Pakistan’s Politics in Shambles


Pakistan’s political unrest won’t soon come to an end. The integrity and reliability of the current government’s prominent Bhutto, Sharif, and Maulana families are called into doubt. People on the other side of the political divide are enthralled by Imran Khan’s charismatic cultism. He may not be corrupt, but he lacks the skill of diplomacy, and to put it gently, his close allies are as naive. He is good at drawing crowds, but the majority of them are from the burger class, which doesn’t work all day and starts its day with pricey burgers in hand.The power battle between the two groups has distracted them from the floods that have destroyed homes and lives in Balochistan, Sindh, and Southern Punjab.

The systemic problems in the country’s politics are contributing to the continuous conflict between the PTI and PDM governments. Due to frequent military interventions, a hybrid system was imposed, which prevented the country’s democracy from taking hold. As a result, political parties lack the confidence necessary to develop and carry out their manifestos. Because of this, political leaders are unable to debate national security-related problems.

Numerous issues on the political front have made it difficult for the nation’s politics to run smoothly. The following elements demand consideration:

First, there is no “shadow government” structure to check on the performance of the government and provide an alternative to its goals and programmes.

Second, political parties are unable or unwilling to settle their differences. The PPP and PMLN’s painful interactions with the establishment led to the Charter of Democracy (COD) creation. Once in power, though, they abandoned the COD’s obligations and proceeded to attack one another. Imran Khan entered politics to challenge both party leaders and cast doubt on their abilities. With the backing of the establishment, he injected the element of conflict into politics.

Third, the politicisation of bureaucracy has resulted in the paralysis of government; politicians are hesitant to assume political ownership of those decisions, and bureaucrats are unwilling to make decisions. A bureaucrat wouldn’t willingly offer to risk his reputation for his political masters and submit to NAB investigations.

Fourth, governments have grossly ignored the education industry for the past 75 years, which is crucial for the knowledge-based economy.

Imagine the miserable situation in which 23 million children between the ages of 5 and 16 are not enrolled in school, accounting for 44 per cent of all children in this age range. More concerningly, the primary dropout rate is 33%, which implies that a new generation of illiterates will enter adulthood with dim prospects for both their future and the health of the national economy. Even the most repressive dictatorships in other countries have made sure that people receive an education to contribute to their nations’ economies and general well-being. Should one assume that this egregious neglect maintains a sizable portion of the people ignorant or undereducated on purpose so that the feudal lords and wealthy elite may take advantage of them?

What are the shortcomings that broadly discredit the current leadership? Multiple things contribute to the answer to this question.

First, there has been a lot of debate lately about corrupted family laws. Surprisingly, the families of Sharif, Bhutto, and Chaudhry have never publicly denied any allegations of corruption. Former military leaders and their offspring have similarly refrained from discussing their fortunes.

Second, all well-known political families have kept homes in pricey cities, primarily London. In reality, everyone in Pakistan has a lavish flat or mansion worth millions of pounds within a two-kilometre radius, from Edgeware to Hyde Park. In the suburbs of London, Paris, and Madrid, many leaders own opulent homes and mansions. They run successful firms abroad. These powerful and wealthy families make money in Pakistan and make investments overseas. Their income and tax obligations cast suspicion on the entire situation. The economic crisis in Pakistan would not have existed if these families and their beneficiaries had spent their fortune there. Additionally, it would encourage international investors to make investments in Pakistan. Imagine how persuasive Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s appeal to his contacts overseas to invest in Pakistan would be given the fact that members of his immediate and extended family are doing so from abroad.

Third, when on the right side of the establishment, these “super-rich families” are regarded as being essential to Pakistan’s ability to manage the nation. Because of this, a regular political employee is no longer only second fiddle but also unnecessary when it comes to formulating policies or accurately expressing the desires of the public.

Our political pundits continue to concentrate on the ongoing argument between the PTI and PDM even though, with a few notable exceptions, the vast majority of people want physical conflict with their rivals. Because of this rigid mentality, political accommodation becomes the first victim. No political party has a think tank to advise its leaders on a certain topic. Our political parties should learn some lessons about statecraft from a few instances elsewhere in the world.

The UK has not descended into anarchy after Boris Johnson. The current government’s Tory party has a system in place to get the support of about 200,000 members for the future prime minister. The opportunity to demand new elections is being passed up by the opposition Labour Party. Because everything in the political sphere is visible, we are all aware of what will transpire in the UK. A transparent political system is essential for a nation to be stable.

Take Turkey as an example. Twenty years ago, it was unthinkable that the army in that nation would ever cede control of its democratic system. However, the AKP party under Recep Tayyip Erdogan demonstrated that political parties can gradually reduce the role of the army by practising sound administration. Even when Erdogan’s administration was under attack in 2016 by the military, the populace stood behind him. The lesson is that every nation must have a strong government.

Constitutional reform in Indonesia in the late 1990s revised the army’s functions in response to popular pressure. Political involvement by the military was prohibited until its officers had left the service. However, it is now commonly accepted that the army’s influence has significantly diminished as a result of the political parties’ maturing. For the political system to remain stable, there must be communication between the military and civilians.

The political parties in Pakistan should learn to foster an atmosphere of understanding and harmony. To bring sanity to our political system and advance the rule of law and a shared economic charter for the development of the nation, all political parties must be open to conversation. Confrontational tactics are harmful to the country’s economy and its unity, as is seen from the country’s declining economic statistics.

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