Political dysfunction

The people of Pakistan overwhelmingly voted in favour of the PTI in the February 8 general elections

Irfan Larik June 09, 2024
The writer is an Edmonton-based Higher Education Administration Professional


Politics in Pakistan seems stuck with the May 9 events. An uneasy tension persists between the country's most popular political party and the most powerful state institution. That a stand-off between them is taking its toll on the national affairs is for all to see.

A lot has been written and said about the reasons behind our collective failure on political, social, economic and diplomatic fronts. Much of it has to do with the persistent interference of the unrepresentative forces in the political and governance affairs of the country. The politicians have more often than not toed the line from the powerful quarters in order to remain in their good books and continue enjoying power. They have reversed course only when they have fallen out of favour of those who matter, thus ending up on the wrong side of the power equation. This game still continues and there is no indication of a change in the status quo.

The people of Pakistan overwhelmingly voted in favour of the PTI in the February 8 general elections, but failed to see their favourite leader elected to the country’s top office. What they saw instead was a puppet government installed at the Centre and in all provinces, except for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. It needs not be over-emphasised that a government not backed by the masses is not in the interest of the country.

These are times when the public has avenues — social media platforms, in particular — to express their views openly and vent their anger out. Thus the people of Pakistan are openly speaking about the policies of the powers-that-be and those that they have brought in power.

No wonder the political chaos in the country is getting worse by the day. The understanding between JUI-F and PTI to join forces against the incumbents is anticipated to cause ripples. The street power of both the parties is a well-known political fact and the situation can get out of hand if they decide to hit the streets in protest against the not-so-baseless allegations of rigging in the general elections and the interference of non-political forces in the political affairs of the country. The rising cost of living and the resulting disillusionment among the public would be a powerful weapon in the hands of the opposition. Political uncertainty — exacerbated by the unwillingness to go for some kind of a dialogue — is already proving to be disastrous for the country.

Under the circumstances, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to play their role in bringing down the political temperature in the country. Geo-strategic developments around the world call for a rethink of our domestic and foreign policies. These global developments leave no room for us to remain stuck in the petty political wrangling.

If former American president Donald Trump, who is accused of inciting his supporters to attack the Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, can be allowed to contest the American presidential election, why leniency cannot be showed in the case of Imran Khan and his party that have already paid a huge personal and political price for their alleged role in the May 9 events.

This is not to condone that attacks on military properties. This writer believes that the unlawful and unpatriotic acts of May 9 must be condemned in the harshest possible words. But the law should be allowed to take its due course.

There is need for all of us to come out of our make-believe world and stop making fool of ourselves. We have already wasted our precious time, energies and vital resources for politically demonising each other without achieving anything. Let us put a stop to this madness and reimagine our respective roles for the sake of the prosperity and progress of this God-gifted country.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2024.

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