Is democracy the best form of government for Pakistan? I need to prepare for a debate on this topic.

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Many people consider democracy an inherently more fair system of government than other systems because it gives an equal voice in government to rich and poor, old and young, men and women, and people of all religious groups alike. However, while universal suffrage seems fair and just in theory, in Pakistan there are practical issues which complicate the political landscape.

The first is that democracy can become a tyranny of the majority if it is implemented without checks and balances. A major problem is preservation of the rights of minorities. One of the goals of partition was to create out of the Indian subcontinent a homeland for Muslims. While currently Pakistan is dominated by Sunni Muslims, there are significant minorities who are Shia, Ahmadi, Hindu, Sikh, Bahai, and other religions. Blasphemy and other religious laws, often supported by the Sunni majority, can lead to persecution of religious minorities.

Next, democracy depends on fair and open elections, free from corruption and intimidation. Simply holding elections is not sufficient to create democracy unless other aspects of fair and transparent governance are in place. Also, for people to be informed voters requires two things, a strong and universal education system and a free press. In Pakistan, these foundations for democracy are not firmly established.

Thus although democracy is certainly a long-term ideal for Pakistan, it is important to focus on issues such as corruption, minority rights, and rule of law, as much or more than the putative political system.

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