Ravi Kalia, ed., Pakistan: From the Rhetoric of Democracy to the Rise of Militancy

Dr Saroj Bishoyi was Research Assistant at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for more details
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  • October 2011
    Book Review

    Abraham Lincoln, defined democracy as: “Government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Democracy is a form of government in which the authority of government is based on the will of its individuals. Governmental authority is legitimately exercised in accordance with a written constitution which is the “supreme law of the land”. In the 60 plus years of its history, however, democracy has remained an elusive dream in Pakistan. Several reasons for this failure have been put forth, including the failure to construct a constitution, military takeovers, a prevailing feudal culture particularly among political parties, an incompetent and corrupt leadership, an outdated institutional infrastructure, an ineffective civil society, a low literacy rate, and foreign interventions due to Pakistan’s geostrategic location in South Asia. The book Pakistan: From the Rhetoric of Democracy to the Rise of Militancy edited by Ravi Kalia deals with such an important and relevant subject and reveals in a great detail the various reasons for the failure of democracy in Pakistan. The book analyses and examines how Pakistan created the “Islam in danger” bogey and on the promise of providing a territorial safe haven to Indian Muslims in post-colonial India found it very difficult to politically make Islam a unifying force. And, how despite the political rhetoric of both the civilian and military leaders in support of democracy, liberalism, inclusiveness, freedom of expression, secularism, it has continued to drift towards an increasingly brittle authoritarianism, religious extremism, and intolerance towards minorities in Pakistan. This compilation explains and explores the dichotomy that exists between rhetoric and the reality in present day Pakistan.

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