One thing that we have learnt so far is that the kind of electioneering and the democracy we have cannot bring any significant changes for a number of inherent flaws in our society, as democracy is basically a political expression of the social behaviors and norms prevalent in a society. Real implementation of democracy requires egalitarianism, openness, freedom and an inclusive social mindset. Unfortunately, the democracy minus these particular traits becomes an aristocracy where emerges specific privileged classes and commoners become a fuel to run such a system. The current political system of Pakistan is a manifestation of the elitist political culture in its truest sense. A new party has won the elections and its leader has vowed in his winning speech to focus on the underprivileged. The pledges seem unrealistic considering how the same party not only depended upon, but also justified the inclusion of the political elites for its victory. If winning without the political elites was impossible for a party then spreading the beans of democracy and preferring the commoners to the elite would be even more impossible. The reason for these impossibilities lies in the political structure which stems out from our social fabric. When we say that democracy stems out from social fabric then, it means that it erupts from the family structure, educational institutions and the working places. As we are a pre-dominantly agrarian and feudal society, politics from rural areas plays the most significant role in Pakistan. Our rural society is encapsulated in traditional systems of rigorous feudal control. These predominant characteristics of the rural family system affect the choices of individuals on a larger scale. In such a conservative social model, questioning and going against one’s own clan is considered to be anti-traditional or anti-social. Such an irrational political training of individuals leads to blind following of personalities on a political level. Maintaining the social power of the biradri matters the most for the biradri/ clan head or feudal lord, thus the head focuses mostly on patronising and giving leverage to its own tribal groups. If Pakistan desires democracy in a real sense, the social consciousness and fabric needs to be changed So, at the very root the patron-client relationship of the biradri system gives rise to political elites who at the end of the day become preservers of the ongoing political system. Since our family system is inherently primitive, conservative and dictatorial in nature; hence it gives birth to the privileged class on a social level. Any party that wants to grab national power needs to have the support of strong biradris which are basically social elite groups. Imran Khan’s party too is mortgaged in the hands of these elites and they are the major irritants to spreading the real fruits of democracy on a grass-root level. Educational institutions are not only places of preaching bookish knowledge but also places of nurturing the socio-political personalities of individuals. Since Zia’s era, educational institutions have been made a-political by banning student unions. Instead of letting them evolve and find a point of stability on their own, the state has curbed them in the name of peace and order. It has deprived the most vibrant portion of society from political activities. It has led to the inculcation that politics is a ‘dirty job’ and the privilege of only a specific class. From here emerged the urban elites who have dominated political frameworks in all urban centres. Unionisation of workers is one of the most important features of a democracy. It helps to trickle down the monetary and political benefits in a state and society by keeping a check on the elite. But two key factors played the most vital role in the extinction of workers’ unions. The first is the feudal elite, due to whom land reforms could not happen and the peasant class since the inception of Pakistan has been living like slaves with no economic and political rights. The landed elite is unquestioned, unchecked and poses to be the ultimate saviour of democracy in rural areas. The second one is the corporate elite. Zia curbed the trade unions which in turn strengthened the corporate elite and made it an unchecked power. A lot of governments have even curbed the rights of government servants to unionise. With such minimal or no workers’ unions, there are no specific worker rights. The salaried class bears most of tax burdens since the feudal and corporate elite are the ruling classes and cannot take measures against themselves. So, for these reasons, democracy has been handicapped in the hands of the feudal-corporate elite which have emerged through the very roots of our social fabric. Imran Khan’s winning speech had the flavours of a statesman, but the promises he makes seem way unrealistic as his own party is a clout of this very feudal-corporate elite, the same elite which has always been in power in Pakistan and has always been a hurdle against accountability and rights of the under-privileged. An Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci said that to bring actual change in a society the change in social consciousness is more important than just to bring a change in the format of a state structure. Thus, if Pakistan desires democracy in a real sense, the social consciousness and fabric needs to be changed. Student unions in educational institutions should be allowed as it would provide a platform for social discourse which would ultimately pave way for a new form of social consciousness. Another dire need is to legislate and implement laws to fully allow workers’ unions. This would automatically put pressure on the elites, and with the passage of time would help reduce the dependency of the political system on political elites. Only then could we kick start a dialectical process that helps us escape the vicious cycle where we are not moving forward. Real change would only occur this way, not by swapping one political elite with another. The writer is working as a lawyer Published in Daily Times, July 30th 2018.