THE STATE OF DEMOCRACY IN PAKISTAN: THE RETURN OF POLITICS?

THE RETURN OF POLITICS?

The formation of the government by the Pakistan’s People’s Party in coalition with other parties’ begat hopes that a genuine democratic transition was taking place. They took measures that amounted to rollback of policies initiated and made my Musharaf.’In April 2010, the National Assembly fulfilled a long standing PPP vow to overturn non democratic constitutional amendments made under Musharaf. On April 8, the body unanimously passed the 18th Amendment bill, which President Zardari signed in as law’ (Konstradt, 2010:60). ‘Among the most notable of the 102 clauses of the bill were those removing the president’s power to dismiss the prime minister and Parliament, transferring to the Prime Minister the lead role in appointing armed services chiefs, ending the court’s abilities to suspend the Constitution; limiting the President’s ability to impose Emergency rule; removing the bar against prime ministerial candidates who had previously served two terms, changing the name of the North Western Frontier Province to Pakhtunkhwa; and ceding four new Senate seats for non Muslim minorities’ (Konstradt, 2010:60). However, in the scheme of things, this amounts to tinkering as the same old power structure and the institutions underpinning it remain entrenched. Payday Loans Online

‘The February 2008 elections enabled a transfer from the military to civilian rule but the result amounted to change within the prevailing patronage networks more than a shift from one political ideology to another. More over, the policy making autonomy of the PPP dominated legislature remained seriously circumscribed by the military and the judiciary’ (Matthews, 2011:3). ‘There were reasons to believe that the situation was qualitatively different from previous transition patterns (Fruman, 2011:25). ‘However, one again, the transition versus consolidation dilemma resurfaced: while the politicians created a coalition durable enough to overthrow and incumbent, they could not hold it together once the incumbent was ousted’ (Fruman,, 2011:25). Of late, there have been new developments which are held to be as an augury of democratic transition in Pakistan. Activism and intervention into domains of politics by the judiciary of Pakistan constitute the thrust of these developments. The question is: can this judicial activism be a prelude to substantive democracy in Pakistan?