Democracy in Pakistan
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Democracy (Urdu: جمہوریت; pronounced jamhooriat) is one of the ideologies and systems upon which Pakistan was sought to be established in 1947 as a nation-state, as envisaged by the leader and founding father of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Pakistan constitutionally is a democratic parliamentary republic with its political system based on an elected form of governance. Today Pakistan is the one of the newest democracies since 2008, with the first democratic elections held in 2013 to complete a 5-year term for the first time in its political history. As of current status,[when?] Pakistan is also the 5th largest and is also the largest Majoritarian democracy and (non-liberal) in the world and perhaps considered as one of the world's larger Islamic democracies in the Muslim world as opposed to a modern liberal democracy, such as modern Republic of Turkey, with its western orientated values.
It was one of the earliest and largest ancient human civilisations alongside Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley, Anatolia and ancient China, known for its highly developed, sophisticated and urbanised culture and much later also old Greece which had some form of democratic rule.
Historians and social scientists studying the civilisation's social structure observe that the Indus Valley had an organised planning system, including standard architecture, civic controls, consistent grid layouts and uniformed sanitary facilities. This well-disciplined lifestyle and a common Rule of Law extending throughout a large area leads some historians to believe and suggest the Indus Valley civilisation in Pakistan as possibly the earliest cradle and model of democracy; one which was based on a "popular rule by the people" based on the conceptions of Welfare State and Rule of law (and hence the presence of some form of Democracy) which even predated old Greece.
Democracy failed exceptionally quickly after independence because Pakistan possessed a weak and fragmented political party that was unable to resolve key governing conflicts. In the wake of intensifying political instability, the civilian bureaucracy and military assumed governing power in 1958. Since its independence, Pakistan's democratic system has fluctuated between civilian and military governments at various times throughout its political history, mainly due to political instability, civil-military conflicts, political corruption, and the periodic coup d'états by the military establishment against weak civilian governments, resulting in the enforcement of martial law across the country (occurring in 1958, 1977 and 1999, and led by chief martial law administrator-generals Ayub Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf respectively). Democracy in Pakistan, however imperfect, has been allowed to function to varyin degrees. Until 2013, Pakistan did not experience even one democratic transfer of power from one democratically elected government that had completed its tenure to another. All of its previous democratic transitions have been aborted by military coup . Should the 2018 elections see the success it will be the longest period for which Pakistan has stayed a democracy without witnessing a military coup.
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- The Indus Valley civilization – cradle of democracy?
- Did Democracy Begin in the Indus Valley?
- Tudor, Maya. "The Promise of Power: The Origins of Democracy in India and Autocracy in Pakistan." (Cambridge University Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1-107-03296-5). Chapter 5.
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