Pakistan, Ousting Leader, Dashes Hopes for Fuller Democracy
There appears the final fall of an elected leader of Pakistan, at least on the surface, refreshing and democratic.
Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister, was ordered by the Supreme Court instead of the army, which had cut its two previous periods. He was removed on corruption charges that are supported by substantial evidence. Accountability and control of the balances seemed to carry the day.
But where some see the triumph of democracy, others see corruption as a powerful tool for subverting public will and the rule of law.
The court avoided other officials involved in the scandal, deepening suspicions that his character of M. Sharif was opportunistic. The powerful army, either by chance or by design, was once again able to benefit from its defeat to its rival. Normally timid control bodies acting under tremendous pressure from rival Sharif.
The episode is a lesson on how countries like Pakistan – with low elected institutions and the stories of repeated cuts and cuts in civilian control – may be trapped in a gray zone between dictatorship and democracy.
In such a system, even measures such as the withdrawal of M. Sharif, which nominally strengthen accountability and rule of law, can deepen the undemocratic rules.
Although justice has prevailed, perceptions have also been applied selectively. Although corruption was punished, and the eyes of many supporters of M. Sharif, the challenge of the army.
The country has shown that it can legally remove a prime minister, but also showed that voters, who have been authorized to decide a single peaceful transfer of power, however, their leaders have chosen for them. Especially the spectators and participants, sometimes, in the democracy of their country.
Responsibility as a tool
Many Pakistanis have quickly realized that something that suggests that Mr. Sharif’s withdrawal could be perpetuated instead of late, undemocratic rules that plunged Pakistan for decades.
The Supreme Court said Sharif, but overlooked several other politicians and officials involved in the leak of Panama documents that triggered the investigation, which led to allegations that he was engaged in selective justice.
“Moral of the story: when with the establishment, it has not been touched,” said Asma Jahangir, a prominent human rights defender, on Twitter, adding “but if you are not of agree, your grandmother was also investigated” .
This common perception – that politicians serve their own interests and that responsibility is deployed at the whim of elite problems. These expectations help to secure such behavior as a norm, so it is more likely to happen again.
This problem extends beyond M. Sharif. Tax evasion rates in Pakistan are very high, especially among the rich. Transparency International, corruption monitoring organization, ranked 113 countries out of 176 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index.
While anti-corruption laws are heavily written, they are insufficiently strengthened. And the weakness of elected institutions is easily corrupted. Altogether, this means that almost all leaders are vulnerable to persecution and expulsion if other institutions choose to choose.