Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Nasir Khan: Two Sides of Democracy in Pakistan

Nasir Khan, October 1, 2013

Democracy in Pakistan has two sides. For the majority, it is not more than a word which brings little comfort or change in their life. But despite all the problems and poverty in this life, they remain fully convinced of a glorious life hereafter. Their religious mentors and preachers have managed to instil such rosy prospects in their minds that they envision such a life of abundance and happiness as the ultimate prize in the eternal life. For my part, I wish them well when they get there.

But for a tiny minority it means much more: it means power, political, social and above all economic. Therefore, when they have political power in Pakistan they live a regal existence in their luxurious dwellings and manor houses surrounded by friends and allies. No doubt, this spectacle impresses friends and foes alike. They are looked upon as the uncrowned kings and queens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

But when they lose power in some shabby election or military coup then they continue to enjoy grand living in or outside Pakistan, in places like Dubai, England, France, etc. in their luxurious houses and palaces. Money is never a problem for them. The unlimited ill-gotten millions of dollars stacked in Swiss or other European banks keep them happy and content. As a favour to the Pakistani majority, they only wait to take possession again of the Presidential house or Prime Minister’s office!

Let’s not forget that Uncle Sam is always there to support them or disown them for their full loyalty or any suspicious move on their part. Even our Pakistani intellectuals eulogise this uncle. How could Pakistan have survived without American money, its patronage of some in Pakistan or without its Drone attacks, they ask.

In addition, just out of their far-sightedness, our royals keep new generation of political successors close at hand and sometimes they anoint them for the future role well in advance. During all this the vast majority keeps on chanting: Long Live this one or that one; Long Live Pakistan! Allah-o-Akbar!!

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