Religionand Politics in Pakistan
Religionand Politics in Pakistan
Therelation between politics and religion continues to be acontroversial issue in modern politics, despite the existence ofconsensus on the need to promote the freedom of conscience andseparation of religion from state. A democratic government isexpected to represent all people irrespective of their religious,economic, and cultural backgrounds (Callaway, 2014). Pakistan is oneof the countries that have been trying to establish a democraticsystem of governance, but religious differences and its influence inthe national politics hinders the necessary reforms. However, theongoing political reforms indicate that Pakistan will achieve astable democracy in the next ten years.
Historically,Pakistan has undergone repeated interventions of direct and indirectauthoritarian. Consequently, the parliament of Pakistan has beenabsent at times, short-lived, or forced to rubber stamp themilitary’s policies (International Crisis Group, 2014). Thefrequent takeovers by the military have been taking place in cases ofparliament’s failure to deliver as a result of political crisis.Some of the key factors that contribute to the cycle of politicalcrisis include the quality of political representatives and theentire political system. The political system is perceived tofacilitate underrepresentation of the people because allows only1,200 people to represent about 180,000,000 people (Ezdi, 2014). Mostimportantly, the political system creates an atmosphere that leads tothe election of corrupt representatives and leaders fromIslamic-based political parties. This has hindered the separation ofreligion from national politics and election of honest leaders, thusslowing down the process of democratizing Pakistan.
Despitethe existence of challenges hindering the democratization Pakistan,there are significant reforms that have either been made or inprogress. These reforms will stabilize the national democracy in adecade’s time. Major legislative reforms, which were intended tobring institutional identity, began in 2008 (International CrisisGroup, 2014). These reforms resulted in the empowerment of prominentcommittees that have been given the authority to watch over theexecutive and engage the members of the public on issues of nationalimportance. Consequently, the thirteenth parliament was secured frommilitary intervention because there was sufficient politicalstability. This resulted in the first democratic transition from anelected leadership to another since the establishment of federaldemocracy in 1973 (International Crisis Group, 2014). Moreover, theconstitutional amendments that were done in 2010 removed severaldistortions that were utilized by military regimes to thwartdemocratic reforms. This resulted in the devolution of power to theprovinces, thus enhancing accountability and transparency in thenational and provincial leadership. These reforms make Pakistan to beone of the countries with the history of authoritarian leadership toembrace democracy in a period of about one decade.
Inconclusion, the legislative changes that have been accomplished inPakistan from 2008 to date have laid the foundation for democratictransition within the next ten years. The Pakistan’s politicalsystem is characterized by recurring military takeovers anddomination of legislative and executive positions by leaders fromparties that are based on the Islamic religion. This implies that theintegration of the values of the dominant religion in matters ofnational interest is likely to drag the process of democratictransition. However, reforms that have already been accomplished haveyielded positive outcomes, including the democratic transition fromone government to another, devolution of political system, and fairrepresentation of the people of Pakistan. This suggests that Pakistanhas a hope for democratic transition.
Callaway,C. (2014). Religionand politics.Maine: Saint Joseph College.
Ezdi,A. (2014). Political reforms for stable democracy in Pakistan.AwesomeIncorporation.Retrieved May 6, 2014, fromhttp://pakistan-posts.blogspot.com/2011/06/political-reforms-for-stable-democracy.html
InternationalCrisis Group (2014). Parliament’srole in Pakistan’s democratic transition.Brussels: International Crisis Group.