Democracy, Musharraf style

H K. Dua’s front-page editorial, “It’s only limited democracy: Pak army retains control” (Dec 17), rightly calls the political turmoil in Pakistan as a naked power-game being played at its most cynical. By doffing his uniform, lifting the emergency and ordering elections on January 8, President Musharraf has temporarily silenced his critics both at home and abroad.

However, on the flip side, democracy in Pakistan hereafter will be run literally at the whims of the President and his pliant generals, as long as they let him survive. Make no mistake, Musharraf is a Machiavellian politician who has cleverly played to the gallery ever since ousting the duly elected government of Nawaz Sharif on Oct 12, 1999.

Even now as a civilian President, he will not hesitate to dismiss elected government(s) at the drop of a hat. It does not augur well for us to have such an autocratic despot running a ‘sham’ democracy, by force, in our neighbourhood. Nor will it contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the subcontinent.

Brig GOVIND SINGH KHIMTA (retd), Shimla


The writer rightly stated that the lifting of emergency will not resolve the tensions in Pakistan. Mr Musharraf’s recent decrees have effectively muzzled the press, emasculated the judiciary and made him impregnable before Parliament and the courts. The emergency was lifted only to gain international acceptability from key western countries which support Pakistan, including the US.

Ending the state of emergency will not bring an end to the growing uncertainty surrounding Musharraf as he faces opponents, ranging from the community of lawyers and civil activists to journalists. The best way for him is to develop and nurture a moderate political centre and let true democracy prevail in Pakistan.

Dr MANDEEP SINGH, GN Khalsa College, Yamunanagar


The basic questions facing Pakistan remains unanswered even after 60 years of its existence. After all what is wrong with Pakistan? What gives space to the Pak army to intervene in the country’s polity? Are the persisting socio-economic factors pertaining to illiteracy, ignorance, poverty, unemployment and others responsible for it? Why did the democratic forces fail to take roots in Pakistan?

One major factor responsible for major socio-economic problems of the country is that Pakistan has proclaimed itself a theocratic state where it is impossible to find a free thought in its subjects. People with captured thoughts can very easily fall in line to a dictatorial system of politics.

Theocracy and democracy are an antithesis to each other. In such a state, forces of fundamentalism get so much strengthened that they start ruling the roost. Political leaders running a government become fearful of them and they start pleasing and appeasing them. Independent thinking of the people gets lost.



Mr Dua’s front-page editorial was timely. In his interview to Lally Weymouth in Los Angles Times-Washington Post (The Tribune, Dec 17), President Musharraf clearly told the interviewer that the obsession with the Western type of democracy with civil liberties and human rights is not correct.

Obviously, it does not suit Pakistan when the country is to be ruled by him as a civilian President. He needs dictacracy (dictatorship spiced with democracy) to become a saviour of Pakistan. After all, he imposed emergency to show it to the whole world that he was the saviour of the country.

V.R. SETHI, Shimla


We the university students should be taught about the Pakistan-brand of democracy. Because such democracies have managed to survive in today’s world order. We have two glaring examples — Pakistan and Myanmar.

The first kind of democracy falls in the category of India and US where the polity is free. The second is of China, where single-party democracy rules the roost. The third brand (Pakistan or Myanmar) can be named military democracy.

It would now be very difficult for Pakistanis to aspire for Indian-type of democracy. Their army officers are professional and wise and have turned to other fields over the last 60 years to become successful industrialists, builders, bankers and politicians. In the process, they have carved out a niche in the nation’s turbulent politics. So why not accept this brand of democracy and include it in the syllabi of our university?

NEENA SHARMA, Dhanotu (Mandi)

Woes of agri graduates

IN Punjab, the minimum qualification for the post of Agriculture Development Officer is M.Sc (Agriculture). But what about the agriculture graduates? As they remain unemployed, they should be appointed Sub-Inspectors (Agriculture). Alternatively, they should be given a licence for pesticide and insecticide dealership.

In India, 79 per cent population depends upon agriculture, but the government does not seem to bother about agriculture graduates.




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