KARACHI: My vision for Pakistan is that it should be a moderate, developed and just country.
Yes, I need to have a vision otherwise the path I am on will be meaningless. I need a Pakistan where there is less extremism, class division, corruption, poverty, colonization and politicking. Then perhaps we will be in a position to achieve the Pakistan envisaged by our founding fathers, wrecked by the previous generations and needed by our future generation.
I have come to the conclusion that identifying issues and talking about them is only the first step one in ‘neopolitics’, unlike in old politics where ranting and raving about issues was enough.
I disagree that ‘you have done your bit’ when you have raised a particular issue. What people need and are demanding now is resolution of issues – not just members of parliament ‘talking’ about them. The problem, however, is that resolution of any issue is something difficult to do – institutionally speaking – for an opposition member of parliament. Nevertheless, in this new brand of politics there is joint responsibility and an ownership of issues and this also means that the resolution is to be done jointly— ideally through a consensus. The latter then translates into a kind of lobbying pressure – but from within parliament – so as to put pressure on the different political parties to actually do the thing that people want done.
In the process, the real focus of politics and politicians will hopefully move away from privileged groups and to the people.
Perhaps over time they will learn to see themselves as people who are there to serve voters not rule over them. I have tried and tested this on many issues ranging from foreign policy to poverty reduction. Galvanizing different political thoughts and creating a common base instead of creating new bases for the sake of a resolution of an issue is what I call issue-based consensus politics. It involves taking a particular agenda directly to the people – i.e. through the street, until it reaches a resolution.
The priorities have to be such that they are based on people’s rights. There should be no compromise, especially when a matter is directly connected to the well-being of the people. Delaying tactics by the politicians involved must be avoided in the decision and policy-making. The sole priority should be a win-win for the people and not a win-win for politicians. There can be flexibility on the type of solution offered but the need for a solution cannot be debated.
The principles guiding the resolution should be based on justice, equality and fair-play.
It is clear that such politics are in an evolutionary stage. They must produce results for the nation to have faith in the concept. I am convinced it is the only way forward. I am also convinced that this idea is a changemaker and hence will face opposition and resistance. That is fine — we have the strength, the patience and the resilience. Having said that, we also need to understand that such a type of politics cannot expected to materialise in Pakistan overnight – not least because our traditions on this front have been quite different. For instance, parliament is not a place where an opposition MP finds it easy to initiate debate, let along bring about change, on a certain issue of national and/or public importance. For that very reason, it is important that a more-inclusive brand of politics develops in this country.
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