Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, May 25th, 2020

Lawlessness – A Blow to Democracy

Exercising one’s rights and freedom is highly essential in a democratic country. People’s natural and inviolable rights and dignity have to be protected on the basis of law regardless of their racial, sexual or religious backgrounds. Neither liberal practices should encounter barriers from the ideologues side nor religious values disrespected. Narrowing the air for freedoms, mainly freedoms of thoughts and expressions, and sacrificing the rights of the public for self-interests will undermine democracy in a country and pave the way for social and political instability.
A stated will be called democratic when constitution is approved by people’s representatives, fair and free presidential and provincial elections are held on the basis of the same constitution, parliament, which is deemed “the beating heart of democracy”, is established and the public rights to life, liberty and estate are considered equal in the eye of law. Moreover, power-sharing, which prevents from centralizing power in a single body, by legislative, executive and judiciary branches are integral in a democratic state. Law should ensure the rights of the public and executive power is to enforce the law strictly.
The nascent democracy is hampered by many barriers in Afghanistan in one way or another. Besides being threatened by warring parties, the process of democratization is also hampered by the state. Enforcement of law is very poor in the country and sometimes influential individuals violate the law with impunity. For instance, the establishment of a parallel government by President Ashraf Ghani’s main rival Abdullah Abdullah is a flagrant violation of national and constitutional laws. Meanwhile, presidential election was also rigged to a great extent leading to political upheaval.
On the other hand, warring parties also put democratic principles at stake through their acts of terror. People fall victim on the basis of their race, color, creed, etc. and many were targeted by the militants as means of pressing the government. The militants continue their terrorist attacks and violate the rights of the public without an iota of mercy.
People’s freedoms are curtailed, their rights and dignity are trampled upon and their blood is spilt despite their participation in elections. In other words, citizens’ rights are not protected in the way as declared in the constitution and the state failed to carry out its responsibility. Vis-à-vis enforcing law, the legislative and executive powers do not move parallel to each other. For instance, our law is approved on the basis of religious code and international law, which is agreed upon by the public, however, it is not enforced properly – this will be a major blow to democracy. Although election symbolizes democracy, it is just one of the elements provided on being held free and fair. So, democracy has many elements, as mentioned above, and each is essential in forming a democratic society – void of violence, cruelty and discrimination.
However, the recent political upheaval emerged in light of the rigging in presidential election has put democratic principles under question in the country. It did not only undermined democracy, but also tarnished the reputation of the entire country at international level.
To form a violence-free society, extending religious tolerance plays a key role, especially in countries where religious extremists are involved in instability and stoke tension on the grounds of people’s creed and beliefs. Sine man is born with a set of natural and inalienable rights, he is free to exercise his rights and no one can restrict them but on the basis of law. Therefore, those who infringe on people’s rights and liberty under the name of religion or beliefs must be brought to justice. Hence, conducting desert court, lynching one on the street for breaking a moral norm, spilling the individuals’ blood, discriminating against women or ethnic minority groups, etc. slow down the process of democratization in the country.
Based on theory of “social contract”, people have submitted all authority to government in return for having their rights and dignity protected. They agree on being ruled and having restriction on their rights and freedom under the government’s power and to be prosecuted in case of breaking law, but safeguarding the rights of the public is the state’s main responsibility. So, the government will have to provide a safe ground for citizens so that they could exercise their human rights and dignity freely. To strengthen the burgeoning democracy, the state should hold an eagle eye on enforcing law not only outside but also inside the government’s machinery.