Political Developments

By Daniyal Arif

Azadi March
History was made when, first time in the country, a political government transferred mandate to another political government after completing its full tenure. The development was unprecedented. Never has a political elected government done it before in 68 years since the inception of the state. It did seem an omen of bright prospects for democracy and other fundamental state institutions. Political elite foresaw it as a milestone and a silver lining for the strengthening of democratic intuitions.

Election 2013 has changed the course of political struggle for power. Emergence of the third force completely altered the dynamics of political struggle. Though there were quite many regional parties, having their stronghold in specific areas, none of them was been able to develop its image and perception as a national party; their vote banks were concentrated in regions and around the strong hold. MQM, hailed as an urban Sindh party, having their major vote banks in urban Sindh and Hyderabad region made repeated efforts to spread its dominance in Punjab- the real power region of the country having the most seats in the parliament, more than any other province. However, the two major national parties did not allow any of them to share its space.

PTI challenge to this two party struggle was another notable development of the latest election. Even though it did not grab major chunk of the parliamentary seats, it did emerge as the second largest party of the country as per the number of total votes cast in the election. There was another interesting trend to look onto: It emerged as the largest party of Khyber Pakhtunkwah making a coalition government in the province; it challenged the stronghold of parties- MQM in the urban Sindh and PML-N in the Punjab region. Except Balochistan, where it did not grab a single seat, it seemed to have made a voter base in all important regions of the country.

The developments did not stop there. Actually, the elections were bedrock to a changed course of political arena in Pakistan. Mob political power paved its way. Use of street power to address ones concern took over and fewer showed confidence in state institutions. Protests and people sit-ins are more and more considered representation of people’s verdict where number of people involved have a direct proportional relation with the credibility of the demand. The recent phenomenon- Azadi and Inqilaab March- are reflection of such a mindset that has taken over the country recently. Irrespective of the number of participants of the protestors, an unbiased state institution needs to suggest if the demands are true or they are not. Let’s all the institutions reign over their territory allocated to them constitutionally, and let them decide If the protestor demands stand true or not. Lets not the media hype of number of protestors, one million or ten million, be a reflection of how just and true the protestors’ demands are.

If such precedence is set, then we should not expect least bit of political stability afterwards. Already, the political history of Pakistan is marred by political uncertainty, and the military takeovers are attributed to lapses of the political regimes. If such a movement manages to draw a solution in its favor from the impact it has created, let us hope and decide the time when Deobandi sect, Barelvi’s are already protesting on constitutional avenue, march towards the capital with their own set of agenda to be implemented. Lets not hope that Taliban after failing to enforce there Shariah militantly decides to change their line of action and use the band wagon effect of mob political power of million marches and sit ins.

Such precedence will, indeed, be a revolution towards an era of political stability and uncertainty. Let us do what is required at the moment: strengthen institutions and depoliticize them. State institutions should be debarred from political influence constitutionally and legally so that no one dares to repeat history and destroy state institutions.

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