Pakistan: People and Politicians Moving in Opposite Directions

The progress of a nation hinges on the dedicated political leadership who clothe the dreams of its disgruntled people with the flesh and blood of reality. It is a leadership which guides the people to the highway of progress and prosperity by setting its priorities right and becoming highly responsive to the requirements of the circumstances. Sadly, Pakistan has been devoid of such leadership since its very inception. Resultantly, 70 years down the road, we are still standing at a cross-roads knowing nothing as to what exactly is the path to tread on.

With the advent of free media in Pakistan, the first decade of the 21st century has witnessed a marked change in the thinking of the people towards the issues affecting their lives. It was expected that the chequered political history and the changed attitude of the people would ultimately force the politicians to mend their ways. Contrarily, the recent political developments have proved this to be otherwise.

At present the people and the politicians are moving in opposite directions. The people surrounded by lot of difficulties and troubles seem to have gone conscious politically thereby expecting reasonably good performance from the politicians in connection with bringing an end to their problems. This increased awareness among the people would determine the future course of actions in Pakistan. The politicians, on the other hand, seem to be oblivious of the fact that the people can no longer be pacified by mere rhetoric.

The recent political wheeling and dealing and bad mouthing of politicians against each other after Panama leaks is indicative of the perception that perhaps they have not learnt any lesson from the past. The issues troubling the nation are same on the whole as they were when the present political dispensation took over the charge of the affairs. The criminal silence of all the leading political parties regarding the issues troubling the people and their habitual tendency of making the hay while the sun shines have further aggravated the situation. The prevailing circumstances demand maturity and statesmanship on the part of our political elite but they are badly stuck in the managing the affairs of the state as usual. They have not budged even an inch from their self-centered policies. The things have come to such a pass that no responsible person can remain indifferent to the issues our nation is faced with.

There is no denying the fact that we as a nation have a habit of putting our responsibilities on others’ shoulders and blaming others for the wrongs that happen to us. The politicians are responsible for the mess we are in, but to what extent? Are the people not equally responsible? Have we ever raised ourselves above our parochial interests while casting our vote? Do all of us go to the polling stations to get our vote counted?  Have we ever taken it our national duty to motivate the people to be part of political process by electing the right kind of people? The answer is no.

It would be criminal not to do something substantial for the development and the progress of our country at this critical juncture in time. Sitting idle would be suicidal. We should all come forward to join hands with each other so that we may put our house in order. The majority of our population is composed of the youth and they can be instrumental in bringing about peaceful revolution in the country. It is also pertinent to remark here that those who have been the victims of the wrath of the ruthless system marked by corruption and exploitation must come out of inertia by getting their voice heard through ballot.

Amid the prevailing circumstances, the role of the educated youth has become much more important. By using the educated youth as front-line soldiers, political parties who stand for change and transparency should launch a mass contact campaign. Since there is unrest and disappointment among the general public with the present political dispensation, opportunity is ripe for the political parties to convey their message. This frustration and unrest can be channelled into positive direction by educating them as to how important it is for them to be political active.

Sadly, our political parties are not organised but paradoxically undemocratic. Bar a few, all political parties are dynastical in nature. Personalisation of our politics has rendered the whole political process unproductive. Non-democratic tendencies within the political parties have resulted into the yawning gap between the people and the political elite. Given the circumstances, the political parties need to rise to the occasion. Unfortunately, no political party has so far been able to be in constant touch with the people and thus be their true representative by raising voice on their behalf.

Keeping in view the difficulties our country is faced with, all sections of society need to play an effective role in putting the country on the path of progress and prosperity. However, the role of the politicians and the political parties are of crucial importance. The future, to a great extent, will be shaped according to the way they respond to the challenges because it is the leaders who lead the people to happiness or misery.

[Cover Image: Flickr/Vicki Francis/Department for International Development]