Rulers to comply with their Obligations
30 January, 2014
By Zaheerul Hassan
Year 2013 would be remembered as smooth transaction of powers from one democratic govt to the other. The democracy lovers truly believe in the supremacy of this form of government due to its main characteristics of electing rulers through ballot and then provide them chance to comply their promises and programs made with the whole population prior of contesting the elections.
U.S. president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) definition of democracy «Government of the people, by the people, for the people» in this modern era has become the most challenging form of government - both for politicians and for the people. Because, the states of third world countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have though adopted the system but at the same time failed to follow the essential elements of democracy: separation of powers, basic civil rights / human rights, religious liberty and separation of religion from state. Notably, the revealed essential elements were formulated in 17th/18th centuries and being followed true letter and spirit in the successful democratic countries like UK and U.S.
In fact, politics is the process through which communities pursue collective goals and resolve communal issues leading to disagreements and or socio-political conflicts. Civilized societies premeditate for their preferred governmental system endorsing ideological foundations of the nation. Obviously Pakistan's favourite system of governance is democratic system as against the rigid schemes of authoritarian rule. People of Pakistan having used their sovereign rights to participate in political process of elections, elected their own representatives to govern them. Thus authorizing the elected members of parliament to hold public offices and make legitimate decisions to run the affairs of state. The elected representatives, however, remain accountable for their actions, as the system of electoral democracy empowers the voters to take away the powers of elected members, if they fall short of popular aspirations and or grossly violate public views / fundamental ideology. Elections become the principle mechanism to elect public representatives for governance while the system adequately provides procedure to impeach the public office holders.
Unfortunately Pakistani democracy depicts different ground reality, as voters after having elected their representatives virtually become subjects of powerful elite who tend to shatter all hopes of voters by neglecting their social problems, financial difficulties and psychological distress. Promises made during election campaign are quickly forgotten while perks of public offices are fully enjoyed.
Another weak aspect of our ruling system is poor governance and presence of corrupt mafia in bureaucracy. The ruling elite just after taking over their offices due to their incompetency start playing in the hands of bureaucrats. Therefore, the bureaucratic channels really proving main hindrance between elected representatives and its voters. The policy makers instead presenting true pictures to the elected bodies only prepare policies just to please their bosses. The elected representatives instead of becoming legislators prefer to poke their noses in local bodies' affairs. The ruling elite is avoiding holding of local bodies' elections in Punjab and Sindh since they are not interested to leave the control of the local bodies' institutions. Resultantly, the various government departments have been converted into personal domain of the politicians and corrupt bureaucracy. Thus, such types of institutions are not performing their jobs in public interests.
However, still there are some well reputed institutions like judiciary and defence establishments, which are free from political involvements and do take independent decisions in the betterment of the general public. In this context, country's Defence Housing Authorities (DHA) is the establishments, which can be quoted as successful example of such like institutions. In real estate business DHA is being considered as safe hub with rich business activities. Out of metropolitan cities, Defence Lahore, is the only locality where foreign, local investors and businessmen ready to invest and run their business under the safe and conducive environment.
Oversees Pakistani prefer to reside in DHA over others societies, due to oblivious reasons like, secure environment, free of fraud sale and purchase of properties, good education, cleanliness, free from traffic congestion, pollution free areas, greens, and good hospital facilities. Another, contribution of DHA is to employ deserving people on merit in its different sub departments. Presently, only DHA Lahore has over 3000 employees who are providing excellent services to the inhabitants of the society. In short, political elite should supervise the government institutions under the rules and regulations rather than running these for their personal interests. The elite should learn the experience of DHA in the case of running housing societies.
Irony of the fate is that same elite group gets elected over and over again and election campaigns are held as rituals. Some people assert that voters due to their extreme poverty, poignant standing, lack social influence and political power become trading pawns in the hands of politicians who regard elections as windows of business and openings to plunder national wealth through all possible means.
Most of the elected representatives in National Assembly (NA) and Senate hardly make any worthwhile contributions as they remain absent during active sessions of Parliament and lower / upper houses are adjourned due to lack of quorum. The process of essentially required legislation remains blank and weary. The voters' aspirations turn into hopeless ordeal, dejection and despondency. They also remain oblivious of world politics and or philosophical aspirations of great leaders like Nelson Mandela and others. Resultantly they get conditioned in habit learning to promote personal interests and show total callousness towards torment of their voters.
Concluding, I must say that the inhabitants of parliamentarians have an obligation to seriously engage in the process and try to learn from leaders like “Nelson Mandela” who with little educational background through away foreigners and put the country at the right path. Political elite must make themselves as law-abiding citizens and must realize that they are legally accountable for their actions. Elected representatives must know that have been empowered by the voters and hence the need to explore the possibility of meeting voters' aspirations. It's time for them to reciprocate and allow devolution of power to take place empowering the people to arrange self governance. It would definitely entail them in holding of Local Bodies elections at priority. Parliamentarians must concentrate on legislation and power be delegated to local representatives. Of course, these elected local bodies representatives will be able to run their respective Union Council. Moreover, compliance with the promises is the only answer of moving the country upward.
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