Awaam Pakistan’s challenge

Editorial June 22, 2024


Congratulations are perhaps in order for former PML-N stalwarts Miftah Ismail and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for finally launching their party – Awaam Pakistan. Speculations about it were rife ever since the two parted ways with the PML-N in the months following the PDM government’s formation following the ouster of PTI founder Imran Khan as prime minister in 2022. If the overwhelming support for the PTI has any lessons to offer, it is that the people are fed up with what the traditional political parties have to offer and are looking for new options. Dismissing the citizens as being politically naïve will not cut it anymore. In that, the Awaam Pakistan party can be seen as a fresh option. But what is unique about it that was or is not exclusive to other parties formed by disgruntled party leaders? What distinguishes the PML-Q, PSP and BAP from Awaam Pakistan are perhaps the circumstances under which they were formed (and by whom). But none have been able to offer the people anything distinct despite presenting themselves as holier than those they separated from.

In the video announcing the party, the issues highlighted include inflation, unemployment, education crisis, etc. Almost all of these have already been used by mainstream parties to entice voters. The mantra of meritocracy has also been done to death. Moreover, as is common in all other parties, the Awaam Pakistan party also has two wealthy people leading it. Why is it that all awaam-obsessed parties in Pakistan hardly ever have a common man in leadership positions?

One can probably let these things be for now and see what choices the party makes, but its real test will be in the face of undemocratic forces. Whether it can withstand the pressures that have undermined so many other political ventures will ultimately determine if it is a genuine alternative or just another fleeting attempt at political reform.


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