After dominating the world for about 2600 years, democracy is now on the ventilator. From the Bazaars of Athens to the Cantons of Switzerland it has been a long eventful journey. When the ‘Athenian Republic’ was announced in 420 BC it was widely proclaimed that the era of blood clans, hereditary kings, usurpers tyrants was over. ‘Kratos’ or the rule of the demo or the people was finally around. Today the deprived and the under-privileged populace is looking at the People’s Republic or the Nordic Welfare States as the last hope for humanity. Unless sanity prevails, a major worldwide crisis is inevitable with the collapse of the democratic order. According to United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres the world is suffering from skewed globalization. President Arif Alvi presented interesting figures, 26 richest people of the world control wealth amounting to $1.4 trillion which is required to sustain 3.8 billions of poor souls. In other words the ratio is between 26 versus 3.8 billions of deprived. In other words, the gap is between 26 versus 3.8 billion living beings, which is the highest in human history.Twenth was the century of bloodshed and turmoil. There were three major revolutions (19717 Bolshevik, 1949 Chinese, 1979 Iran) and two world wars (1914, 1939). Finally in the current century, the Chinese and Iranian revolutions remain on track the Russians decided to change course. They now claim to be an emerging capitalist democracy like the United States and other European countries. The five Nordic Welfare States (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland) continue to cover the needs of its citizens from cradle to grave. All natural resources belong to the people to be used for their welfare.A worldwide revolution is in the making. Lack of voice has created anger. The Yellow Vests movement that started in France on November 17, 2018 is still on. There is unrest in Taiwan, Israel, Brussels, Brazil, Canada, Spain. Everywhere there is rule of the elite, nothing changes for the masses. The mismanagements of governments continue unabated. Only a few hold franchise over power and money. Without a major redistribution of wealth the crisis would not come to an end. Today the deprived and the under-privileged populace is looking at the People’s Republic or the Nordic Welfare States as the last hope for humanity. Unless sanity prevails, a major worldwide crisis is inevitable with the collapse of the democratic orderA concept of Citizen Initiated Referendum (CIR) is being discussed to bring back the voice of the demo into the corridors of power. Recently I had the chance of visiting the parliament building in Islamabad. There was great hustle and bustle. Expensive cards, media, personnel to serve the elected representatives but at the end of the day the outcome for the common man is nil. His issues remain unresolved. That is why the voter turnout in elections continues to drop.In the nineties UK under Prime Minister (PM) Tony Blair went to Iraq war against the wishes of the people. There were huge demonstrations all over the country. While Iraq has been destroyed and its resources plundered, there were thousands of casualties on both sides. Recently PM Blair apologized to his nation for this aimless bloodshed. The weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) were never found, the entire effort was a big hoax. The only good that came out of the big mess was that Mr. Blair’s political innings came to an end. Error of judgment was presented as an excuse of this misadventure. Instead of the demo the rule of clans, usurpers and hereditary leaders is back under the garb of fake democracy. It is an antithesis of the basic concept. Vote has lost its meaning. Representative democracy has failed. Perhaps the ‘Athenian Republic’ was based on direct participation of the people which is being practiced today only in the Swiss Cantons or some Town Hall meetings here and there.In its 2600 year term democracy has come under threat several times before its current dismal state. In October 1970 Canada went through a major crackdown against dissidents of the government. Under emergency laws 450 people were arrested. The assault was short lived and individual liberties were soon restored. Patrick Watson a TV Journalist decided to research democracy to highlight its importance for the advancement of mankind. He then published his works under the little of, ‘The Struggle for Democracy’. In the year 1975, Indira Gandhi imposed emergency in India to contain her opponents. Kuldip Nayyer, the veteran journalist recorded this era in his book titled, ‘India the Critical Years’. Luckily democracy survived in India, emergency was removed in 1977 and elections announced.In the sixties during the term of Harold Wilson the Labour Prime Minister, the establishment in UK wanted to get rid of him due to his left leaving policies. Lord Louis Mountbatten suggested to the Queen that the PM should be dismissed and Martial Law imposed. There was a similar situation in USA when President Richard Nixon was being impeached. The Chief of Staff of White House General Alexander Haig suggested to the President to impose martial law and dismiss the Congress. In both cases sanity prevailed and democracy survived the proposed unconstitutional onslaughts. Unfortunately, Pakistan has not been that lucky.In 2600 years a lot of water has flown under the bridge. While there have been advancement in humanity and individual liberties, the economic strangulation of the many by a few has seriously hurt the democratic order. In case of demise of democracy a new order may throw the world into chaos and disorder of unimaginable proportions. Hunger and famine outside will not permit the party inside to continue unchecked. The free market forces have caused a free fall of the powerless while the powerful have prospered. The regulatory frameworks have to be re-introduced to protect the weak. In case of collapse only the welfare states will survive rest will be history together without the ‘Athenian Model of Democracy’. The gap between the voter and the voted has to be abridged expeditiously before it is all over. In the words of Allama Iqbal, ‘Har Fard hai Millat ke Muqaddar ka Sitara’ (every citizen is the rising star of the nation). The deplorable anti-politics of today has to be replaced with people friendly real-politics before the world gets engulfed in strife and disorder.The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science FoundationPublished in Daily Times, February 4th 2019.