PPP's agenda: Toeing the party line

If the PPP can make amends with the PML-N from time to time, why can't it reconcile with its own disgruntled workers?

Hamna Zubair February 23, 2011

Quick – how many people have been thrown out of government this month for refusing to toe the party line?

It’s getting to a point where it’s hard to keep track. If you stop considering those individuals who have been sidelined because their views are too controversial, the number of disgruntled Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) members is even higher.

We’ve heard it over and over again – political parties need to have an agenda, and party workers need to stick to their group’s principles. This is not only done to legislate effectively, but is also an important way for a political party to differentiate itself from its rivals. But is the PPP leadership doing the right thing by dropping dissenting party members like hot potatoes?

Ever since the present government came into power, its leaders began to hold forth on their ‘policy of reconciliation.’ During its short tenure, the government has managed to tussle with, and then reconcile with, political parties like the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), and institutions like the judiciary.

Why, then, is the party not making an effort to engage in discussions with workers who disagree with the party’s line? Surely more will come out of constructive dialogue than pink slips.

While we’re on the topic, what is the ruling government’s ‘party line’ anyway? The current government’s policies – from foreign affairs to economy – aren’t exactly reminiscent of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s vision. The party line seems to shift with every new issue the government faces, from blasphemy laws to women’s rights, to even national sovereignty. Is it any wonder that the party’s own workers are confused?

To be fair, other political parties in Pakistan aren’t exactly sorted either. But the recent wave of reshuffles, ousters and resignations, is an amusing addition to the party’s history, and we are eagerly waiting to see what will happen next.

Hamna Zubair The writer is a sub-editor at the Express Tribune Magazine hamna.zubair@tribune.com.pk
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Saleem | 13 years ago | Reply The PPP aims at creating a just and equitable society with equal opportunity for all the citizens. The PPP is proud of being the voice of the poor, the working classes and the middle class. The PPP’s policies, which are dedicated to the underprivileged and the down-trodden have created conditions that enabled the business and trading classes to compete in the open market. The party aims at providing full employment, health, education, water supply and sanitation. It reiterates its firm commitment to provide food, clothing and shelter to every citizen of Pakistan through its emphasis of full employment. Zardari’s three years in office are marked by the accomplishment of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s mission and ideals. Since assuming office, Zardari has used reconciliatory approach towards his political opponents to get their support on important national issues. It is easy to develop a new structure, but extremely difficult to reform the existing one. Zardari did the latter in the form of the 18th Amendment.
Abdullah Wiqar | 13 years ago | Reply The problem with your line of thinking is that you're giving them too much credit. They're not professional and sincere politicians who want to improve the standards of the country and leave it a better place for our future generations. No sir, this lot is more on the lines of professional robbers. There main objective is to stay in power so that they can avail their positions for as long as possible. For that they need to play nice with powerful allies and troublesome oppositions but for now, they don't seem to view the dissident voices within to be a threat to the status quo. So they ignore them. We don't have political parties. We have gangs of opportunists who collaborate together when needed to grab a mouth watering opportunity, such as the seats of power in a poor rich country like ours.
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