The ‘only benefit’ of our democracy

Our ‘political’ history is not only the history of our internal differences and failure of our ‘political’ leaders to come up to the public’s hopes and stand by their promises. Suppose, we look at the start of our national history. Those early leaders have overburdened problems of the immigrants’ most significant departure and settlement – the Jammu Kashmir issue and the distribution of national assets between Pakistan and India. Our politicians face racial, regional, language, and numerous other internal issues. On the other hand, we can’t deny that our political leaders have been striving for their parties’ success and interests, and in many cases, they ignored the national interests. Where did they fail in protecting our national interests? Without mentioning all and going into detail, I say some of these.

1) They couldn’t prepare a constitution for the nation within the first 10 years. 2) They couldn’t show loyalty to the national language, and its implementation is still pending. 3) Under international pressure, they bowed down before the economic/borrowing policies, which were not in our national interest. That is why now we find ourselves slaves of international monetary agencies. 4) We could have saved the 1965 war and continued the speedy transformation of our society from backward to modern. 5) In former East Pakistan [now Bangladesh], we could not respond to the Indian propaganda and take necessary actions to satisfy that part of our population.

6) Enemy continually worked against our economic development. It kept us deprived of the Kalabagh Dam’s enormous economic benefits and hindered our gas and petroleum exploration efforts. Some of our ‘politicians’ became the enemy’s mouthpiece, and others couldn’t combat them. 7) No sagacious steps could be taken to settle the Urdu-Sindhi language conflict and meet the enemy-sponsored militant movement. 8) The politicians themselves become the primary beneficiary of the corruption and plunder, and the nation couldn’t get rid of the mafia working in different sectors. 9) For a neat and clean democracy, we need an above ninety percent literate population. We need compulsory free quality education for all. The negative mind of our ‘politicians’ did not accept it at any stage.

10) India and Bangladesh got rid of the extensive land hoarding system. In our country, we were cheated even by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who gave the slogan of ‘Islamic socialism’ to the nation and vowed to finish the feudal system. After his success in the elections, he claimed in an interview with a western journalist that he had thrown away socialism for hundreds of years. Our landlord politicians stood with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to save their lands because Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman had announced that he would distribute the agricultural lands into pieces of twelve acres each. These landlord politicians were the leading cause of the separation of East Pakistan.

11) Our politics couldn’t change the bureaucracy and police systems after getting the freedom. Their attitudes and actions were the same during the colonial days. Ordinary people couldn’t feel any difference. Landlord politicians kept the same tyranny and same dreadful police in independent Pakistan. 12) In Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, precious mines of gemstone, coal, copper, and gold are under the control of the ‘mafia’, and many resources are left unexploited. The main reason is the purchased men by the foreign powers in the bureaucracy. 13) The first and the utmost duty of our politicians is to infuse the national spirit of unity and harmony among the country’s citizens. Some of our politicians create regional and linguistic hatred for successful politics.

14) People’s training and imparting to them consciousness of etiquette, honesty, and sympathy is the primary duty of a politician. Our politicians themselves involve in mud slinging and inappropriately abusing each other, and people can learn only blind emotionalism and slogan chanting from them. 15) Organizing and expanding political parties to the village level, the potential of their workers must be used for welfare purposes and a better quality of life. But there is no such organization or program for our leaders. They confine their activities only to the inauguration of foundation stones and photo sessions for minor charity programs. This is Jamaat-e-Islami only, with a strong wing for social welfare work in the country.

The ‘only benefit’ of our democracy which is observed by everyone is that during the general elections, billions of rupees come out of the pockets of the plunderers. The general public feels important at least for the period of the election campaigns. The position of some streets and many clever people gets better during the election days. There is a sort of hustle and bustle everywhere in the country, many people become busy in many ways. Polarization goes to peaks, and general hatred and tension among the workers and common people are created. Ordinary people who receive very rich and elite class personalities at their doors know it very well that most of them are just cheaters who if elected will never see them again and will remain busy in their plundering. That is all about our politics.

With 50 years of teaching experience, Professor Dr. Shafiq Jullandhry, a noted writer and author of award-winning books, is former chairman of Punjab University's Mass Communication Department (now School of Communication Studies); also heads Elaaf Club and Pakistan Media Guild as president. He can be reached at