Proceedings of the Workshop on "What Perspectives for Stability and Democracy in Pakistan ?"

12-12-2011

The Policy Department of the European Parliament has organised On behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Delegation for Relations with South Asia a workshop on "Perspectives of stability and democracy in Pakistan". Three speakers were invited to address issues covering domestic socio-political aspects, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, regional relations and the potential contribution and support to stability, democracy and socio-economic development. Pakistan continues to be a fledgling democracy in transition. The complexities of the Pakistani situation make it difficult for outsiders to understand the different powers at play in the country and to deal with fears about instability. A partnership of the military with the judiciary and the media has emerged, and the military retains its capacity to influence the public discourse and the trust in the effectiveness of a democratic polity in general. The definitive substantial challenge is to cope with continuing tensions between civil and military rule. Positive developments include the 18th and 19th Amendments to the Constitution (which re-establish parliamentary democracy, including aspects of electoral reform), the provinces agreeing on the National Finance Commission Award, the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the recent resumption of talks between India and Pakistan. The development of trust between Pakistan and India will be essential for the longer-term entrenchment of civilian government in Pakistan; this in turn will require some agreement to be forged over Kashmir. Whether this is feasible will depend on political will. The EU should consolidate long-term support for strengthening democracy in Pakistan by the formulation of a strong electoral framework, strengthening of the Pakistani Parliament as an institution and supporting local self governance and devolution of power.

The Policy Department of the European Parliament has organised On behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Delegation for Relations with South Asia a workshop on "Perspectives of stability and democracy in Pakistan". Three speakers were invited to address issues covering domestic socio-political aspects, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, regional relations and the potential contribution and support to stability, democracy and socio-economic development. Pakistan continues to be a fledgling democracy in transition. The complexities of the Pakistani situation make it difficult for outsiders to understand the different powers at play in the country and to deal with fears about instability. A partnership of the military with the judiciary and the media has emerged, and the military retains its capacity to influence the public discourse and the trust in the effectiveness of a democratic polity in general. The definitive substantial challenge is to cope with continuing tensions between civil and military rule. Positive developments include the 18th and 19th Amendments to the Constitution (which re-establish parliamentary democracy, including aspects of electoral reform), the provinces agreeing on the National Finance Commission Award, the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the recent resumption of talks between India and Pakistan. The development of trust between Pakistan and India will be essential for the longer-term entrenchment of civilian government in Pakistan; this in turn will require some agreement to be forged over Kashmir. Whether this is feasible will depend on political will. The EU should consolidate long-term support for strengthening democracy in Pakistan by the formulation of a strong electoral framework, strengthening of the Pakistani Parliament as an institution and supporting local self governance and devolution of power.

Zunanji avtor

Ayesha SIDDIQA (political commentator, Islamabad, PAKISTAN) ; Amir E. KHAN (Democracy Reporting International - DRI, PAKISTAN) and Gareth PRICE (Asia Programme, Chatham House, London, UNITED KINGDOM) Ralph PIOTROWSKI (project coordinator, Ecologic Institute, Berlin, GERMANY)