Pakistan not to end up like Indian democracy: expert

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New Delhi, Oct 14 (UNI) Even though Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has promised restoration of democracy in the country, the South Asian country will certainly not '' end up like the Indian democracy,'' an expert said.

Speaking at a lecture organised by Association of Asia Scholars here, on '' Does Democracy Have a Future in Pakistan,'' Prof S Akbar Zaidi, a Karachi-based social scientist specialising in the field of political economy yesterday declared, ''There is no question of Pakistan being a democratic country. Under no definition of terms, there is democracy, yet there are some essential features, which many democratic countries do not have.'' However, he said that the country is on its path to democratisation.

Citing the example of huge media presence in the country, he said,''There is a media boom, particularly electronic media during the regime of Gen Musharraf. Everything from sacking of Pakistan Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikar Chowdhury to lawyers' protest was aired. All media, 90 per cent of whom were Urdu news channels and newspapers, openly criticised the ruling military government.

All this give the country a very unusual twist in its political scenario,'' said Prof Zaidi.

A contradiction in Pakistan is the support of civil society that the military rule has, said Zaidi.

''For civil society in Pakistan, the question has never been that of democracy, but for them it is fundamentalism versus liberalism.'' ''For it, a westernised, socially and culturally liberal lifestyle is far more important and preferable than the messy indigenous politics essential for democracy. And that is the reason why the civil society supported Gen Musharraf. They think that only a military government can promote liberalisation against fundamentalists,'' said Zaidi.

But this is not the only reason for Pakistan to become non-democratic. ''Political parties have always welcomed and supported military powers in Pakistan'', he said.

The military in Pakistan has never faced opposition in assuming power. Coups have always been walkovers, be it in the case of Gen Musharraf or Zia-ul-Haq. ''All the coups in Pakistan till date has been without bloodshed or gun battle,'' pointed out Prof Zaidi.

The reason for this is ''the fact that no political parties want democracy in Pakistan. Their only goal is to attain power and it becomes easier when they make deal with military government and than go through the process of democratisation.'' Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's deal with Gen Musharraf strongly reinstates the point, he added.

''With compromise rather than confrontation defining Pakistan's political culture and tradition, and with willing political parties as partners, it is not surprising that the military has ruled Pakistan for 33 years of its 60 years.'' ''It is not the military which ought to be blamed for Pakistan's repeated military governments, but those who extend invitations and help it stay in power,'' concluded Prof Zaidi.


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