Principles of Democracy
“The magnificent history of your great country and its achievements are well-known to the world. In common with other nations, we in Pakistan have admired the high principles of democracy that form the basis of your great state. The cry of liberty, fraternity, and equality which was raised during your great revolution and officially adopted by your great Republic had its repercussions throughout the world, as is known to every student of history. These ideals and these principles are still keeping up the hopes of many downtrodden nations.”
- Mr. Jinnah / Quaid-e-Azam
- Speech: Common ideals of Pakistan and France
- Context: Reply to the Speech made by the First Ambassador of the Republic of France to Pakistan at the time of Presenting credentials to the Quaid-e-Azam on 21st January, 1948.
The French revolution demonstrated how internal changes within societies are able to shake the international equilibrium more profoundly than aggression from abroad. While French history provides hope and inspiration to Pakistan, we recognize that violence is inherent in the scope of revolution and we are cautious of a revolutionary struggle which if severe and prolonged can often degenerate into a struggle for naked power and maintenance of order primarily from use of force.
The philosophers of the French revolution equated the mechanism of history with the unadulterated operation of the popular will. The national will of the People of Pakistan is to provide the tools, resources and pathways needed for the common citizen to acquire wealth and become prosperous. The human soul is caged by the economics of the world and liberty of the human soul has been stunted by the toil and drudgery of daily work by wage earners.
The passions, hopes and aspirations of the People of Pakistan are rooted in encouraging adventure, hope and promotion of creative energy. Security alone might produce a smug and stationary society, it demands creativity as its counterpart, in order to keep alive the adventure and interest of life, and the movement toward perpetually new and better things. Our national will is to unleash the creative energies latent in our people to build a better life, a life of imaginative endeavor, free from destitution, suffering, disease and poverty.
Pakistan finds a deep connection with the ideals found in French history as these are the same ideals of equality and liberty that Islam has proliferated consistently over the past centuries. Pakistan will implement the principle of equality found in Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon which predates Magna Carta and French Revolution “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; none have superiority over another except by piety and good action.”
In Pakistan we will maximize individual freedom and limit the sphere of authority. Every act of coercion directed against an opinion or a way of living lessens the quantity of conscience in the society where such acts are practiced. Of course, where ways of living interfere with the lawful rights of others, it is necessary to force the dissidents, however strong may be their conscientious sentiment.
Pakistan aims to implement the ideals of liberty and re-construct its society where the citizens are free to choose their religion, exercise business in all lawful ways without bureaucratic interference, marry whomever they love, rebel against alien domination and form their individual opinions. Technology has also widened the scope of democracy and our national will is to leverage technology to promote active citizenry in a direct democracy where citizens can vote on issues. It is not hard to conceive of a daily notification on smartphones listing issues up for decision each week -- whether a new building development should go ahead, whether a new school curriculum should be adopted -- accompanied by a brief AI-generated introduction to the issues with punchy summaries of the arguments for and against. Rousseau claimed that “One can hardly imagine that all the people would sit permanently in an assembly to deal with public affairs”. Technology has not only made it imaginable but also actionably possible.
The Citizens of Pakistan also plan to adopt an open-source model, where individuals who have never met can cooperate to produce material of great sophistication. For example, Linux that runs on tablets, televisions, smartphones, servers, and supercomputers around the world is curated by 12,000 contributors each working on the premise that any technical problem -- no matter how difficult -- can be solved if enough people are working on it. Similarly, Citizens of Pakistan plan to invite and engage the citizenry directly to help set the political agenda, devise policies, and draft and refine legislation. Small experiments in “Wiki Democracy” have already been tried with some success in New Zealand in 2007 where citizens participated in writing the new Policing act using a wiki. In Brazil, about a third of the final text of the Youth Statue Bill was crowdsourced from young Brazilians and the Internet Civil Rights Bill received hundreds of contributions on the e-Democracia platform*.
The People of Pakistan also plan to build a data democracy where certain decisions would be based on openly available and accessible data instead of votes. As of 2020, there will be 40 zetabytes of data in the world, which is the equivalent of about 3MM books for every living person. Data is unbiased, truly representative and presents a more realistic view on issues at hand. By gathering and synthesizing large amounts of data, giving equal consideration to everyone’s interests, we can make smarter decisions and maximize common good.
The Citizens of Pakistan are conducting a remarkable moral and social reformation based on the principles of equality, liberty, and justice and we have no doubt that we will succeed in our noble endeavors.
* source: Future Politics by Jamie Susskind