By Dr. Arif Javid
When MK Gandhi backed the Khilafat movement in the 1930s, MA Jinnah, who was to become the founding father of Pakistan over a decade later, condemned Gandhi and the movement and called it ‘religious frenzy’. So it’s all the more paradoxical that any thought of imposing khilafat should gain any ground in Pakistan. Alqaeeda, Daesh and TTP have joined hands in keeping Pakistan away from democratic process. They are promoting Khilafat as logical governing system for Muslims and terming democracy as un-Islamic. This narrative has the ability to absorb madrassa franchises and create chaos in society. Pakistan’s democratic system provides a legal channel to rule of law in accordance with essence of Islamic principles.
West has developed this system after analyzing and studying Islamic empires governing systems I jurists and scholars.
According to many Muslim scholars, VOTE is equivalent of BAYATI allegiance (an Islamic concept).
The system has been accepted and participated by many religious scholars and political parties reflecting the strength of this system.
Militants using force to silence are un-knowingly or knowingly going against teachings of Prophet (pbuh).
Democracy caters for all minorities, sects, ethnicities to voice their concerns.
Democracy also provides equal opportunities for all citizens to grow and prosper.
Different nations, organization and people often have different perspectives or ideologies on the meaning of democracy. Former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) defined democracy as: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”. The word “democracy” originates from the Greek language and means “rule by the people”. In the eighteenth century, democracy is defined as “institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions which realizes the common good by making people itself decide issues through the election of individuals who are to assemble to carry out its will” (Dahl, Shapiro & Cheibub, 2003, p.5). The most essential meaning of democracy is that people in a state, of whatever sex, race, ethnicity and age, shall have a right to participate in and comment on the executive and legislative of the state, and importantly, people have the power to affect the actions taken by the state. In modern democracies, people play a more general role. They choose the leaders to represent them and rule for the interest of the community. This political setting of democracy is called representative democracy. There are some fundamental elements of representative democracy. All this is in total sync with Islamic principles of governance. In democracy, policymakers are accountable to citizens. According to Reuven and Gideon (2010), “representatives are responsive to their constituents when they support policies that are consistent with the platform on which they were elected” (p.108).When they cannot perform their responsibilities well, people can to vote them out. Policymakers need to consider the opinions of the majority when they are to decide any policies related to the state. Popularity is the key element and the government has to gain support from the majority in order to administer and execute its policies.
Democratic states offer people with the right of dissent and disobedience. This right is an important indicator of democracy. When people find the state unsatisfactory, they have the right to voice their dissent through disobedience peacefully. Voicing dissent through disobedience could be a source of inspiration for the state because the minorities are often the ones who stand out to voice their dissent. The non-violent actions taken by the minorities permitted by the state can be an alternative way for the state to listen to the voice of the minority. Democracies ought to provide a platform for the minority to voice their needs or discontent but not to suppress the right of the minority.
All people should be politically equal in democratic states. Every adult has to be able to participate in politics. Each of them has the right to vote, right to voice and right to run for public office. Political equality has to be guaranteed in democratic states so as to ensure every person is treated fairly notwithstanding his race, sex, age etc. and the voice of the minorities will also be heard without any prejudice.
The writer is a political analyst; views expressed by him are entirely his own.