Failed government and derailing democracy

Jan 25th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest, Pakistan

I completely disagree and dispute the contention held by some upholders of democracy, politicians and law makers, that the process of removing a serving government before it’s mandated time period through democratic or by means of constitutional law and people’s pressure, would derail the democratic system.

I believe we need to view Democracy and Government separately through a different perspective. In Italy and Japan, government changes after a year or so, but still there democracy is strengthening day by day. The truth is that there may be the best system established, but if those who are supposed to run it are inept, it is bound to fail.

Democracy is a system, through which governments are formed. If a government is not delivering in accordance to the aspiration and welfare of the people, then it can safely be implied that it has failed and should go! This  cannot in any terms be considered as democracy as a system, is being derailed, as we are being made to believe in Pakistan.

If an elected government is delivering, then it has all the right to complete its mandated tenure, but if it proves to be inept and a failure and has lost the people’s confidence in them, then there is no compulsion that they should continue to misrule and destroy the country!

In the latter situation the best moral and democratic practice to be followed could be that they should themselves accept their failure, offer to dissolve and call for a fresh election.  Unfortunately there appears to be lack or rather total absence of such moral courage in politicians. In other words, when an elected government loses the popularity and confidence of the majority of the people, then it is wise not to stick around and wait to be booted. Best way around would be to go back to the same people and seek their fresh vote of confidence. My contention is that politicians should, by themselves evolve such moral courage that they should accept failure and desist from retaining power by hook or crook. Their stubborn attitude is what compels the third force to overthrow them and take over the reins. What should be most important above all considerations is the national interest and not self-interest.

I am not implying that any undemocratic or extra-constitutional methods of removal of an elected government should be deployed. But I see nothing fruitful in the argument that failed governance should be allowed to continue and endanger the very existence of the country.

It is due to the greed of retaining power by our politicians in spite of their failure, that the ground gets paved for dictators to move in and grab power! Their own selfish interests are usually the cause for their downfall. The truth is that the current government has been successful to survive all this time, only by appeasing oppositions and cuddling them, not by working for the welfare of the people at the grass root. The frustration within the masses has boiled to a point where they cannot wait any more.

Honestly speaking, practically all the civilian governments which came into power were supported by the same establishment with ‘external’ blessing, of course! It is a case similar to the pot calling the kettle, black. In all earnestness , if the politician’s wish for the establishment to become subservient to civilian rule, they themselves have to resist the temptations of coming in to power from the back door.

Popular and peaceful people pressures are part of the democratic norm. That was how the Judges got restored and a dictator made to resign. This is a recent precedent for our country.  It is fine, when a dictator has to be pushed to pack up bags, then why not a failed government which could be leading the country to certain doom. The objection to people pressure being accounted as undemocratic would appear to be maintaining dual standards.

The present government has completed 80 % of their tenure and the number of crisis confronting the nation compound day by day. How do you propose to convince anyone, that what hasn’t been achieved in this time would be eventually be fixed in this 20% of the stipulated period?

Thus in all fairness and in the best interest of the country, I believe it’s not a governments 100% right to govern till the end of a mandated period of time. Rather, if they want to strengthen democracy, they should gracefully step down and revert to the masses to seek a fresh vote of confidence.



Mushtaq Sethi

About the author

Mushtaq Sethi is a social activist and freelance analyst and writer.

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  1. Very well written analysis Mr M Sethi. I think all those with an open and sane mind would find it hard to disagree with you. This failed group of lousy politicians who have given nothing but constant defame and shame to the nation’s already shaky confidence day in and day out. How can they save the democracy when they themselves are the ones virtually mutilating it to their likes. Indeed its time that if these jokers need to keep whatever image they have at least in their own worker’s and supporters mind, they should step down and let the dice roll and call it a game.
    And May God help us, and we use our brains and votes together, make a wise decision, and completely change the whole course, elect and give those a chance who have not let the nation down and show positive signs of vision and patriotism.
    The year 2012 has been titled the ‘Year of Change’ so let us change the current scenario of our political canvas and add new colours and shades which would brighten the nation’s current bleak future into a rather vibrant and bright one…InshaAllah!

  2. Very true! I believe we need to amend our Constitution so we can remove a government which has zero self-respect and has no shame. Ideally speaking, they should have resigned a long time back. Under normal circumstances, someone from the opposition should have passed a no confidence vote a long time back, but right now the majority is in a coalition with the Government, which is a clear loophole in our system. There is no way of getting rid of the crooks who feel no shame with respect to their terrible performance!

  3. Excellent analysis and truly narrated point of view…The only problem is that these shameless politicians will never learn to accept that they are not doing well,that the masses are fed up with them and it is time to pack up and go home…They only only believe in getting booted out!

  4. That is correct,democracy which is a system through which governments get formed cannot be derailed by mere change of power shifting to another group of people…It is something like “the King is dead long live the King” phrase depicting the ruler has died but the Kingdom lives on….Super article Mr.Sethi.

  5. Well, I think there is no second opinion on this concern neither do we have any point to resent you on this topic as its a very simple talk in other countries as Politician takes such steps themselves as you have mentioned above in your Article……………

  6. You are all totally correct. But democracies around the globe are being bought and sold. In a few words: The power of the devil’s in it’s most cherished possession: financial system. As long as there is financial rewards, the power of the vote is suppressed. …..Take it from there.

    We need powerful individuals with consciences of steel – do we have them?

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