At the stroke of midnight on Thursday, the 14th National Assembly of Pakistan stood dissolved as the second successive democratic government completed its five-year term.The outgoing government and the opposition unanimously nominated former Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk as the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan who took oath as the seventh caretaker on last Friday. While speaking to journalists after the oath-taking ceremony, caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk said that he would make sure that the elections are held in a timely and transparent manner. However, there exist serious doubts in that timely elections will be held, as delimitations of various constituencies have been challenged in the court of law.In any democracy, smooth transition of power from one government to the other doesn’t make a story, but in a country like Pakistan where military has ruled more than half its history, completion of two successive terms by democratic governments makes headline. The continuity of the democratic process, albeit with flaws, indeed, is a good omen for stable democracy in Pakistan but this continuation is a by-product of the democratic system. The end product of a democratic system is socio-political and economic freedom and equality.Despite, two consecutive terms, democratic governments failed to address basic issues of the peopleHowever, the question arises whether or not the two successive democratic governments were able to deliver to the masses. How did they fare in terms of good governance, rule of law, guaranteeing basic human rights to all citizens, peace and security, socio-economic progress and prosperity, transparency and accountability? This is a point that needs to be pondered upon by all stakeholders upon completion of two successive terms of democratic setup.The holding of free and fair elections or peaceful power transition is part and parcel of democracy, but not the ultimate objective. Addressing people’s grievances is what the main objective of democracy is. When elected representatives fail to deliver, it is democracy that pays the ultimate price as people lose confidence in the system that strengthens the narrative of non-democratic forces. In past ten years, Pakistan’s External Debt has been doubled, crossing the staggering figure of USD $ 90 billion. Pakistan ranks 117 out of 180 on Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2017 securing only 32 points out of 100 which clearly indicates the level of transparency and good governance in the country.What good have the last two successive governments done to national institutions is no secret. Pakistan International Airline (PIA’s) dismal condition is a prime example of how national institutions have been damaged by mismanagement, corruption, nepotism, and abuse of power. Pakistan’s Constitution provides for the trichotomy of power clearly demarcating the ambit of the three pillars of the state: Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. The idea is to ensure that the state organs perform their respective functions within the stipulated limits and constraints.Never before in history, has Pakistan witnessed more inter-institution power struggle than in the past ten years. The lawmakers lamented continued ceding of parliament’s inherent authority against other state institutions. The Executive is displeased with the Judiciary and blames to trespass its ambit. And civil-military relations are at the lowest point in history.The power struggle between the three state organs, ever deteriorating civil-military relations, lack of long-term planning on part of the ruling previous two governments, bad governance, corruption, political appointments at key government positions, internal security threat in the form of terrorism, volatile eastern and western borders with India and Afghanistan respectively, Afghan and Kashmir issues and ever deteriorating bilateral ties with the US kept the previous two elected governments in firefighting mode at the cost of socio-economic wellbeing of the people.The rule of law, administration of speedy justice, transparency and accountability are distant dreams in Pakistan, despite two successive stints of democratically elected governments. Moreover, mandatory institutional reforms have not been put in place to improve governance in the country.The media is considered the fourth pillar in a democratic setup. Despite a democratically elected government at the helm during the past ten years, media has been forced to exercise self-censorship.The civil society in Pakistan faces the worst coercive measures as citizens face state oppression for expressing their views or dissent. People have been illegally detained and kept in custody without presenting them before the court of law. The issues of missing persons and extrajudicial killings have been taken up and highlighted by various segments of society and rights groups but the state has failed to resolve these issues.The minorities in Pakistan have experienced the worst form of violence under democracy as various terrorist groups targeted them as part of their agenda to malign Pakistan internationally. The Hazara’s plight in Quetta, violence against the Shia Muslims, Ahmadis and Sikh people, has put a serious question mark on the ability as well as the will of the state to protect minorities in the country.The provision of education, health and other basic necessities of life is also the responsibility of the state, which ensures through elected government that all its citizens enjoy these privileges without any discrimination. But, in Pakistan, education and health have been privatised and people have been left to the mercy of mafias that have come forth to fill the vacuum. Despite, two consecutive terms, democratic governments failed to address such basic issues of the people.As far as accountability is concerned, the entire process has been politicised and the credibility of state institutions involved in accountability is often questioned by various quarters. Many believe that the ongoing accountability process is meant for political manipulation, blackmailing, and arm-twisting of politicians. The successive democratic government failed to introduce the culture of free, fair and transparent accountability.Despite all these flaws, the continuation of the democratic process in Pakistan is very encouraging and good for democracy. All state institutions and stakeholders of the democratic process need to work within the ambit specified in the constitution; discharge their constitutional obligation and let the process continue without any outside manipulation.The ultimate objective of democracy is to serve masses, if democratic governments fail to deliver, people would lose confidence in democracy. Therefore, all political parties must come forward with a people-friendly election manifesto to sincerely serve masses.The writer is a journalist & analyst based in Islamabad. He tweets at @kashifaliraza & can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished in Daily Times, June 7th 2018.