Abraham Lincoln once defined ‘democracy’ as ‘the government of the people, by the people for the people’. It means that in democratic form of government common man plays the pivotal role. The aristocracy, the landlords and the politicians have to work according to the wishes of the common man. The main object of their political activities is thus the welfare, betterment and amelioration of the poor masses of the country who elect them as their representatives and to whom they are answerable for their duties and responsibilities.
In many parts of the world this form of government has been adopted very successfully. America and India can be cited as two bright examples of democracy. In America people indirectly participate in the working of the government. The President is responsible for all his decisions and actions to the Congress that comprises the representatives of the people. The policy of ‘check and balance’ is followed to prevent the three pillars of government i.e. legislature, executive, and judiciary trespass their limits.
Thus the people of America are enjoying the fruits of democracy fully as they have their due share in the functions of the government. They have freedom to express their views and opinions in a proper manner. They have also an easy access to justice and can defend their rights.
It is true that the essence of democracy lies in the well being of the masses and their participation in the functions of the government. But it is a pity that in developing and under developed countries like Pakistan democracy is used as a weapon against the people. In these countries democracy has bred and encouraged hatred, hooliganism and witch hunting.
The main cause of the failure of democracy in these countries is that education is not common here. People are mostly illiterate and are ignorant of their rights and responsibilities. The people they choose in elections as their representatives, the rulers and the law makers of the country are usually the big landlords or industrialists who have no concern with education, independent thinking and pure patriotic feelings. They grab power with the sole aim of making people their slaves so that they may multiply their wealth by fair or unfair means. This wealth is then used for personal ostentation, luxurious living and sensual pleasures.
In Pakistan, sectarianism, illiteracy, biradry system and poor economic condition have deteriorated our social and political structure. Most of the so-called politicians and law makers are illiterate. Their pockets are full of money but their minds are devoid of wisdom. The law makers are the law breakers. They themselves are involved in such heinous crimes as smuggling, dacoity, murder, theft, drug trafficking and terrorism.
Power hungry mullahs and Army Generals have been a great hindrance in making Pakistan a democratic state. Soon after the creation of Pakistan military Generals forgetting their duty of defending the borders of the country jumped into the arena of politics. The mullahs supported these, military dictators and thus both joined hands to keep the poor people of the country in permanent subjugation.
Democracy can flourish only in those countries where people are literate and are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities. If we want to make Pakistan a democratic country, we will have to spread education so that people may be able to distinguish between good and evil and have courage fight against the evil.