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Threats to lingering democracy in Pakistan
Pakistan has already become a fragile state and is particularly facing severe challenges such as as weak institutional capacity, poor governance, terrorism and political instability. Democracy is more likely to be responsive to the grievances that can lead people to adopt violence.

Formulating and implementing socio-economic reforms is easier via democracy. Reforms this way will not only increase the size of the pie but also share it more equitably. In the long run, democracy can break the political and economic hold of narrow elites and feudals, and can allow the kind of civil society that pursues free expression, and reduces the corruption that plagues authoritarian societies.

But democratization cannot be an immediate panacea. Pakistan recently saw a religio-political movement led by Allama Tahir-ul-Qadri (TuQ) under the banner of his religious institute known as Minhaj ul Quran to fulfill his own bizarre agenda, which is now unfolded, and was considered as a big threat to democratic process of the country.

Thousands of men, women and children from different walks of life joined the long march and spent almost four nights in the sizzling weather of Islamabad for a hope that their struggle will bring a revolution in the socio-economic and political spectrum of Pakistan.

Whereas, rest of the nation and citizens of Islamabad were in a tense situation as there was the risk of terrorist attacks, and Interior Minister Rehman Malik appeared on different TV channels several times while flagging this issue that there are threats from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which increased the fragility of the state as the recent suicide attacks by the same outfit LeJ in Quetta shook the whole nation but apparently TuQ did not care about it. However, the coalition of ruling parties had dialogue with TUQ and the long march ended peacefully.

Meanwhile, the ruling party Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) announced the dates of general elections, which are now expected in the first week of May 2013. The more bitter challenges will come on the surface now that how to counter terrorist attacks during the political campaigns, which will be initiated by all existing parties as we have recently seen in KPK where the minister of ANP, Bashir Blour, along with his comrades lost their lives in an attack by the Taliban.

The same attacks can be expected during election days as thousands of voters will be attending political gatherings, and this will increase the vulnerability of the existing democracy. Who and how the security of voters will be ensured is a big question mark.

The Taliban are not going to lay down their arms and participate in a democratic process because for them, democracy puts human laws ahead of “God’s Law.” Several banned outfits are functioning in all corners of Pakistan including Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistani (SSP) and Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) -  all of whom can initiate heinous attacks on different party gatherings, might further push this state into anarchy. Elections are hovering on the heads of people but they do not know that what kind of security measures, so far, will be taken during election campaigns.

Like the current move of derailing democracy where all forces including the left and right wing political parties got united on the same page to save democracy - now need to re-unite against the upcoming security threats by militant groups by taking immediate security steps before the lingering democracy stops breathing in the country, and long boots invade democratic institutions.
(This citizen journalist is based in Islamabad, Pakistan)

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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