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Pakistani democracy : A system of vested interests

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    Pakistani democracy : A system of vested interests

    May Peace, Blesings and Glad Tidings be upon those who follow divine guidance. To all those who wish to respond to this thread, let us first establish a premise for our discussion. Let anyone who posts do so on the basis of evidence and intellectual reason and let the discussion be rational and on the topic. Jazak Allah Khair, Wa Asalaam U Alaikum.

    Democracy in Pakistan has always been a failure. But leading opinion-makers continue to call for democracy to be imposed again, rejecting past experiences on the basis that previous regimes were never truly democratic. This is the position that General Musharraf adopted in an interview to the French newspaper Le Figaro on 8 April 2002 during his referendum campaign when he said, "my goal is to establish in Pakistan a real democracy."

    The central failure of all previous democratic regimes was that they remained dominated by the vested interests of the 'privileged' and the 'powerful' such as the ruling families, the state officials, the generals, the feudalists and industrialists, and the external powers. As a result of these vested interests, Pakistan suffered power struggles, weak government, corruption, nepotism, fickle law making and bad governance. General Musharraf fully recognises the role of vested interests in the proliferation of these evils: "We want to introduce the essence of democracy and not sham democracy which promotes the privileged and their offspring. We will bring to the fore the essence of democracy." But what General Musharraf and others fail to accept is that 'real democracy' is a false illusion that has never, and will never, exist. Practical democracy will always be 'sham democracy', dominated by vested interests.

    Vested interests take root in democracy primarily through its law-making process. In democratic theory, sovereignty is for man and not for Allah; this means that the general population is supposed to decide the laws by which they will live. But, in practice, these laws are made by a small elected legislative assembly on behalf of the general population, thereby giving the legislative assembly vast, absolute powers to determine the laws that millions must obey. It is here that the powerful and the privileged find their opportunity. Powerful elite groupings will always be much more capable than the ordinary millions to influence these law makers and so manipulate the legislation that they produce, whether through legalised techniques such as election funding and lobbying, or through techniques that remain illegitimate, such as bribery and blackmail. Once law-making is controlled by powerful elite groupings, these groupings practically gain absolute power over all of the affairs of the government, the country and the general population. In other words, practical democracy results in dictatorship by powerful elites. Instead of 'rule of the people, by the people, for the people' democracy creates 'rule of the people, by the elite, for the elite'. This is the true reality of democracy. And this is the case in all democracies in the world. As for General Musharraf's insistence that he will implement 'real democracy' instead of 'sham democracy', this is a reference to particular remedies that Musharraf has introduced such as devolution, the accountability bureau and the National Security Council. However, none of these measures can ever prevent powerful elites from taking hold of the system. In fact, the true reality of these measures is that they represent a power struggle between Musharraf and his opponents whereby Musharraf is trying to change the makeup of the elite, by strengthening those elements that are loyal to him and weakening those elements that are against him. So, devolution was an attempt to create a country-wide layer of Nazims that would be loyal to Musharraf, and the accountability bureau has mostly been used to harass Musharraf's political opponents. Similarly, the National Security Council is intended to force Musharraf's political agenda on any future civilian government, in case it becomes hostage to anti-Musharraf elements within the elite. This is what American CIA director George Tenet meant in his testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on 19 March 2002 when he described how Musharraf "will still have to confront major vested interests."

    As for the democracies of the West, they are equally subject to vested interests, because this is an inherent flaw within democracy itself and consequently within every democratic country in the world. The only difference in the mature democracies is that those who are powerful have become more sophisticated in their approach, so that they generally do not need to violate the law in order to secure their interests, because the law itself has already been written in their favour. So large multinational corporations or established political lobby groups will have invested many decades and many billions of dollars in forcing their narrow agendas on the country's legislation at the expense of the interests of ordinary people. For example, a record $3 billion are officially stated to have been spent in the last US Presidential elections alone. This is different to new democracies, such as Pakistan, where legislation has not yet been strongly manipulated so the powerful must often resort to openly violating the law in order to secure their benefit. Indeed, this is what Musharraf himself has done by suspending democratic law-making. And America supports Musharraf's actions because she realises that, as a dictator, he can shortcut the lengthy democratic process and directly enforce the American plan in Pakistan. This is exactly what Milton Bearden, the former CIA chief in Pakistan, said on 2 November 1999, "General Musharraf may represent a last good chance to bring the powerful force of U.S. values to bear on the course Pakistan will choose for the new millennium." However, America is also keen to see democracy resume in Pakistan, so that all of Musharraf's treacherous actions will receive credibility and permanence. And America will continue the work of influencing Pakistan's legislators, and thus Pakistan's laws, according to American interests.

    O Muslims!

    Islam has given you an excellent system of law, the shar'ia, that is designed by the Creator of man, who knows man better than he knows himself. The Islamic shar'ia is a fixed law emanating from the divine sources, the Qur'an and the Sunnah, which are free from control by any man no matter how powerful.

    Islam does not permit powerful elites to usurp the rights of the masses, but rather Islam motivates and harnesses those who have great capability and intelligence so that their efforts benefit not only themselves but also the entire citizenship of the state. In Islam, the Khalifah is chosen by the Ummah in order to implement Islam alone and he is accountable in front of the Ummah on his implementation of Islam. Regarding each and every law that the Khalifah institutes in the state, he must satisfy the Ummah, and her representatives in the assembly, that it is derived from the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Neither the assembly nor the Khalifah have the authority to legislate, rather both are bound to an independent, fixed reference, the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

    O Muslims!

    How do you accept to take your law from the minds of men instead of from Allah, making man sovereign in place of Allah? Do you think that man-made laws can ever compare with the law that is made by Allah (swt)?

    "It is not for the believer male or female that when Allah and His Messenger decide on a matter that they should have any choice in the matter."[Al-Ahzab 36]

    O Muslims of Pakistan!

    Reject this kufr of democracy enforced by the Western imperialists and their agents; and establish in its place the Khilafah State, which will implement Islam and carry its intellectual leadership to the world

    "And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers' way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell - what an evil destination." [An-Nisa 115]

    And Army rule is not dominated by 'interests' of the generals?

    You keep going on about a Khalifa state, but remember those who would implement it have been proven to be corrupt hypocrites. The people do not exist nowdays to make this system a success, they will only bring a bad name to the system, and Islam.


      Democracy will work if we elect the right people to power. It has worked in other parts of the world, and will work in Pakistan too...

      As for Khalifah, you think that a single person from some other country, who does not know the abc of Pakistan, let alone other Muslims countries will simply govern the entire Muslim world single handedly and turn them into a paradise? Its easy to mince words, that is why this idea will never become a reality.

      Furthermore, I would only accept a democratically elected leader in Pakistan, who is a Pakistani and has the necessary expertise in third world economics to govern the country, and would like to see an excellent cabinet, with people like Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman as the minister of Science and Technology. Then we are in business.

      Pakistan goes to the polls!


        One request to Mr. Godfather... Since you say Pakistan is a secular state, then why dont you goto Indian forums (keep in mind India is also a secular country) and preach khalifah-khalifah over there too, afterall they have more Muslims than us. If you want, Abdali (J-W) can provide you with some good Indian forums too.