Pakistan's political crisis: Is democracy endangered?
The Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Ashraf, sparking heated debate about the future of Pakistan's democracy.
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“Whether our intellectual elite acknowledge it or not, Qadri’s scripted and choreographed speech [on Tuesday] touched on all the points that the masses feel are important. It’s a shame that it takes an undemocratic figurehead to exploit the gaps that the democratic leadership has left in the body politic through its willful negligence,” Khuhro says.Skip to next paragraph
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While in the past Pakistan has seen military coups collaborating with the judiciary, legal experts feel that with the restoration of the current Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry – ousted by the military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf in 2007 – the judiciary has become fiercely independent and is not bedfellows with the military anymore.
What Pakistan does suffer from, say analysts, is a bad example of leadership.
“Pakistan has seen so many years of military rule that politicians are overawed by their authority and power, and sometimes, just like military, they think they are also above the law,” says Anwar Mansoor Khan, former attorney general of Pakistan. He resigned from the government in 2010 after the government refused to listen to his advice to abide by the decision of the Supreme Court to ask Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
Mr. Khan stressed the fact that the judiciary has started questioning the military too, pointing to the recent examples of the Supreme Court's public grilling of the military over illegal abductions in a case about missing persons.
Meanwhile, Geo Television has started to run a campaign on its channels to raise awareness about the difference "between government and democracy."
In light of upcoming elections, “we want to remind the government, the armed forces, and the public that they need to distinguish between the state and the system,” says Imran Aslam, president of Geo TV.
“When there are ominous clouds about the derailing of the whole democratic process,” he says, “we also want to remind everyone that there is a system in place; and with an independent judiciary and the media, there is no need for any unconstitutional measures.” He adds that governments come and go, but the system remains.
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