Essay No. 151: 

Is Democracy Possible In Third World Countries? Before answering the question, it may be remarked that nothing is impossible in the world. The untried appears impossible. Once that is tried with a will, it becomes possible. Nothing is impossible in the world. Once man shows his determination to overcome things that apparently appear impossible, they fall within the range of possibility.

It is a fact that democracy in most of the third world countries has not taken firm roots because of the infirm will of the societies. Once the societies show a firm determination to try democracy, they will succeed in their objectives. Democracy is not firmly established in Pakistan for a number of reasons which are briefly discussed here as under.

Just after the establishment of Pakistan, the then ruling governments at the center and provincial levers, fell a prey to internecine intrigues and lost a hold over democracy. The democracy owing to the misbehavior of politicians and the smouldering ambition rule, which fell heavily on institutions in the country.

The fragile institutions which were in a state of growth were decimated to the detriment of nascent democracy. Pakistan was put on the road of guided/controlled democracy, and the military generals having usurped the power at the point of gun, began to call the shots behind the curtain. When semblance of democracy was restored, the head of the executive could not take independent decisions in matters of national importance.

The military dictator was like a huge tree. Beneath which the plant of democracy could not grow. Pakistan’s experience has been dismal insofar as democracy is concerned. In some other Middle East countries, there is kingship of monarchy, which are at variance with democracy. In a nutshell, either democracy does not exist in many third world countries or where it exists in name; its rules of the game stand violated or unobserved.

Democracy can be successful in the third world countries if the game is played according to the rules. The tragedy is that when elected representatives hailing from feudal/industrial classes assume power to run the affairs of the state, they begin to indulge in certain malpractices, aiming at the swelling of their vested personal interests. Cases of corruption are reported in the national press.

The game of wealth and plunder of the national resources is played in the guise of authority and power. Then there is horse-trading, leading to results in the floor crossing in the National/Provincial Assemblies. That is how democracy in Pakistan. The military rulers who apparently come to clear the eugeans stables, themselves fall a victim to expediency to prolong their rule.

Democracy is thus butchered both by certain parliamentarians as well as by the khaki. The less said the better ….. Pakistan was achieved in the name of democracy, later on was put off the rails of democracy. Democracy is still the dream of millions of Pakistanis. It must hold if Pakistan were to be out of woods.

For the success of democracy, the following conditions need to be satisfied:

  • Feudalism in Pakistan in particular be abolished, which is the destabilizing factor of democracy. Democracy and feudalism cannot go hand in hand. It is through progressive land reforms that the influence of feudalism, presently on the rampage can be minimized. With the measures outlined above, democracy can become a success in a developing country like Pakistan.
  • Literacy rate should be raised to the highest level to create an understanding of socio-economic environment among the people. Once people become aware of their environment, they will be able to decide about the credentials of the contesting candidates for casting their votes in favour of the one who feels their pulse well. That would also go a long way to dwindle the influence of bradarism in Pakistan.
  • Political parties must democratize their internal structure to practice democracy on national level. They must prepare alternative leadership to groom the affairs of parties. Dynastical type of party headship be abandoned. Parties should fight elections on the basis of their manifesto.

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Those who assume power after being elected, must behave properly to run the affairs of governance in accordance with the constitution. The regime of merit based on law should be established. The government and the opposition must show tolerance for each other.

Tolerance is the need of democracy. If that happens, it would usher in a sort of better type of understanding between a running government and the opposition, to once and for all bang the door to military adventures to keep the law of land intact.

“Is Democracy Possible In Third World Countries?