I have observed that whenever a Pakistani government sees the writing on the wall and knows its end is near, the talk of presidential system as being suitable for the country is floated. Both Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif wanted to be “Amirul Momineen” a few months before they were removed. Ayub Khan’s presidential system failed miserably, leading ultimately to the break-up of the country (when the country was under a presidential system).

The fact is, most well-governed countries in the world have parliamentary systems. Turkey is one country where the parliamentary system was replaced by a presidential system, but it is an accepted fact that it is now in a poor shape economically and the governance has become poorer. 

A democracy, whether under a presidential or parliamentary system, can succeed only where the populace is literate, which is not the case in Pakistan. In our region, only Sri Lanka has a presidential system, which has succeeded because of the high literacy rate of its people. 

Another factor which should be considered is the number of provinces in the country. A presidential system would have a chance of success if the country were divided into twenty small provinces, as in Switzerland (which has twenty two cantonments despite its population being less than that of Karachi). But it can be argued that the parliamentary system in Pakistan has failed due to its having only four provinces. 

Imran Khan's followers evidently believe that making him the president of the country would solve all the problems we are facing. Perhaps they think that in a presidential system, he would be like a dictator, sending all his opponents to jail without trial. But then, that would not be a democracy, but a system like that prevalent in China and Russia (or Saudi Arabia). The people of Pakistan (whatever their faults) are not likely to bow down to dictators. They have overthrown Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan and Bhutto (a civilian dictator).