So Much for Democracy
By Nadir Khan, PhD
Alta Loma, California

Benazir Bhutto tells her 19-year old son, “Democracy is the best revenge” and then turns around and in her last will and testament appoints her son and husband to leadership positions in her party. Her father did the same before he passed away. So much for democracy in your own backyard.
Politicians are well known for talking from both sides of their mouth and she showed people that she was no exception to that general principle. To really rub salt into the wound, now her party wants her to be called “Martyr for Democracy!”
A political party whose name includes the word “People” in its name completely overlooks not only the membership but the leadership of her organization and appoints two of her family members to positions of responsibility without any input from any outsider. The son has hardly lived in Pakistan and is a first year student at his mother’s alma mater and the husband is well known for his corruption during her years in office.
How does one justify these flagrant violations of simple democratic processes by Western educated people? There is simply no way to justify these practices. This is not a game of monopoly played on the carpeted floor of a family room on a Saturday evening. This is the future of a country. And to deal with it in such a casual manner is a slap in the face of democratic processes.
Adding insult to injury is a compliant and obedient party hierarchy which immediately fell into line and followed her orders like Musharraf’s toadies. If Musharraf were to do something like that, one would understand because the guy is absolutely clueless about democratic norms.
One starts wondering whether education really makes a difference or if an anachronistic and outdated feudal upbringing has a deeper and lasting impression? Why is there such a dichotomy between what people say and what they really do? Is public persona more important than public good? Is a political party a vehicle for change and transformation or an instrument to perpetuate family control and dominance? Is there a future for organizations which are used to gain certain personal goals rather than the common good? These are questions which the people in Pakistan need to answer before February 18.
Knowing whatever little we know of ground realities in Pakistan, we will probably never know who killed her. But we can be absolutely certain who killed democracy in her party.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.