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Through The Lens of Democracy

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It’s a peaceful protest, some say. Others insist it’s unconstitutional and the sit-in should end in Islamabad immediately as the federal government has been brought to a standstill by limited access to the Parliament, Secretariat and the Supreme Court. The protesters say they seek justice from those representing them in the Parliament and other supreme buildings.

Democracy is a system of governance by the people and for the people. The parliament therefore is supreme, as it is a house of representatives. They discuss issues of those they represent and debate for a resolution.

In a situation where a sessions’ attendance is questionably low and matters pertaining to the constitutional rights of the common man are not discussed, a trust deficit develops among the general voting bank and the representatives. This has happened in Pakistan today.

The voter has come out on the streets all over the country. What has led a group of people to stand together irrespective of their economic and social differences? There has to be a common denominator that makes such a diverse group ‘flock’ together. That denominator is electoral injustice.

The situation has been mishandled – the parliamentarians are representatives of the common man who has voted for them. Please play that role and REPRESENT your people in the house, be THEIR voice. They need to be given that hope that the system of governance favors THEM and not only the ruling elite.

The protesters may ‘fail’ this time and be made to leave, but they will return. If you want the common man to go home and not return to the streets again, make that white building on the Constitution Avenue a symbol of HOPE and JUSTICE that safeguards economic rights of the people.    

The self-assumed political analysts on social media see the joint-session of the Parliament as a SUCCESS of democracy. Is this ‘success’ of democracy? Parliamentarians meet to give fine speeches, blame the others political career and malign characters. What about the thousands gathered right outside the same building chanting slogans for justice? If we agree that the success of ‘democracy’ is in true representation of and giving priority to the common man, then why not reconsider and evaluate the current electoral system and FIX IT at all costs so people CHOOSE their parliamentary representatives?

It is time that the elected Prime Minister reflects responsibility of his position; the Prime Minister is responsible for all citizens of the country regardless of their political affiliation. Remaining silent and ignoring the demands of the opposition and the people it represents, is not ‘gracefulness’ – it is incompetence. A Prime Minister should lead his cabinet and the citizens by example. Take responsibility of the wrongs done by your regime and stand firm for which is right.

The other main figure of the current political scenario is Imran Khan, the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Millions of youngsters (still) see hope in him and have stood beside him for 22 days today despite the extreme weather conditions and use of force against them– he needs to be more responsible by revisiting his camp of advisors in the future and listen to those with a clear intent.

Followers who believe in an ideology (Imran Khan claims his followers do) do not either give up on the leader easily or be silenced. The millions supporting Imran Khan and PTI see him as a symbol of hope, a leader who can empower them to stand for their rights. You, Imran Khan, then have a responsibility of their future; each action you take, regardless of your advisor, has an effect on the dreams of all those who stand by you today.

All camps fighting to safeguard democracy need to realize that Army is an apolitical, prestigious national institution and must be respected. Do not make attempts at politicizing it – weren’t you among those who are for democracy, as it is made to seem about that only? The Army must be commended for the role it has assumed for itself in this political fiasco.

The representatives of democracy – those in power and the opposition, come out among the common man and realize he does not care about the system we term ‘democracy’. He casts a vote just in the hope of receiving better medical facility, an enabling education system for his children and a fair, more cooperative police system that works for his safety. He is not concerned whether it’s a dictator who heads his country or an elected representative; what he is concerned about is the tax he pays is used for a better living standard for his family and not to serve the ruling elite.

In a democratic system, those in power are representatives of the people and therefore, are accountable to the general public who has voted for them. Pakistan does not need to SAVE democracy but build a system first that is by and for the people, a new version of the system.