The word democracy is derived from two Greek words: “Demos: meaning people and” Kratos “which means power. In general, it means the rule of the people, where they select their own representatives who then form a government based on the will of the people.However, in Pakistan, democracy seems to mean something else. Here parliamentarians take measures based on their own vested interests, focusing instead on enriching themselves. This election cycle is significant because it is the first time in history that a second consecutive democratically elected government has completed its mandate, and it is imperative that this march towards a true democratic system of governance continues in the future as well. This has been the longest period in our history that Pakistan has not suffered through a military coup and the focus should now turn to improving our democratic system itself. While Pakistan may have a formal constitutional and democratic structure, the current feudal and tribal dynamics of the country mean that the next general election will be won by a political party that will have a list of candidates with strong family ties or considerable wealth, instead of candidates that might be better qualified.At the national level, Pakistan’s political structure is not ready for a genuine democracy. Throughout its history, not a single political organisation has attempted to carry out the reforms needed in order to uproot the entrenched tribal political structure in place. There are two main reasons why this has never been done before and is not likely to happen at any time in the foreseeable future either. First, all major political parties draw a large section of their supporters from the tribal and feudal sections of society. Any attempt to challenge the existing social and political structure would not only challenge their interests, but would also alienate local groups that maintain their political power through such structures. Second, the majority of the country’s middle and economically challenged class has become accustomed to the current political structure, to the point where even a hint of radical reforms and a promise of true equality is considered a threat by the masses.Interestingly, there hasn’t been any international pressure to change Pakistan’s flawed democracy eitherOur society is divided over ethnic, tribal and sectarian lines, yet in a truly democratic system, these considerations should not matter, as every member of our society has the right to stand for elections. However, the people in power do not see the benefit in disturbing a system that ultimately works in their favour. On the other hand, Pakistan’s civil society remains weak and has seldom tried to force the ruling elite to reform the current political structure in place. During the last seventy years, none of the civil society groups has ever participated in effort to force the state to change the existing political structure in place that only serves to undermine the weak and defenceless.Interestingly, there hasn’t been any international pressure to change the current system in place either. Countries with close ties to Pakistan, particularly the United States and China, never saw a democratic Pakistan as feasible for its regional geopolitical security and interests. The US has no qualms in working with the establishment to achieve their regional goal, while China and Saudi Arabia, haven’t pushed for any liberal democratic reforms either. Apparently, they feel that a democratic Pakistan might impede their ambitions for the region. Even though most people are averse to the idea of change, or are too helpless or disorganised to initiate a revolution in the country, our youth, which comprises of over 30 percent of our population, might prove to be the instrument for change our country needs. They should start by taking an active role in the political dynamic prevalent in our country and fight for the common man’s right for representation and equality. They can also initiate programs of accountability, where people doing good work are rewarded, and those taking undue advantage of the system are exposed and prosecuted.While everybody agrees that a true democratic system of governance is a prerequisite for a prospering economy, the current challenges faced by Pakistan make it difficult for us to achieve this ideal in the foreseeable future. However, this is not to say that there isn’t anything that can’t be done. A look at the history of almost every prosperous nation in the world will reveal the great obstacles they had to cross, and the adversity they had to face in order to get to where they are today. In the end, overcoming these hardships gave them the strength to progress as a nation, and achieve the impossible. The writer is a Quetta-based columnist and an independent researcher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished in Daily Times, June 15th 2018.