A woman called me and started crying over the phone. She said she had been collecting money for the last five years so...
Javed Chaudhry hosts Kal Tak on Express News. ([email protected])
A woman called me and started crying over the phone. She said she had been collecting money for the last five years so that her mother could perform hajj but each time the government increased the cost; this year the increase was by Rs38,000. She said that this was her mother’s last wish but now it seems it would remain unrealised. “If my mother dies without performing hajj, I will send the money to the prime minister and ask him to spend it on his protocol instead.”
I trembled with fear because I know Allah is very close to the hearts of the poor and He listens to the plight of the oppressed.
Another call I received was from Mansehra. Khalid Mehmood said he was a poor carpenter. However, his business was booming and prosperity knocked at his door during Pervez Musharraf’s days. Good food to eat and his children admitted to good schools. “Then I was told Musharraf is a dictator, an American agent and against Islam and Pakistan so I also shouted: ‘Go Musharraf, go’ with other people”. The democratic government came followed by slump and poverty. No money to pay the school fee, or for petrol or the utility bills. “The worst dictatorship is better than the best democracy. Please keep your democracy and return me the dictatorship.” Again I shuddered — since I like democracy but I could see that it had not delivered.
The last call was from Karachi. It was different and more interesting.
The man on the other end of the line said that Pakistan has had four military dictators: Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf. All four left the corridors of power with full protocol and their lives ended honourably. Ayub and Musharraf left the presidency with guards of honour. Musharraf is enjoying a relaxing time in London and Ayub had spent his last days on a rocking chair comfortably in his lawn. Yahya Khan’s coffin was wrapped in the Pakistan flag and was given a salute. As for Zia, when he died, the eyes of the entire nation were full of tears on his death.
Contrary to that the end of democratic leaders was not good. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged and only a couple of prisoners participated in his funeral prayers. He was buried in the darkness of the night. Two of the Benazir’s governments were dismissed disgracefully and no one came out in her support. She met a tragic death. Nawaz Sharif was arrested along with his family and was exiled. Ninety per cent of his party men betrayed him. Chaudhry Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi currently are in search of face-saving as well.
Why is it that in Pakistan dictators often do not meet unfortunate ends while democratically-elected leaders do?
“The answer is the state of poor common people” the man said. They lived better lives, filled with less pain, and they had food and medicine and this was during the time dictators were in power. As for democratic leaders instead of providing ‘roti, kapra aur makan’ for the people, they deprived them of these things and this only increased their troubles. That is why, the man said, ordinary people prayed for dictators.
“If the present rulers do not understand this point and do not wipe the tears of the poor people, the same thing will happen again.”
And then the call dropped.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 10th, 2010.
Democracy versus Dictatorship
Democracy versus Dictatorship :
In theory, democracy is the best form of government. It is the government of the people as distinguished from the government of an individual or of a class of people. It makes all the citizens interested in their country by giving them a voice in legislation. It gives them a feeling of importance and a sense of responsibility. It thus gives a meaning to their personality. Another merit of democracy is that it is less liable to revolution than other forms of government. Since people themselves elect the members of government the need of a revolution does not arise. In additions to this, a democratic government usually guarantees freedom of thought and speech. This twofold freedom is a very great advantage as it enables the individual to grow freely. Democracy thus offers the most favorable atmosphere for the development of the human personality.
Democracy literally means the rule of the people. It has been defined as government of the people, by the people for the people. Modern democracy rests on the principle of representation. The people elect their representatives by vote. These representatives attend the legislature and act on behalf other citizens. If the citizens are not satisfied with their representatives, they may not re-elect them in the next elections.
But democracy has its danger. The greatest of which is that it may be the rule of ignorance. “Nine peoel out of every ten", says Carlyle, “are fools" and citizens who are not sufficiently intelligent or educated are likely to commit errors of judgment in the casting of votes. The best men may this fail to get elected. Elections are usually matters of propaganda. However, the voters in countries like Britain and America have not proved so lacking in judgment as many of the opponents of democracy would have us believe, though it is true that our own country the people, being illiterate, rarely give evidence of sound or independent judgment. Another critic of democracy is that it is wanting in efficiency. For prompt and effective actions, unity of action is essential.
“One bad general", said Napoleon “is better than two good ones". In a multitude of minds, much unprofitable discussion takes place, whereas unity of control is needed for a vigorous national life. According to Newman, for example, the British government cannot cope with the emergencies created by war as effectively as a dictator can. This criticism, however, is not very convincing because in times of war the British prime minter usually wields the powers of a dictator. During world wars, for examples, Sir Winston Churchill faced few real difficulties as a result of the system of democracy in England. A sounder criticism of democracy in times of war would be to say that secrecy in military affairs becomes difficult, if not impossible, and that the oppositions usably lowers the morale of people by its loud condemnations of the actions of the Cabinet.
It was thought that the two world wars had made the world safe for democracy, but this forecast proved to be wrong. While democracy worked quite well in France and the English speaking countries, most other countries swung towards dictatorship. So successful and powerful did their dictatorships become, that the days of democracy seemed to be almost over.
Unfortunately, theemthods of scitatorhsip are, and have to be, ruthless. Dictatorship employed force and violence OT maintain itself. It resorts to physical compulsion, person, concentrations camps censored, intimidation purges and execution. Both n Russia and Germany countless execution was ordered for the sanity of dsicitsorhsip. A dictatorship cannot brook slightest oppositions.
Dictatorship is certainly not without its merits. As carryall poitnsour, society is anorgnaism. And not a machine. Now mechanical sytemliek the ballot-box can, therefore, prove satisfactory. The safer course is OT gives all power to a dictator. The dictator must, of course, be once who has exception amity to organize, direct and admitter. Parliamtary rule usably means gomer by clues ofpoliticans whose purviews dictator on the other hand, can concentrate all his emerges towards theupliftment and improvement of his country.
Thus, there can be no freedom of thought or speech under such asstm. Intesivece propaganda is employed, as was den s germy, to retain the sport of the people. Dictatorship, therefore by its very nature hampers the free devleoepmtn of the human personality. It does not awe for divest of political option and belief, but tends towards political regimentations or standardizations of human beings. The greatest danger of dictatorship, however, is its partiality for war as an instrument of national aggrandizement. Practically very dictate preaches war, partly because he is actuated by person amnion and partly because he suffers from an exaggerated anaionslism.
Democracy versus Dictatorship
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