Democracy is great. Democracy can do anything. With democracy, the people have the power to choose anything. Even the choice to replace democracy with theocracy. That was the choice they made in the Middle East with the Arab Spring.
That is the choice that Pakistan is bound to make when it comes up. And don’t dismiss the under 30 vote. In Muslim countries, high birth rates and high mortality rates mean that it’s much more significant than it is here.
Pakistan goes to the polls in a historic general election on May 11, but the report by the British Council found deep pessimism about the political system among voters aged 18 to 29.
Just 29 percent chose democracy as the best system for Pakistan, a constitutional Islamic republic, with 38 percent favouring sharia.
A study commissioned for the report estimated there are more than 25 million registered voters aged 18 to 29 in Pakistan, or slightly more than 30 percent of the electorate.
“As a Muslim, I believe in Khalifa rule. Democracy is like giving your country and faith to America,” one respondent, Muhammad Usama, was quoted as saying.
Promoting democracy is a blatant dead end for the Muslim world. Authoritarian models of leadership do well in the Muslim world.
The choice was never between democracy and authoritarianism, but between a secular authoritarianism flavored with Islam or a purely Islamist authoritarianism.
The Islamist Winter that followed the Arab Spring should have made the starkness of these choices all too terribly clear.