On Democracy and Martial Law

*On Democracy and Martial Law*
By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

(With reference to the Posters asking Gen. Raheel to take over.

Some principles.

1. In the long term and even the short term a genuinely empowered capable, representative and accountable public governance structure is always better than a dictatorial, autocratic, non accountable one.

2. If the above does not have accountability of action and decision all other attributes become meaningless and  it morphs into a dictatorship as it has now under Nawaz Sharif. Using the trappings and symbols of democracy and ruling with the coercive reality of latent fascism.

3. A dictatorial and autocratic governance structure by virtue of its “one person” rule by fiat, while in the short term delivering quick decisions and actions, especially if that one person is also capable and honest, invariably ends up by passing existing processes, both good and bad, institutional gateways to deliver quick results. Thereby letting loose a whole system of adhocism and weakening and whole scale destruction of disciplined governing frameworks and processes as we have seen in Pakistan.

4. While ML governments delivered quick value, in the long term they destroyed or weakened our civilian institutional and governance frameworks. Which spelt disaster when corrupt and incapable civilian political leaders like Benazir, AZ and NS took over. As we see now.

4. One of the worst fall outs from a dictatorship is the loss of civil liberties and human rights. So along with speedy summary trial courts of hardened criminals and militants comes the misuse and abuse of power by the state of others who oppose, in belief and value,  a non representative governance, and becomes commonplace. Harsh arbitrary punishments are the norm, to stifle criticism and opposition.

6. But the worst is when in this totalitarian system the reps of the state machinery use the same principle to start settling scores with others, personal, professional, political. Only people with direct recourse to state henchmen have help.  All others are completely at the mercy of the state’s institutions of coercion. Police. Army. Intelligence and their own version of the judicial system.

7. In an electoral structure. However corrupt the MNA or MPA is, the common man either directly or through somebody can still reach this guy for for their Thaana, Kutchery, Naukari, needs.

Try reaching a lowly Captain in a Martial Law administrative office!

Hence we should we very careful of what we ask for when we say this country needs a *”real Martial Law”*

Unfortunately there’s no such thing as a *”real Martial Law”*.

When we use this phrase we are in fact giving voice to our inner desires of a magic wand which will change things and make them picture perfect. Far from it.

Autocratism and Dictatorship are not what this country needs. It needs *representative* good governance.

And ML is not the answer.

I’d personally like to see NS hang from the same lamppost which Shahbaz Sharif chose for Zardari. But if they are removed by other means, these terrible thugs and looters and plunderers will get another lease of political life.

If there is one thing GRS and other powerful institutions can do is to apply pressure and the fear of God for action.

Supreme Court can take action.

High Courts can take action.

NAB can take action.

Rangers can take Action.

FBR can take action.

FIA can take action.

Anti corruption can take action.

Agreed, many have sold their souls to NS. I know. But some will move and budge.

And above all, we the people have to take action.

We all look for the easy way out, always looking askance at the Army to come and change the system.

Where are we in this whole equation?

Why didn’t we hear a peep on the roads when Panama broke?

No sir, we the people must take our destinies in our own hand and come out to become the catalyst to throw the corrupt out.

Let’s not go back to the dark draconian days of ML OR dictatorship.

There’s no such thing as a *”good and real martial law”*

A possible solution?

Read my article on Electoral and Governance Reform.


A perspective only.

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