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Democracy - A game of power politics
Muhammad Faheem
The Frontier Post
December 07, 2012

University students shouts anti-U.S. slogans in front of President Barack Obama`s effigy during demonstration in front of Afghan Parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, October 25, 2009.

It is a misnomer to call democracy as a system of life. In reality democracy is a kind of government which claims to be `of the people by the people and for the people` which it is not. Instead it is a game of power politics. In principle every type of government is working under a system.

In case of democracy, we can safely say it is living under and nurtured by the capitalistic system. The statement of an American Senator of the past is on record which says, “Our real asset is the capitalistic system and our democracy is working as a protective shield for this system”. The system has made democracy a hostage in its hands. Notwithstanding the negative aspect of its authorizing the people and rulers as lawgivers, in place of Allah, it does have some plus points also on its credit. It is because that no falsehood can stand aloof on its own unless it has embodied in itself some traces of truth and righteousness. Let us make a comparison of democracy with two other types of governments, the dictatorship and the Caliphate.

A commonalty between the dictatorship and democracy is that in both the types of government the right of legislation has been taken from Allah and given into the hands of human beings. The only difference is that in dictatorship it is a single person as the authority to do it and in democracy it is done with a majority vote of the people concerned. In this age of ours, the democratic type of government has taken the status of confirmed principle which is very difficult to be ignored in favour of some other type of governments and mode of politics. In the democratic system of politics it is the number that is the deciding factor. It is the majority that will legalize a thing which otherwise will be illegal and even harmful to the interest of the stakeholders. Despite all this, it becomes domineering when it gets the consent of majority. It is here that the people say, “People are counted in democracy and not weighed”. The value and weight of the vote of highly knowledgeable, wise and genius person carries the same weight and value as is that of a good-for-nothing fellow, a dacoit and criminal person in the society who is never acceptable in any way to any member of the same society.

Today`s Muslim is quite oblivious from and has no concern with the type of government Allah has prescribed for him which is named as Caliphate or Khilafa. It is the institution where a man of high moral and integrity is appointed as the head of the state, named as Khalifa. Such a person is not only a personality all embracing the high moral ethos, but is also a true believer while handling the public affairs entrusted to him as trust of the people.

We, as a Muslim nation of Pakistan have a claim of being the true believers and to have acquired a piece of land on the basis of Two-Nation Theory and are under the obligation of running the state in accordance with the principles prescribed for us by our Allah. We are required, as per our pledge, to chalk out a collective system for ourselves and resuscitate the system of Khilafa keeping all the factors in view for accommodating therein that have cropped up as a result of the social evolution in the collective life of human race. The principles for such kind of a government have been given by the Law-Giver Himself, which can be deduced from the Quran and the Sunna for implementation in the affairs of the state. A model to this effect has been preserved in the record of history which is the aspiration of mankind to own it once again to put the derailed humanity on its natural track again.

It is wrong to suggest that a person should head a state simply on the counting of votes though lacking the required competence for the job. The choice of Islam would be to select a person for leading a country as its head, to be competent, pious, capable, courageous, honest, and decorated with all ethos and characteristics of a genuine leader. Moreover, such a selection must be done by sagacious people having reputation for their wisdom and acumen since the person selected has to shoulder the whole responsibility of running the affairs in the most befitted manner. Some of the minimum conditions for the selection of such a person that have been prescribed by the righteous scholars of Islam are as follow.

He must be a Muslim and his belief and ideas must not be conflicting with the basics and fundamentals of Islam. He must be male person because the choice for female to head Khilafa is not desirable. He must be sound by physical and mental health and his five senses must be in excellent condition. A disabled person on account of the debility of any organ is never fit for the job.

The man heading the Caliphate must not be coward but should be known for his bravery. He must be a wise and foresighted person having deep insight and sagacity of high standard. He must not be an easy-going and inexperienced person and must be competent to make right decisions at the right moments. He should possess the quality of justice and must save himself from indulging in any sort of sin and ill-doings.

He must possess sufficient knowledge of the Deen of Islam and should have the quality of making earnest exertion (Ijtihad) to find out solution to the problems which have not been clearly mentioned in the Quran and Sunna.

The factual position of democracy in the Muslim world is just a game of power where the Muslim rulers have sought shelter under the so-called system, with the approval of their masters in the West to keep themselves installed in power. The poor masses are exploited to the worse in the so-called democratic governments. Look at this government in power in Pakistan and in the provinces and the most precarious condition of the common man he is confronted with. The common man is suffering to the worst since the people having come to power through the vote of these masses could not deliver and do not want to deliver.

Democracy is being portrayed as to be the panacea of all ills but in reality it is not. It is the reign of media which makes white out of black and gold out of copper. It has given democracy an unparalleled status and has inculcated in the mind of the Muslims a belief that they have no alternate to democracy. It is wrong and contrary to the facts. We need to remind the believers that the world history testifies that it has seen once the most benevolent system of government, the Righteous Caliphate of the 7th century AD which had left its glorious mark on the human civilization and it kept continued its fruitful effects through centuries, albeit not of that exalted perfection. Even then the system of justice and the Divine Law continued through centuries with all its benefaction reaching the doorstep of the common man. It is time that the Muslim Ummah starts taking necessary steps to alienate from the so-called democracy which has proved to be a mirage for us. Instead we start in proper direction to initiate the system of Khilafa in the Muslim countries. This will prove a great beneficence and beatitude for not only the Muslims of the world but for the whole humanity across the globe. It is no wonder if Muhammad Mursi, the President of Egypt has started thinking on those lines. We see in the streets of Cairo and at the Tahreer Square resistance to these steps because the custodian of democracy cannot see any step towards the system of Khilafa in any Muslim country.

On the other hand the unfortunate situation is that the religious-political parties of the world of Islam in general and those in Pakistan in particular have plunged into the ocean of democracy to the extent that no contrast is noticeable in their politics to that of the secular segment of the society. They have their vested interest attached to this process and therefore, these religious persons cannot dare to denounce this game of power politics and declare boldly that Islam has given its own workable and very feasible way of running the state affairs through the system of Caliphate. It is noteworthy that the world has been experiencing the kinds of dictatorial and democratic governments and getting at the conclusion that both are unable to solve the problems humanity is facing.

This world will be gradually heading towards that system after error and trials and will finally work out that it has no alternative except to find shelter in the system of Allah, the Caliphate which has been designed by the Creator for the amelioration of the problems of humanity. We as Muslims and citizen of a Muslim state are under the obligation to sincerely believe in the teachings of Islam both in the individual and collective life. It is the secularist way of approach to limit the Islamic teachings only to the affairs of personal life and leave the affairs of public and state life to our whims and wishes albeit in conflict with the commandments of Allah. We understand as Muslims, that legislation is the sole right of Allah and the believers have to remain in the limits of what has been permitted by Allah. Similarly, the ownership of all the things in reality rests with Allah. The believers and the institutions particularly the State are the custodians of these things as a sacred trust and they have to handle them as a trust of God. Islam also emphasizes on the equality of the human beings disapproving all types of apartheid. These three dimensions of the collective life guarantee a very sublime and desirable collective living free of exploitation, repression and injustices.

Actually these so-called democratic governments are the governments of minority. In one of my previously published letters, I had quoted some figures about the election of 2008 to prove that the current government is in reality the government of minority. I am again reproducing those figures for our readers to see the facts and decide for themselves that the democratic process of electing government is just a mirage.

Suppose 4 political parties are securing votes in the ratio of 15: 25: 28: 32. The winning party will be the one with 32, as the top scorer in this case. This party will have to form the government, seemingly in majority. This winning with 32 in power will be facing an opposition of 68 % the rest put together. Understandably it does not have any basis for its popularity since it is a rule of minority. This is a pseudo-majority and a marked self-deception. This simple example very clearly testifies the irrelevance of the so-called democracy so cunningly and shrewdly forced and trusted on us. Let us study a case pertaining to the election of 2008 and see for ourselves the reality of the so-called democratic process of making governments. It is a betrayal of the modern man through the so-called democracy and is a conspiracy of few at the top against the gullible masses. The figures about the present government are as under

Votes obtained %age
PPP= 3.89
PML (N) = 2-86
PML (Q) =1.67
MQM =1.56
ANP= 0.21
PML (L) =0.21
NPP = 0.07
BNP = 0.04
PPP(S) the present (Qaumi Watan party) =0.02

This situation negates the claim that democracy is the rule of majority. It is never so. Has the time not come for us to ponder over the situation for a change and devise a complete new system of our own which is in consonance with our norms and its constituents are derived from the teachings of Islam.

This is a tested system and the world has seen its fruit once and it can be revived if the Muslims have a desire and determination for it. We the Pakistani Muslims have a solemn pledge with our Creator in this respect and we have no alternate except to revert to this God-Gifted-System called the Caliphate or Khilafa which will guarantee our liberation from the clutches of the present exploitative system beautifully but cunningly named as democracy.

© Copyright 2012. The Frontier Post

A strong civil society vital for democracy
The New Nation (Bangladesh)
December 07, 2012

Dhaka, Dec. 7 -- It is true that Pakistan has remained in the throe of a perennial multi-faceted crisis. But let us not despair about its destiny and a glorious future ahead. Pakistan a nascent state has remained caught in myriad problems ever since it came into being on August 14, 1947. These problems are both internal and external. A new nation under an inept and self-seeking leadership remained lost and distracted from its course of moving forward to progress, prosperity, and stability. Pakistan`s dilemma is that its leadership that created and struggled for Pakistan did not live long enough to set the parameters that could have transformed it into a vibrant and viable state.

In the modern times, Pakistan and India`s emergence as two independence states is a unique phenomenon that has few parallels in the history. Both the sub-continental states were the result of a sustained movement for independence kept in high gear by Muslim and Hindu leaders. For a variety of undeniable factors and divergent dynamics, these two communities could not opt to live together in one united state.

Immediately after partition of the British India; Pakistan was beset with refugees` problem and the settlement of the incoming immigrants from the territories that became part of India. This country fell into the hands of the nasty bureaucrats who were averse to making a constitution and embarking Pakistan upon a democratic course. The intriguing politicians, whose predominant lot came from the feudal classes, hijacked the political power and until this day are overt or covert power brokers and wielders. With the feudal culture still rampant and dominant, the democracy seems to be tainted and hijacked.

The perennial Kashmir issue has given ascendancy to the armed forces as the savior of the nation although it was during the military rules that Pakistan suffered ruinous setbacks and detrimental downfalls. As is commonly known, the first military ruler Gen (how could he become Field Marshall) Ayub Khan deprived Pakistan of three rivers, lending a devastating blow to Pakistan`s agricultural based economy. Yahya Khan truncated Pakistan. Gen Ziaul buried a democratic government, hanged an elected prime minster, promoted religious extremism and sectarian animus, and turned Pakistan into a mercenary hatchet man of the foreign imperialism.

Finally, Gen Musharraf played havoc with the constitution of Pakistan. He consolidated his power by manipulating with self-preserving amendments in the constitution and pushing Pakistan further into the lap of foreign hegemonic designs and reinforcing Pakistan`s mercenary role. Now this is history. With the popular elections in February 2008, Pakistan has been set on a new democratic path after almost ten years of one-man rule, and 32 years of cumulative military domination of Pakistan. Despite the ferocious and unrelenting insurgency and frequent suicide bombing, Pakistan is doing well with the rest of the world and at home.

The religious based militancy that is apace for a decade or so would have challenged the authority of state at some juncture. The thorns of sectarian and ethnic bad blood that Gen Zia had sown have been growing into full-scale stature. It was foregone that eventually, the extremism within both Pakistan or of external import would descend upon Pakistan with full fury.

Pakistan could not have saved itself from the fanaticism of the religious militants after their victory in Afghanistan.

Logically they would have come home with more victories with a view to establishing an Islamic orthodox system (caliphate) of government in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. I doubt if Pakistan or Afghanistan governments or societies could hold their advance and check their unrelenting sway as was later witnessed in Swat and northern valleys. It is here that the American and NATO forces` presence in this region, to curb and weaken these merciless brigands, looks useful. Therefore, in a way the military might of NATO and of the United States to browbeat religious frenzy and militancy has been a kind of blessing in disguise for Pakistan.

Eventually the occupation forces will have to leave Afghanistan. So primarily, it would be both Pakistan and Afghanistan that would benefit from the weakening and bludgeoning of Taliban and Al-Qaida who could have turned this region into a hell engaging Pakistan army into a perpetual conflict. If there are people, who believe that Taliban would revive Islamic glory and pristine caliphate are morons and so to speak, living in fools` paradise. If Taliban turn Pakistan into another Swat and Kabul, would we call it a genuine Islamic government?

Notwithstanding the personal objectionable character or the villainous volition of the individuals in power in Pakistan, the fact cannot be ignored that it is essentially an elected government. Still it is a democratic dispensation that is subject to some semblance of accountability and censure as exercised by media and judiciary. Gradually and imperceptibly the economy is showing resilience and revival, howsoever feeble and slow it may be.

Already the incumbent government would be completing almost five years its constitutional tenure by February 2013. Let it continue for a few more months and leave it to the people to reelect them in the next elections or cast them away in favor of new praetorians. The courts are relatively freer and so are the media and the civil society.

There is a barrage of problems for majority of Pakistan`s populace. The poverty, the insecure life, the shortage of water and power, the corruption, the unemployment, the red tape, the inadequacy of socio-civic services, the environmental degradation, and the appalling cost of living are some of the horrendous problems that afflict Pakistan. However, these problems were still there when a military junta was in power. So by comparison a democratic government, howsoever, flawed is decidedly better than a stultifying military rule that gags freedom and rules by coercion. In the present set up, at least you can express and voice your grievances and problems. In an authoritarian system, one risks your honor, life and freedom by opposing or dissenting.

My vision is that Pakistan despite its countless problems including the oft-repeated skepticism about its viability and survival will stay its course and eventually move steadfastly on the way to becoming a modern state with all attending hallmarks. The women are more empowered now, the civil society is in the making, and democratic culture is taking roots.

There is some kind of accountability although the executive has not moved fast to address the law and order and similar grave issues. A stage would arrive when civil society would be vibrant enough to press for dire action against the defaulters, outlaws, delinquents, bribe-takers, thugs, public enemies and so.

Instead of condemning or berating the government for every major and minor fault, let us see it in a broader context. At least it is being run by the people`s elected representatives. Let us strive and wish that the incumbent government can move away from its mistakes and follies, corrects its rudder, and drives the country out of dire straits. The worst democracy is better than the best dictatorship, goes the adage.

The political parties can establish their credentials as the redeemers of the nation and builders of a new Pakistan that could be prosperous, safe, strong, and with efficient institutions. The leaders of the respective fleet of parties should present their manifestos, vision and programs for the service of the nation and grandeur of Pakistan and to transform it into a stable and viable state.

They can do for so till May next year when the elections are scheduled to be held. The statement of PMNL chief Mian Nawaz Sharif connotes positive and conciliatory undertones in that he offered to have a working relationship with president Zardari because of his being the constitutional head of the state.

The belligerency, brinkmanship and mere inane sloganeering is not going to drive away the maladies and misfortunes that overcast Pakistan. With a new democratic set up, the country would be moving forward since it would be for the first time for a smooth and democratic transfer of power to the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan.

The example of Egypt is instructive for Pakistani leadership. Egypt has been blessed with an elected popular government after several decades of autocratic rule. Incumbent ruling party the Muslim brotherhood was banned in Egypt for decades. Not it is the legitimate choice of the Egyptian people to rule. Against all propaganda that it would bring theocracy have proven to be wrong. It is now acceptable even to its bitter enemies namely USA and Israel as the true and popularly elected party of Egyptian people.

Its role in bringing the Israeli-Palestinians conflict to a peaceful end has won her laurels and appreciation of the international community. Democratic credentials are the best weapon for internal and external goodwill. Democracy mirrors the collective will of the people and thus emerges as an acceptable vehicle of peace, conciliation. It brings about progress and uplift of a state through people`s chosen representatives.

We would counsel the hawks in Pakistan`s political arena to tone down their aggressive rhetoric and join the quest, mission and journey for a better and democratic Pakistan and take part in the next elections with all the enthusiasm and sincerity they can muster.

© Copyright 2012. Ittefaq Publications


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