It does not matter how many aircraft, tanks, battleships, and submarines a country has, but if its soldiers, airmen, and sailors are not willing to get into them and use them against the nation’s enemies then these expensive military machines will never be able to serve their purpose. Machines are important but the men operating these machines are more important. It is in this context why the military morale is so important; and politics, even when motivated with lust for power and boundless ambitions, must desist interfering with the military matters. Some of the ‘outstanding mediocre’ in the political parties and their unfiltered views are the very reason why politics in Pakistan is viewed by many as not delivering, stupid and reactionary. The attackers on the ‘military discipline’ refer to the violation of ‘party discipline’ when their senior members show dissent and when some of them like PML-N provincial President of Balochistan Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch speak about quitting the party on principles. The military is a great teacher and all its pupils, those that have served it or are already serving, know how it encourages ‘dissent making’ because the military teaches that dissent can be loyal and a military man’s loyalty and commitment is to the institution and the country, made permissible by a system run by professionals that promote institutionalization and renounce individuality. For an outsider, ‘party discipline’ looks like a ‘freedom killer’. If you are not free to make a choice if you are not free to desist if the members are not free, and the party is not free, how can democracy be called free? Where truths are not accepted, pride is not relished, honesty is regretted, and dissent never accepted can that be termed democracy? That is ‘betrayal of democracy’ and that is why we have a country where there is the famine of great political ideas, a famine of industry, and famine of education, health, and energy. Living standards have hit rock bottom despite democracy continuity for a decade and plus. Was Deng Xiaoping running a democracy when he pulled more than 850 million Chinese people out of extreme poverty? He was leading a dictatorial communist party and created a political miracle in which China’s poverty rate fell from 88% in 1981 to 0.7% in 2015. Even Singapore’s spectacular economic success is attributed to Lee Kuan Yew’s political belief that “democracy is an obstacle to economic successes”. The ‘right to speech’ is not greater and higher than the ‘right to life’. If politics could do nothing to raise the living standards of peoples and could not take them to schools, colleges and universities then it has no right to take them out on the roads and streets. The military cannot be made a scapegoat of an ‘unholy democratic past’ of the last 12 years or so in which there was only a ‘democratic dictatorship’ in this country. Like in the military, leaders in politics are also not accidentally created. They nurture in the course of decades and while the military leaders retire, the civilian leadership is never replaced despite mistakes committed. Insiders that may challenge such political leadership know they will pay a ‘breakaway cost’ which in turn prevents their political dissent and desertion. With ‘two-mindedness’ and ‘two-heartedness’, these ‘men without chests’ continue to serve in political parties even if the fundamental features of the politics of the party represents corruption, lies, double dealing, hypocrisy and fraud. A mission is accomplished when a mission is understood. Political parties have tendencies and have no missions. Members don’t serve any mission, they only serve political absolutism and that’s the reason why in all these years there is a huge gap in what we want and what we arrived at as a state. There can be no democracy without democrats, but what kind of democrats? Those who earnestly desire and work to shape a kind of democracy that is known to the developed world or those who allow themselves to be shaped by the kind of democracy that we have known in this world. Devoid of their ‘inner summons’ they are content with the methods and apparatus of the old state and how it serves their political purposes. They are not a group of people that can be relied upon to lay down the foundations of a new state and when someone else tries to do that they all get together to preserve the old state status because it is they who created it and dominated us and extended their power and influence through it. Look alike clones, most of the ‘electable’ who we call democrats have been tried, tested and have failed. It is because of their untried democratic endeavours that we continue to fight our state of backwardness. At the height of socialist revolution, Stalin on 4 February 1931 made a speech addressing the All-Union Conference of Leading Personnel of Socialist Industry. His reasoning on why Soviet Union must not remain backward is worth quoting for leadership that believes in fighting backwardness and not being left behind. He said, “To slacken the tempo was to be left behind and those who fall behind get beaten up. Continual beating that old Russia suffered was because of her backwardness. Beaten up by Mongol Khans, by Turkish Beys, by Polish Lithuanians and by Japanese lords — all beat her because of her military backwardness, cultural backwardness, political backwardness, agricultural and industrial backwardness. The law of the exploiter is to beat up and rob the backward. When you are backward you are weak and therefore you are wrong and therefore you can be beaten up and enslaved. We are hundred years behind the advanced countries, and we must make well this gap in ten years.” Stalin was a dictator; Deng Xiaoping was a communist; and Lee Kuan Yew never liked democracy. Yet all three countries modernised and surged forward. These leaders were not democrats and, Stalin specially, were responsible for the death of millions of people yet all of them laid the foundation of ‘new thinking’ and contributed to how the nature of politics in these countries was changed in fundamental ways. It’s time democracy in Pakistan stopped distorting facts, accusing the past military dictatorship of all ills of this country and making false and exaggerated promises of democratic success. I will not bet on the ‘two-minded and two-hearted democrats’ whose only acclaim to the democracy they serve is ‘self-service’. I am amazed that we still listen to them, trust their promises and believe that they will do something for us and this country.