Democracy is a successful and popular form of government in modern times. It is a modern type of government where the “Public Will” is expressed. The dictum, “Some are born to rule and others to obey” is rejected. Abraham Lincoln once defined democracy as:” Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” Democracy is a mechanism through which people choose their representatives by voting. There are several political parties in a democratic country. The party which wins by the majority of vote is called to form the government. The rest of the parties play the role of an opposition in the “Legislative Assembly”. In the assembly, important issues are put up, discussed and decided by voting. In a democratic system, people elect their own rulers. If they do not serve them well for one term, they will not be elected again. The ministers are responsible to the legislature and as soon as they lose trust, they are made to resign. Thus, a change in government is brought about by peaceful methods and not by the coup d’etat or revolution. “The voice of the people is the voice of God”. In a civil society, democracy is the guardian of equality, liberty and fundamental rights of the people. It makes all the citizens interested in national affairs by giving them a feeling of participation and a sense of responsibility. Everyone enjoys the freedom of thought, action and speech. The four pillars of democracy are the rule of law, freedom of opinion, freedom of association and freedom of press. Bernard Shaw has defined democracy as: “A social order aiming at the greatest available welfare of the whole population and not for a class”. Unfortunately, democracy could not flourish in Pakistan because of political immaturity, economic insecurity and institutional instability. Sectarianism, illiteracy and caste system have deteriorated our social and political system. At the time of elections, the voters are either bribed or threatened to give their votes in favour of illegible and irresponsible candidates. Power is abused for the promotion of selfish ends. Corruption and favouritism are rampant. In this way, the law makers become law-breakers. Moreover, the continual military interventions also destabilize the democratic system of the country. “The cure for the evils of
democracy is more democracy”. Dictatorship is the rule of one man who exercises absolute power. It rests upon brute force.. The dictators usually belong to well-organized political parties or the security forces of the country. They come to rescue the people but make them more miserable than before. In dictatorship, the fundamental rights of the civil society are suspended. Criticism is silenced and opposition is ruthlessly suppressed. In this way, it creates frustration and suffocation in the society. In spite of its demerits, democracy is a reasonable, useful and successful system of government. It is based on consent and not force, persuasion and not dictation. On the other hand, in spite of a few merits, dictatorship is a curse to humanity. “Democracy isn’t perfect; I just don’t know a better system”.