Military perfects art of undermining Pakistan’s ‘tutelary democracy’


On Friday Pakistan moved toward its second democratic transition of power in its 71-year-old history as Nasirul Mulk, a retired judge, was sworn in as caretaker prime minister for two months to preside over national elections on July 25. He was jointly nominated by the governing party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the opposition, Abbas Nasir writes for the New York Times.

“Mulk enjoys a good reputation in the wider political arena,” said Raza Rumi, the editor of the Daily Times. “He’s seen as a neutral judge in the past without any political affiliation,” he said. “In a way it’s a good development,” added Rumi, a former Reagan-Fascell fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy.

The transition marks a milestone for Pakistan’s fragile democracy, suggests, while the election will test the robustness of its democratic institutions amid allegations of military meddling, Reuters adds.

In a country where generals have directly ruled for 31 years, [a transition] would qualify as a cause for celebration. Instead, Pakistanis see the return of “tutelary democracy,” as the military disempowers politicians who stray from its positions on foreign policy and national security, supports a new king’s party and punishes the press for providing fair coverage to its perceived opponents, adds Dawn’s Nasir, a columnist and former editor of Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English-language newspaper:

An unfair and disputed election would unleash turbulence that Pakistan could well do without. The Pakistani people have suffered terribly in the past two decades of pitiless terrorism and war. They deserve to be governed by representatives elected in a free and fair election. And they deserve a robust press — one that raises necessary questions.


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