.
Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/807746/a-democracy-without-accountability/

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