Mr. Farhat Khan, MNA, said that people who represent the population in the Parliament are not true representatives. Farmers are represented by fuedals and labour is represented by industrialists. The MQM is only 7% in the Assembly but it introduced the bill of Land Reforms and De-weaponization but we did not find enough people to support it. We criticize the Government despite being in the government. MQMís MNAs as have performed better relatively. For economy we should improve governance in public sector companies.
Senator Saeeda Iqbal of the PPPP said that this year has been a very important year and many bills have been passed in the Parliament. If democracy continues, parliamentary performance will improve as well. Politicians are only one section of the society and everyone will have to take responsibility such as media and civil-society. If democracy is strengthened and evolves without fear of intervention it will create a sense of security which will improve economy, parliamentary performance and other things and citizens as a whole will have to take responsibility as a whole. The Parliament is only as good as the people.
Lt. General (Retd.) Asad Durrani, intelligence commentator, said that there are no clear positives or negatives in our country. Foreign policy has improved in this year compared to the last year. Civil-Military relations are also a positive and the memo issue is not a clash of institutions if one looks at past relations between the civilian government and military.
Dr. Mohammed Waseem, Academic, said that the first and foremost problem of Pakistan is terrorism. It has raised the expenditure on security. The state has decided to invest in security as much as possible but not eliminate the source of terrorism. The state relies on non-state militant actors for foreign policy objectives. There are pro-Taliban groups which have killed people but the state backs them. There is no organized movement against terrorism. There is a total foreign policy collapse. There is no trust over Pakistan in the global community. There is constant interference in matters of executive both from judiciary and military. Matters are going out of representativesí control because of hyper-visibility of military. The Parliament has no control over policy and has no security of tenure.
Brigadier (Retd.) Shaukar Qadir, former President Islamabad Policy Research Institute, said that we have not seen true democracy in the country. We have had democratically elected governments but not true democracy. I think foreign policy has improved in these years. I think we have finally formulated a foreign policy.
Mr. Abdul Qadir, representing Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, said that local governments is an important tier of democracy but it is a pity that provinces are not willing to establish Local Governments. Public support of democracy is not a reflection of quality of democracy but support of a system. There are particular interest that do not want us to move from a security state to welfare/development state.
Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Vice-President NP, said that democracy has not performed due to the fact that Pakistan is a security state. It is a useless expectation. Most of our problems are a reflection of our security paradigm.
Wazir Ahmed Jogezai, former Deputy Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan, said that Balochistan is a military garrison. The Parliament is a rubberstamp.
Iftikhar Ahmad, Senior Journalist, said that despite poor governance and corruption why is there support for democracy in the public. This is because democracy is the only system in which people are heard. The politicians should control corruption otherwise there is a threat to democracy. Political Parties should come forward and establish local governments. There is also a need to establish a comprehensive Accountability Law. Political parties should not fear local governments.
Senator Humayun Khan Mandokhel, Balochistan, said that poor quality of leadership is due to hereditary politics. There has never been good quality of leadership. There is no democracy within political parties which is a hurdle in the way of democracy.
Mr. Mujib ur Rehman Shami, Editor in Chief Daily Pakistan, said that politicians should take some responsibility as far democracy is concerned. The opposition has backed every martial law. Even today the memo issue has been taken to the Supreme Court by the opposition despite it being part of the Parliament itself.
Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Moinuddin Haider, former Governor Sindh, said that many countries do not have democracy but they are progressing as far as economy is concerned. If we do not have good governance democracy will be weakened.
Mr. Cyril Almieda, Assistant Editor, Dawn, said that politicians should deliver because there are extra-constitutional ways which very powerful forces will adopt.
Members of the Democracy Assessment Group who joined the workshop included Mr. Cyril Almieda, Assistant Editor, Dawn, Mr. Iftikhar Ahmad, Senior Journalist, Mr. Illahi Buksh Soomro, Former Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan, Mr. Javed Jabbar, former Minister for Information, Mr. Mohammad Waseem, Academician, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Moinuddin Haider, Former Federal Minister for Interior; former Governor Sindh, Mr. Mujib ur Rehman Shami, Editor in Chief Daily Pakistan, Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Vice-president NP, Sardar Khalid Ibrahim, Advocate, Mr. Wazir Ahmed Jogezai, former Deputy Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director and Ms. Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director of PILDAT.
This National Workshop has been organised under the project titled Assessment of the Quality of Democracy in Pakistan using IIDEA Framework supported by Foundation for the Future.