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The Chimera: Democracy, the Third World, and the Case of Pakistan
York University Political Science Review (2007)
  • Ali Abrar, Harvard Law School

Why does democracy fail to take root in so many third world nations? Explanations vary widely. Some say economic development must precede democracy, while others insist that the "backward" cultures of the people of the third world precludes any hope for government on the Western model. General Ayub Khan, upon seizing power in Pakistan’s first military coup gave the following justification in his address to the nation: “We must understand that democracy cannot work in a hot climate. To have democracy we must have a cold climate like Britain.” Khan’s remarks are quite obviously ludicrous, and completely useless in explaining why democracy “works” in some places but not others, regardless of frigidity. Unfortunately, Pakistan is one of many nations most in need of answers, having witnessed repeatedly the collapse of “democracy” and the rise of authoritarian regimes. After examining the political, military, and economic obstacles to democratization in Pakistan, this paper concludes that traditional rallying cries, whether liberal democratic (representation) or socialist (economic interest), are unlikely to produce the desired result. Democratic engagement and investment requires some other unifying theme.

  • Pakistan,
  • democracy,
  • development,
  • third world
Publication Date
Citation Information
Ali Abrar. "The Chimera: Democracy, the Third World, and the Case of Pakistan" York University Political Science Review Vol. 1 (2007)
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