APC hasn't moved the oracle

Democracy requires not only the wisdom to lead but also the wisdom to follow


Jahangir Kakar September 24, 2020
The writer is a civil servant based in Quetta

The oracle has not been touched by the All Parties Conference (APC) held a few days back in terms of it making any concrete impact. The reason behind such an attitude is of course the low level of political parties in appealing public support. These political parties could create a crowd effect able to sustain for a few weeks with the inherent weakness of fragmenting apart on account of dissipating coherence.

In democracies of the world, the people from the deep centre of power that enables them to govern themselves through the tools of parliaments, free judiciary, and constitution. Political parties are a way of accessing these tools. These parties express the collective will and wisdom of the citizenry. They educate people on issues of governance, right and wrong, freedom and despondency, economic well-being, and exploitation and give them the sense of being the individuals who decide how to rule themselves.

The political education brings in political awareness and maturity in people. They develop a sense of relationship not only with the state but with the political parties who lead them. They own the state apparatus and equally apply sense to watching it be used judiciously.

The oracle is right in predicting the failure of any political party including the ruling ones to be able to mobilise people towards any grand political change. What would require the people to march towards such change would be an absolutely articulated political ideology. The case of political parties in Pakistan is a sad one in terms of harbouring any lucid political thought ever.

None of the political parties, except for the short respite of PPP that too until the assassination of the Daughter of the East, could have ever been able to express a clear political ideology. When such is the situation, the followers can be motivated for a short while but cannot be said to behave in a manner of expectations such as in other countries, for instance, Turkey.

Political education provides the cause of existence to the people. When they foresee such a cause being mishandled or tampered with by such anti-democratic elements, this becomes their battle of survival and they fight tooth and nail thence. In paradoxical circumstances like the ones with us, people can be said to be subscribers to certain political clans but when it comes to measuring the level of relationship, it is non-existent.

The extreme and rigid colonial formations within any given political party in the country are staggering blockades of them being democratic. The family, bloodline, and hereditary built-in and built-up of the political parties have rendered them from behaving in any manner but democratic. The strong feudal controls within the political parties never allowed democracy to flourish in their lines, what to speak of democracy without.

This too is a strongly strange phenomenon that whenever there has been an attempt in devolving power to the people at the grass-root level, it has always been the so-called dictators who accomplished this. The democratic regimes, rather than delegating power, centralised them excessively ending at the nucleus of a single personality — the state’s premier. The so-called democratic political parties always remained fearful in sharing power with the people they clamour to lead.

The system of local government is a globally tested and tried mechanism for sowing the graceful oak of democracy world over but in our case, it still remains a dream far from being materialised. What the political parties must do is deliberate on forming a successful system of local government which will mark the birth of democracy in our country. We must remember that democracy is not the game of numbers alone but is the numerology of calculated arithmetic. It requires not only the wisdom to lead but also the wisdom to follow.

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