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‘Pakistan must learn democracy from India’


Islamabad : A Pakistani newspaper Tuesday lauded India for the smooth conduct of presidential election, saying Pakistan should learn to hold similar events without “innuendo and suspicions”.

An editorial in the News International said Pakistan needs to learn some lessons in politics and governance from its larger neighbour.

“The Indian presidential election has proceeded as smoothly as most such events in that country, with its advantages of a well-entrenched democratic system which follows the dictates of the constitution clearly and visibly,” it said.

Former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee was Sunday declared the 13th president of India after he convincingly defeated opposition-backed Purno Sangma. Mukherjee will succeed Pratibha Patil.

The daily said this stability is something “we badly need in our own country where so much anarchy prevails over many political matters, including the precise interpretation of the constitution.

“The manner in which the transition has taken place, with none of the innuendo and suspicions which surround similar events at home, is testimony to the way in which systems have been institutionalized in India, making it virtually impossible for anyone to tamper with them or create a gap in the running of democracy.

“Sadly, we have over the past six decades faced just the opposite fate. This is one reason why our democracy has been unable to remain stable or durable.

“With our perpetual political upheavals and military interventions, democracy in Pakistan has failed to establish itself as a force that cannot be disturbed by any outside element.”

The editorial also praised Mukherjee, one of India’s most experienced politicians.

It called him a “highly respected and experienced figure” and said “he drew widespread respect as a man who had served his country well and steered largely clear of major controversy.

“It is important then that the person who occupies the presidency is an individual unmarked by scandal, and able to rise above petty political matters. This too is something we need to learn,” the editorial said.

The daily lamented that Pakistan’s problems stemmed from the “acts of the president (Asif Ali Zardari) himself and his dual role as head of the ruling party.

“We can be sure that Mukherjee will be able, with his vast experience, to do a good job in his new post simply because he enjoys status as a leader who has risen through a stable democratic system and is looked up to by his people as a man they can trust.

“We can only wish we could follow suit.”