Sunday, August 13, 2006

Absentee democracy

As the country's political elite gear up for next year's general election, 'democracy' is this political season's hottest accessory - everyone wants a piece of it. The government led by a serving uniformed general claims it has already given the people democracy; nonsense, cry the opposition, pointing out that parliament is parody of itself.

Who is right? Absentee ministers and a helpless speaker tell their own tale; the claims of democracy ring hollow when the government's ministers bluntly remind the country that power lies not with the people, but with Musharraf. 7 years into his rule, on the eve of Pakistan's independence, the General has not led us out of the wilderness. Indeed, he seems eager to continue for another 33. But on the evidence before us thus far, even a miracle of Biblical proportions may not be able to deliver democracy then.

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