Democratic consolidation in Pakistan

The current PTI government needs to consolidate democratic norms, and part with its short-sighted style of bypassing parliament. In an unprecedented fashion, the PTI government instituted direct elections of local government heads in KP and Punjab, which is a step in the right direction. However, this was operationalised through an ordinance, rather than being passed via parliamentary consensus, and an opportunity to gain more democratic legitimacy was lost. If institutional democracy needs to be consolidated, the ruling party has to take on board oppositional political forces and their viewpoints. Consensus-based decisions are more difficult to manoeuvre in the future and become extremely central in a setting such as Pakistan’s nascent democratic framework.

There is no end-game to the process of democratic consolidation. Pakistan’s political transitions from direct military rule to civilian rule, and the last two formal civilian transitions of power, are an aberration from the historical norm of military preponderance

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