Difference between Indian Democracy And Pakistan Democracy
Basically the people of Pakistan are genetically no different from those of India. Pakistan was carved out of the Indian provinces of Baluchistan, Sindh, Punjab and the tribal belt of Pathans. People speaking the language of these regions- Baluchi, Sindhi, Punjabi and Pashtun- are also found in India also except that they are Hindus while those in Pakistan are Muslims.
Functioning Of Democracy
Since 1947, India has had 16 General elections held at five year intervals which had voted in governments for five year terms. All the elected governments had completed their five year terms except for four which had lasted for less. In the case of Pakistan its democratic functioning was interrupted from 1947 to 1969, 1979 to 1988 and 1999 to 2007. During its 68 years of existence it had been under the rule of military dictatorship for almost 39 years. It held its first democratic election only in 1970 and was ruled by elected governments in 1970 to 1979, 1988 to 1999 and 2007 to 2015.
Treatment of Minorities
Despite being a Hindu nation, India provides equal opportunities to its Non Hindu Muslim and Christian minorities. No Citizen of India faces discrimination on account of his Muslim or Christian background. This is not so in Pakistan. Not only is Pakistan a declared Islamic state but Hindus are barred from occupying certain position within the Government. While Indian minorities are growing larger annually the minority population of Pakistan is decreasing.
Rule of Law
Both countries are governed by elaborately defined set of laws made by the Parliament of elected representatives of the people. However most of these laws are very poorly implemented. Most personnel of the Police force are not only corrupt but dishonest to the core. The average policeman in both India and Pakistan is overworked and lacks motivation. However in India the public is more outspoken and uses the media and judiciary to rectify problems in the rule of law. In Pakistan the situation more difficult as the ordinary citizen has spent more time under dictatorship than a democratic government.
For democracy to work the voter should feel free to make their choice. Such choice can be made if they are empowered to so through education that will give them, access to information on parties, candidates and policies. Such voters will also be aware of their rights and what when these are denied. In India 85% of the voters live in rural areas, have low literacy level and have little access to TV or Radio sets. The situation is much worse in Pakistan.
A Political Class
The political parties in both countries are dominated by individuals or families, who are socially dominant in their constituency. They are usually financially rich and own considerable property. These individuals and families members have dominated the political scenario for generations denying opportunities to new faces. They also have the backing of dominant and active local gangs. Though elections are held under the watchful eyes of security forces, intimidation of the ordinary voter takes place at a much subtle level. In India a change is taking place as witness in the last election as voters had voted out parties with traditional leadership and supported a radically new individual. In Pakistan however the status quo is continuing and made worse by the gradual rise of religious parties and religious militancy.
A successful democracy not only require an impartial judiciary but also one that feels free to take decisions that are controversial and unpopular but necessary in the larger and long term interest of the society. Some decisions may appear sound in terms of principles but could be harmful to national interest. In India Judiciary has been unable to provide basic justice in real time. Consequently cases have been pending and under trials languishing in Jails, for several decades. It is unable to provide protection to witnesses and victims. Consequently they are vulnerable to intimidation by offenders who are then let off by the courts due to lack of evidence. The situation in Pakistan is made worse due to the rise of religious militant groups.
Both the print and electronic media in India and Pakistan enjoy the basic freedom to criticize and challenge the party and government in power. However the Indian press is much freer than its counterpart in Pakistan. In Pakistan the Press in recent years has come under pressure from the Military and the Jihadist. Many Pakistani journalists have fled to the west from where they publish their reports. Some journalist have been brutally beaten up or threatened by terrorist and secret service agencies. In India however such attacks and intimidation of journalist do not occur. There has been a case where journalist have been poisoned or burnt to death but these are rare cases. Indian press has strong liberal and secular values unlike the Press in Pakistan which cannot go against religious extremism.
So difference in the democracies of both these countries is one of degree .Both are developing democracies. India has been able to handle it better and is gradually able to overcome the challenges. Democracy in Pakistan is flawed due to its Islamic background and attempt to build a hybrid Arab culture.
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