There are many interpretations of what democracy can imply. The definition that best suits this paper is Laurie Brand’s. She defines it as “an opening up of a political system” in order to allow more freedom for expression, more freedom for the formation and activity of groups outside the government, an increased awareness of human rights, and the adoption of parliamentary elections (3).
Pakistan has had considerable difficulty developing stable, cohesive political organizations because they have suffered long periods of repression. Further, political parties, with few exceptions, have been founded as vehicles for one person or a few individuals, or to achieve specifically defined goals. When these individuals abandon their parties or after party goals have been met, many organizations have lost their interest and have lacked the ability to carry on. In addition, political parties have been handicapped by regional and ethnic factors that have limited their national appeal and have also been torn by personal and class rivalries (Pakistan on Web by Mazhar).
Pakistan is a constitutionally Islamic country of South Asia, founded in 1947, and a test case for Islamic democracy. In its experience with democracy, Pakistan compared well with other constitutionally Islamic states. But when measured by the extent of popular participation, the effectiveness of representative institutions, and commitment to a constitutional order, democratic rule in Pakistan has been inconsistent and shallow (Banks, et. al. 841).
For more than half the time since its founding, Pakistan has experienced military rule. A parliamentary vote in 1970 was the first conducted under suffrage, and the election of 1988 was the first in which a transfer of power occurred smoothly, without military interference. As of the mid-1990s, no government had completed its term of office since the lifting of martial law in 1985. In 1990, a popularly chosen pri...