CSSPolitical Science

Q. No. 8. Write short notes on any TWO of the following:2018-I

(a) Role of middle class in strengthening the democracy. (b) Violation of parliamentary values and traditions in Pakistan

(a) Role of middle class in strengthening the democracy.

1.Political Participation and Civic Engagement:

Political participation and civic engagement are essential components of a vibrant democracy, and the middle class plays a significant role in both. Here’s an explanation of political participation and civic engagement:

  1. Voting in Elections: Political participation often begins with the act of voting in elections. The middle class tends to have higher voter turnout rates compared to other socioeconomic groups. They cast their votes to elect representatives who align with their values and interests, thereby influencing the composition and policies of government.
  2. Engagement in Political Campaigns: Members of the middle class frequently engage in political campaigns by volunteering, donating, or actively supporting candidates or parties. They may participate in door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, or organizing campaign events to mobilize voters and raise awareness about key issues.
  3. Membership in Civil Society Organizations: The middle class forms a significant portion of civil society organizations, including advocacy groups, NGOs, and grassroots movements. They join these organizations to address social issues, promote policy reforms, and advocate for the rights of marginalized communities. Through collective action, they amplify their voices and influence public policy decisions.
  4. Participation in Community Initiatives: Civic engagement extends beyond formal politics to include participation in community initiatives and activities. The middle class often takes a proactive role in local governance by attending town hall meetings, joining neighborhood associations, or volunteering for community service projects. These activities strengthen social cohesion, foster trust among community members, and address local concerns.
  5. Advocacy for Political Reform: Middle-class individuals may advocate for political reform to improve the functioning of democratic institutions and processes. They may support initiatives to enhance electoral integrity, increase government transparency, or reform campaign finance laws. Through advocacy efforts, they seek to strengthen democratic governance and promote accountability in public affairs.

Overall, political participation and civic engagement are vital for the health and vitality of democracy. By actively engaging in political processes, the middle class ensures that their voices are heard, their interests are represented, and their communities are empowered to shape the direction of governance. This active citizenship strengthens democratic institutions, fosters a culture of accountability, and promotes inclusive and responsive governance.

2.Advocacy for Democratic Values explain

Advocacy for democratic values involves promoting principles such as rule of law, accountability, transparency, and political pluralism as foundational elements of a democratic society. Here’s an explanation of advocacy for democratic values:

  1. Rule of Law: Advocacy for the rule of law entails upholding the principle that all individuals, including government officials, are subject to and accountable under the law. This involves advocating for an independent judiciary, impartial legal system, and enforcement of laws that protect individual rights and freedoms. Advocates work to ensure that laws are applied fairly and consistently, and that government actions are constrained by legal frameworks and constitutional principles.
  2. Accountability: Advocacy for accountability involves holding government officials and institutions responsible for their actions, decisions, and use of public resources. This includes promoting transparency in government operations, financial transactions, and decision-making processes. Advocates push for mechanisms such as oversight bodies, audits, and public disclosures to ensure that government officials are answerable to the public and can be held to account for any abuses of power or violations of the public trust.
  3. Transparency: Advocacy for transparency entails promoting openness, access to information, and public scrutiny of government activities. This involves advocating for laws and policies that ensure transparency in government operations, decision-making processes, and public expenditures. Advocates work to empower citizens with information about government actions, policies, and performance, enabling them to make informed decisions, hold officials accountable, and participate meaningfully in democratic processes.
  4. Political Pluralism: Advocacy for political pluralism involves supporting the existence of multiple political parties, viewpoints, and voices within society. This includes advocating for freedom of expression, assembly, and association, as well as ensuring equal opportunities for political participation and representation. Advocates work to protect the rights of individuals and groups to organize, express dissenting opinions, and participate in political processes without fear of repression or discrimination.
  5. Protection of Human Rights: Advocacy for democratic values also encompasses protecting and promoting human rights, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. This involves advocating for laws, policies, and institutions that safeguard the dignity, equality, and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or socioeconomic status. Advocates work to address human rights violations, combat discrimination and inequality, and promote inclusive and equitable societies based on respect for human dignity and diversity.

Overall, advocacy for democratic values is essential for advancing democracy, protecting individual rights and freedoms, and fostering inclusive and accountable governance. By advocating for the principles of rule of law, accountability, transparency, political pluralism, and human rights, advocates contribute to the strengthening of democratic institutions and the promotion of a just, equitable, and democratic society.

3.Intellectual and Professional Contributions:

Intellectual and professional contributions from the middle class play a vital role in shaping and strengthening democracy. Here’s an explanation of how:

  1. Research and Analysis: Middle-class intellectuals and professionals, including academics, researchers, and policy analysts, contribute to democracy by conducting research and analysis on various social, economic, and political issues. Their work generates knowledge, insights, and evidence-based recommendations that inform public discourse, policymaking, and decision-making processes.
  2. Policy Formulation: Intellectuals and professionals often play a key role in formulating public policies and strategies aimed at addressing societal challenges and promoting the common good. Through their expertise in fields such as law, economics, public health, and education, they contribute to the development of policies that enhance democratic governance, protect individual rights, and promote social justice and equality.
  3. Advocacy and Activism: Middle-class professionals engage in advocacy and activism to promote democratic values, advance social causes, and hold government accountable. They use their knowledge, skills, and networks to raise awareness about issues such as human rights, environmental sustainability, gender equality, and democratic reforms. Through advocacy campaigns, protests, and grassroots mobilization efforts, they advocate for policy changes and social reforms that align with democratic principles.
  4. Legal and Judicial Contributions: Lawyers, judges, and legal scholars from the middle class play a crucial role in upholding the rule of law and protecting individual rights within democratic societies. They provide legal representation to marginalized groups, advocate for the enforcement of laws that safeguard civil liberties, and ensure access to justice for all individuals, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
  5. Media and Journalism: Middle-class professionals working in the media and journalism sectors contribute to democracy by providing accurate, independent, and objective information to the public. They serve as watchdogs, holding government officials and institutions accountable for their actions, exposing corruption and abuses of power, and facilitating informed public debate on critical issues facing society.

Overall, intellectual and professional contributions from the middle class enrich democratic governance by generating knowledge, shaping public policies, advocating for social change, upholding the rule of law, and promoting transparency and accountability. By leveraging their expertise, resources, and influence, middle-class intellectuals and professionals play a crucial role in advancing democratic values, fostering civic engagement, and building more inclusive and responsive democratic societies.

4.Resistance to Authoritarianism:

Resistance to authoritarianism by the middle class is a critical aspect of strengthening democracy. Here’s an explanation of how the middle class resists authoritarianism:

  1. Defending Democratic Institutions: The middle class often acts as a bulwark against authoritarian tendencies by defending democratic institutions such as independent judiciary, free press, and electoral processes. They resist attempts by authoritarian leaders to undermine these institutions, recognizing their importance in maintaining checks and balances and upholding the rule of law.
  2. Advocating for Civil Liberties: Middle-class individuals advocate for the preservation of civil liberties and human rights, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and association. They resist government efforts to restrict these freedoms through censorship, surveillance, or suppression of dissent, recognizing their importance in fostering a free and open society.
  3. Participating in Protests and Movements: The middle class often participates in protests, demonstrations, and social movements aimed at challenging authoritarian regimes and demanding political reforms. They mobilize through social media, civil society organizations, and grassroots networks to voice their opposition to authoritarian policies and advocate for greater political freedoms and accountability.
  4. Supporting Opposition Parties: Middle-class individuals may support opposition political parties and candidates who uphold democratic values and principles. They vote for candidates who champion civil liberties, rule of law, and accountability, and actively campaign for their election. By supporting opposition parties, the middle class provides a viable alternative to authoritarian rule and strengthens democratic pluralism.
  5. International Advocacy and Solidarity: Middle-class activists and intellectuals often engage in international advocacy and solidarity efforts to support democratic movements and human rights defenders in authoritarian regimes. They raise awareness about human rights abuses, mobilize support from the international community, and apply pressure on authoritarian governments to respect democratic norms and values.

Overall, resistance to authoritarianism by the middle class is essential for defending democracy, protecting civil liberties, and promoting political pluralism. By standing up against authoritarian tendencies and advocating for democratic reforms, the middle class plays a crucial role in safeguarding democratic institutions and ensuring that government power remains accountable to the people.

5.Economic Stability and Social Cohesion:

Economic stability and social cohesion are vital components of a healthy and resilient society, and the middle class plays a significant role in fostering both. Here’s an explanation of how economic stability and social cohesion contribute to strengthening democracy:

  1. Economic Stability: A strong middle class is often associated with economic stability, as it provides a foundation of consumer demand, investment, and entrepreneurship. Economic stability reduces the risk of social unrest and political instability, creating an environment conducive to democratic governance. Middle-class households contribute to economic growth through their purchasing power, savings, and investments, driving economic development and prosperity.
  2. Job Creation and Economic Growth: Middle-class entrepreneurs and small business owners create jobs, drive innovation, and stimulate economic growth. By starting businesses, investing in new ventures, and creating employment opportunities, the middle class contributes to the dynamism and resilience of the economy. Economic growth, in turn, generates tax revenues that fund public services and infrastructure, promoting social development and reducing inequality.
  3. Social Mobility and Opportunity: Economic stability enables upward social mobility and provides opportunities for individuals to improve their quality of life and prospects for the future. The middle class often serves as a ladder of opportunity, allowing individuals to access education, healthcare, housing, and other essential services that contribute to their well-being and social advancement. Social mobility fosters a sense of fairness and meritocracy, enhancing social cohesion and solidarity within society.
  4. Reduction of Social Inequality: A thriving middle class can help reduce social inequality by narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. As a group that typically enjoys higher incomes, education levels, and access to resources, the middle class can advocate for policies that promote income redistribution, progressive taxation, and social welfare programs aimed at reducing poverty and enhancing social inclusion. By addressing economic disparities, the middle class contributes to social cohesion and stability.
  5. Promotion of Democratic Values: Economic stability and social cohesion contribute to the promotion of democratic values such as equality, justice, and solidarity. A prosperous middle class with a stake in the political system is more likely to support democratic institutions, uphold the rule of law, and participate in civic life. Economic stability provides individuals with the security and confidence to engage in democratic processes, while social cohesion fosters trust, cooperation, and mutual respect among diverse groups within society.

In summary, economic stability and social cohesion are essential for strengthening democracy by providing the foundation for inclusive economic development, social progress, and political stability. The middle class, with its economic resources, social influence, and commitment to democratic values, plays a crucial role in promoting economic stability and social cohesion, thereby contributing to the resilience and vitality of democratic governance.

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(b) Violation of parliamentary values and traditions in Pakistan

1.Executive Dominance:

Executive dominance refers to the disproportionate influence and power wielded by the executive branch of government over other branches, particularly the legislative branch, in a democratic system. In the context of Pakistan, executive dominance has been a prominent feature of governance, often resulting in imbalances in the distribution of power and undermining the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. Here’s an explanation of executive dominance in Pakistan:

  1. Concentration of Power: The President and Prime Minister of Pakistan, as well as the federal cabinet, hold significant executive authority, including the power to make policy decisions, issue executive orders, and implement government programs. This concentration of power in the hands of the executive often marginalizes the role of the legislative branch, diminishing its ability to effectively check and balance executive actions.
  2. Parliamentary Supremacy: While Pakistan has a parliamentary form of government, where the Prime Minister and Cabinet are accountable to the parliament, executive dominance has frequently led to a situation where the executive exercises control over the legislative agenda. The Prime Minister, who is often the leader of the majority party or coalition in the parliament, can exert considerable influence over legislative proceedings, including the passage of bills and allocation of resources.
  3. Weak Legislative Oversight: Executive dominance in Pakistan is exacerbated by weak legislative oversight mechanisms. Parliamentarians, particularly those belonging to the ruling party, often prioritize party loyalty over their role as representatives of the people, leading to limited scrutiny of government actions and policies. Parliamentary committees, which are intended to provide oversight, may lack independence and authority, further diminishing their effectiveness in holding the executive accountable.
  4. Executive Fiat: Executive dominance can result in the bypassing of parliamentary procedures and democratic norms, with the executive resorting to unilateral decision-making through executive orders, ordinances, and presidential decrees. This circumvention of the legislative process undermines the principles of democratic governance and erodes public trust in the political system.
  5. Impact on Democracy: Executive dominance poses a threat to democracy by concentrating power in the hands of a few individuals or a single political party, limiting political competition, and stifling dissent. It can lead to authoritarian tendencies, where the executive seeks to consolidate power and suppress opposition, undermining democratic norms such as rule of law, separation of powers, and respect for fundamental rights.

Overall, addressing executive dominance is crucial for strengthening democracy in Pakistan. It requires enhancing the independence and effectiveness of parliamentary institutions, promoting a culture of accountability and transparency, and ensuring that the executive branch operates within the bounds of constitutional principles and democratic values. Only through a balance of powers and effective checks and balances can Pakistan achieve genuine democratic governance and foster inclusive and accountable political institutions.

2.Lack of Accountability:

Lack of accountability refers to a situation where individuals or institutions, particularly those in positions of power or authority, are not held responsible for their actions or decisions. In the context of Pakistan, lack of accountability has been a persistent challenge across various sectors of governance, undermining the principles of transparency, integrity, and the rule of law. Here’s an explanation of the lack of accountability in Pakistan:

  1. Corruption and Nepotism: Pakistan has long struggled with corruption and nepotism, which erode accountability and foster a culture of impunity among public officials. Instances of embezzlement, bribery, kickbacks, and patronage are widespread, with public resources often misused for personal gain or political favors. The lack of effective mechanisms to investigate and prosecute corruption enables corrupt practices to flourish, undermining public trust in government institutions.
  2. Weak Oversight Mechanisms: While Pakistan has institutions tasked with oversight and accountability, such as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), their effectiveness is often compromised by political interference, resource constraints, and lack of independence. Additionally, parliamentary oversight mechanisms, such as question hours, committees, and debates, may lack teeth or be subject to manipulation, limiting their ability to hold government officials accountable.
  3. Impunity for Human Rights Violations: Pakistan has faced allegations of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly. Perpetrators of such violations often enjoy impunity due to inadequate mechanisms for accountability and redress. Human rights defenders, journalists, and activists advocating for accountability and justice may face harassment, intimidation, or violence, further exacerbating the culture of impunity.
  4. Election Irregularities: Elections in Pakistan have been marred by irregularities, including vote rigging, electoral fraud, and intimidation of voters. The lack of accountability for such electoral malpractices undermines the credibility and fairness of the electoral process, eroding public confidence in democratic institutions. Political parties and candidates accused of electoral misconduct often face few consequences, perpetuating a cycle of impunity and electoral manipulation.
  5. Judicial Backlog and Delay: The judiciary in Pakistan faces significant challenges, including a backlog of cases, judicial delay, and inefficiencies in the legal system. Delays in the adjudication of cases undermine accountability by prolonging the resolution of legal disputes and impeding access to justice for victims of rights violations or corruption. The lack of timely and effective judicial remedies contributes to a sense of impunity among wrongdoers.

Overall, addressing the lack of accountability in Pakistan requires comprehensive reforms aimed at strengthening institutions, enhancing transparency and oversight mechanisms, ensuring judicial independence, and fostering a culture of integrity and accountability within government and society. Without meaningful accountability, Pakistan risks perpetuating systemic corruption, human rights abuses, and democratic deficits, undermining the country’s social cohesion, stability, and development aspirations.

3.Political Instability:

Political instability refers to a situation characterized by uncertainty, volatility, and frequent changes in government leadership or political arrangements. In Pakistan, political instability has been a persistent challenge that has hindered governance, economic development, and social progress. Here’s an explanation of political instability in Pakistan:

  1. Frequent Changes in Government: Pakistan has experienced numerous changes in government, often through non-democratic means such as military coups, parliamentary dissolutions, or coalition collapses. This volatility disrupts the continuity of policies and programs, undermines investor confidence, and contributes to uncertainty in the business environment.
  2. Military Intervention: The history of Pakistan is marked by periods of military rule, where the armed forces have intervened in politics to oust civilian governments and assume power directly or indirectly. Military coups, such as those in 1958, 1977, and 1999, have destabilized the political landscape and eroded democratic institutions, leading to cycles of instability and authoritarianism.
  3. Civil-Military Tensions: Civil-military tensions have been a source of political instability in Pakistan, with periodic clashes between civilian governments and the military establishment over issues such as national security, foreign policy, and control of state institutions. The military’s influence in politics, coupled with civilian governments’ struggles to assert authority, has created power struggles and institutional rivalries that undermine stability.
  4. Ethnic and Regional Conflicts: Pakistan is a diverse country with multiple ethnic, linguistic, and regional identities, which have sometimes led to tensions and conflicts. Ethnic and regional grievances, such as those in Balochistan, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, contribute to political instability by fueling separatist movements, violence, and social unrest.
  5. Weak Governance and Corruption: Weak governance, characterized by inefficiency, corruption, and lack of transparency, exacerbates political instability in Pakistan. Corruption erodes public trust in government institutions, undermines the rule of law, and diverts resources away from essential services and development projects, perpetuating socio-economic disparities and fueling grievances.
  6. External Factors: External factors, such as geopolitical tensions, international conflicts, and economic dependencies, also contribute to political instability in Pakistan. Relations with neighboring countries, particularly India and Afghanistan, as well as involvement in regional conflicts, such as the war on terror, have implications for domestic politics and security, adding to the complexity of the political landscape.

Overall, addressing political instability in Pakistan requires strengthening democratic institutions, promoting political inclusivity, fostering inter-institutional cooperation, and addressing underlying socio-economic grievances. Building consensus among political stakeholders, respecting constitutional norms, and upholding the rule of law are essential for promoting stability and ensuring Pakistan’s progress towards democratic governance, peace, and prosperity.

4.Partisan Politics:

Partisan politics refers to the practice of political parties prioritizing their own interests and agendas over broader national interests, often leading to polarization, gridlock, and competition for power. In Pakistan, partisan politics has been a prominent feature of the political landscape, influencing governance, policy-making, and democratic processes. Here’s an explanation of partisan politics in Pakistan:

  1. Party Loyalty over National Interest: Political parties in Pakistan often prioritize party loyalty and allegiance over national interest, leading to a focus on short-term gains and electoral victories rather than long-term development goals or consensus-building. This emphasis on partisan interests can hinder cooperation and compromise among political actors, impeding the functioning of democratic institutions and governance.
  2. Ethnic and Regional Dynamics: Pakistan’s political landscape is shaped by ethnic and regional identities, which influence party affiliations and voting behavior. Political parties often mobilize support along ethnic or regional lines, appealing to specific constituencies based on linguistic, cultural, or historical affiliations. This ethno-regional polarization can exacerbate divisions and tensions within society, contributing to political instability and governance challenges.
  3. Clientelism and Patronage: Partisan politics in Pakistan is often characterized by clientelism and patronage, where political parties distribute favors, resources, and positions of power to loyal supporters in exchange for political support or allegiance. This practice of patronage politics undermines meritocracy, fosters corruption, and perpetuates a culture of dependency on political elites, weakening democratic governance and accountability.
  4. Coalition Politics: Pakistan’s multiparty system and fragmented political landscape have led to frequent coalition governments at the federal and provincial levels. While coalition politics can promote inclusivity and representation of diverse interests, it also often results in political bargaining, horse-trading, and instability. Coalition partners may prioritize narrow party interests over broader policy objectives, leading to tensions and conflicts within the government.
  5. Obstructionism and Gridlock: Partisan politics can lead to obstructionism and gridlock in legislative processes, as parties prioritize blocking or delaying the agendas of their political opponents. Parliamentary proceedings may be disrupted by filibustering, walkouts, or protests, preventing the passage of important legislation or reforms. This gridlock undermines the effectiveness of democratic institutions and impedes progress on critical issues facing the country.

Overall, addressing the challenges of partisan politics in Pakistan requires efforts to promote political moderation, consensus-building, and institutional reforms aimed at enhancing transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in the political process. Strengthening democratic norms, fostering a culture of dialogue and compromise, and promoting civic education and engagement can help mitigate the negative effects of partisan polarization and promote constructive political discourse in Pakistan.

5.Undermining Democratic Norms:

Undermining democratic norms refers to actions or behaviors that erode the foundational principles and practices of democracy, such as rule of law, respect for human rights, electoral integrity, and institutional checks and balances. In Pakistan, undermining democratic norms has been a persistent challenge that has weakened democratic governance and eroded public trust in political institutions. Here’s an explanation of how democratic norms are undermined in Pakistan:

  1. Violation of Rule of Law: Rule of law is essential for democracy, ensuring that laws are applied uniformly, and government actions are subject to legal constraints. However, in Pakistan, rule of law is often undermined by political interference in the judiciary, selective application of laws, and impunity for powerful individuals or groups. Instances of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and lack of due process further weaken the rule of law and erode public confidence in the justice system.
  2. Restrictions on Freedom of Expression: Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy, allowing individuals to voice their opinions, criticize the government, and hold public officials accountable. However, in Pakistan, freedom of expression is often curtailed through censorship, harassment of journalists, and restrictions on media outlets. Laws such as the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) have been used to target dissenting voices, stifling political debate and undermining democratic discourse.
  3. Election Irregularities: Free and fair elections are fundamental to democracy, providing citizens with the opportunity to choose their representatives through a transparent and impartial electoral process. However, elections in Pakistan have been marred by irregularities, including vote rigging, electoral fraud, and intimidation of voters. The lack of accountability for electoral malpractices undermines the credibility of the electoral process and erodes public confidence in democracy.
  4. Weak Checks and Balances: Democracy relies on institutional checks and balances to prevent the concentration of power and abuse of authority. However, in Pakistan, institutional checks and balances are often weak, with the executive branch exerting undue influence over the judiciary, legislature, and other state institutions. This imbalance of power undermines the independence and effectiveness of democratic institutions, allowing for executive dominance and erosion of democratic norms.
  5. Authoritarian Practices: Despite being a democracy, Pakistan has experienced periods of authoritarian rule, including military coups and periods of martial law. Authoritarian practices, such as censorship, suppression of dissent, and restriction of political freedoms, have undermined democratic norms and institutions. Even in periods of civilian rule, authoritarian tendencies persist, contributing to the erosion of democratic governance and institutions.

Overall, addressing the undermining of democratic norms in Pakistan requires a commitment to upholding democratic principles, strengthening institutions, promoting transparency and accountability, and fostering a culture of respect for human rights and the rule of law. Only through concerted efforts to protect and uphold democratic norms can Pakistan realize its aspirations for inclusive, accountable, and democratic governance.

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