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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Feb 11, 2013

Lecture on democracy: ?Pakistan lacks prerequisites

Democracy
might not exact the best revenge in Pakistan unless the prerequisites for
democracy are provided in the country.

This
was the central premise of a lecture by Naseem Bajwa, a barrister and the
editor of The Voice, a UK-based journal. The lecture, titled “Democracy: The
Sociopolitical and Cultural Preconditions”, was organised by the Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad on Monday.

Bajwa
said the Pakistani political system lacks some basic preconditions for
democracy such as democratisation of political parties, integrity, service
delivery, accountability and strict adherence to the rule of law.

Without
introducing radical reforms and preconditions to democracy, the current inept
and corrupt system is unable to produce any tangible change and would further
destabilise society, he said.

Bajwa
said he expected change through mass movements rather than initiative from the
political elite.

“The
change would come from social movements geared by the sheer weight of people as
happened in the case of Egypt and Tunisia, or in the restoration of Chief
Justice in Pakistan,” he said.

Bajwa
also supported local government during his lecture.

“Decentralisation
of government to elected district, tehsil and community councils would increase
accessibility and accountability at grassroots level, which is the norm in
other democratic societies,” he said.