November 13, 2010

Why Musharraf is so right

Pervez Musharraf. (Photo:
Pervez Musharraf is the former dictator of Pakistan. Now normally, we all hate dictators. We abhor them and think of them as despicable scum. But for some odd reason, Musharraf hasn’t met the same fate. If his Facebook fan following is indicative of any notions, then I feel he has risen from the ashes, no less.

While I will always stand up with those who clamour for Musharraf’s trial, I cannot help but agree with him on many issues and statements that he keeps churning out. This one particular statement, where he has stated that democratically elected governments have always failed Pakistan pricks my conscience. In the back of my mind, no matter how much I want to disagree with it, I know Musharraf is right. It is precisely these democratic governments which have caused the youth of this country to go into a sort of mini-revolt, and has juxtaposed a serious identity crisis on the Pakistani nation.

You might imagine that I am stating this all from personal opinion but the fact is I have examples to back up these claims with. I know that the youth of Pakistan is sick of the shenanigans of this democratic system which only brings us misery and desolation. They want a system overhaul. But whereas my opinion is not binding on anyone, I do believe that democracy, if given the time to take root properly is the only solution for this country. Introducing a one man show will never work and has never worked. We’ve seen dictators stumble and fall from good graces all because they were alone and did not take into account the opinions of those who mattered.

So what’s my play here? The trouble people have with democracy is that it has failed to live up to the expectations of the masses. While there was a lot of hoopla initially at the return of democracy to Pakistan, we soon realized that the army was still effectively in charge while the regime change hadn’t really elicited any structural changes to the establishment. Particularly disheartening was the alarming increase in corruption and the maddening economic collapse. You might imagine then, that I am a senile fool who still stands by his belief that democracy is the best policy.

Why I choose to do that has many reasons. I believe that if democracy is allowed time to take root, eventually people will realize the immense power that their votes hold. Once the democratic norms start to trickle down to the masses, no matter how slowly, people will respond positively. The vote will then become a means of accountability, and those in power will realize that. The passage of the 18th Amendment might be a fantastic achievement but the empowerment of the people still remains a dodgy goal. Why that is so is because people (the majority of us), have already started drumming about for change. That is the wrong way to go about it. The PPP won the elections and therefore it should be allowed to stay. People can see what it has done and what it hasn’t. Similarly if the PML – N comes into power in the next elections, they should have the right to maintain their government for the stipulated period of time. In this process the people will realize the importance of their voting power and will respond to those who genuinely promise to end the masses’ misery.
I have no doubt in my mind that his post will also open up a Pandora’s Box and people will harp on about how I live in a fantasy. But like always, you all are entitled to form your own opinions. That is how democracy works. A constructive and mutual system of dialogue and rational arguments is employed to thrash out a common strategy.

The need of the hour is to evolve a consensus on the most pressing issues without doubting the intentions of those who disagree with us. No one is wrong in this crisis, and every solution is meaningful. The only real issue to decide is: What is the most practical way of sorting out this mess?