Rahmat Karim Baig

Demerits of democracy

Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig

Pakistan is a ‘Banana Republic’ for its staggering position, both in political and economic fields, because the MNAs and MPAs have not achieved the majority votes of their constituencies and, therefore, sell votes for dollars and abuse the trust or confidence of their supporters.

Why? Because in the general elections, many candidates contest and get votes but all less than 50 percent of the total votes that are cast. Generally, 50 to 55pc of the voters of the electoral roll come to the polling stations and the 45pc remain outside this process.

Now, out of that turnout, for example, one top scorer got 30pc, the next one 15pc and the third one seven percent and the last one only the poor three percent and that makes 55pc. But it rarely reaches the height of 60pc turnout so the majority is not in the assemblies but the 30pc vote holder is an MPA or MNA  elected by 30pc educated and 70pc uneducated voters.

This is not the basic concept of democracy. Those who reach the assemblies maneuver to do so by a number of unfair means, not in a transparent way.

In order to remove that discrepancy, there should be rules and criteria for success in the election that the winner should at least have secured 50pc or above votes and that we can accept  true representation by a majority winner candidate.

Those who fail to secure that percentage should go through a second round and then a third round. That will purify the system. Otherwise, it is no democracy but a Jis ki lathi uski bhens (might is right) type of muddle like the one we are facing today.

With that system introduced another important step is to make democracy on some other model or this system a better one that by amendment in the Constitution:

  • Only the high educated-graduates and above – should have the right to vote. The illiterate adults should be deleted from the electoral rolls and should have no voting right at all.
  • The contesting candidates should also undergo the same process and the fake degree holders must by verified from the Universities concerned and clearance be mandatory.
  • This will encourage literacy rate as well as motivate public to get higher education to reach the voting standard.
  • Religious knowledge of the candidates be tested at the time of scrutiny or the situation will crop up again as seen a couple of years ago when one Minister could not recite a very short and well- known  Verse of the Holy Quran.
  • That a Referendum system both on provincial and National level should be a basic of that system on provincial/Nations issues.
  • There has to be a Single party system not the 118 at present. The One party system like Russia, Iran, China model to curb the pubic and the unbridled media. Strong discipline has to be introduced to stabilize the country and the economy.

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