Despotic leadership of political parties
GIVEN the current political landscape, democracy seems to be weakening and worsening day by day and beyond any doubt and debate leadership of all political parties is equally and collectively responsible for this occurrence.
Each side is busy in creating and countering a narrative against the others. For taking a popular stance, no political party takes into account the cost to the country, its security, the rule of law, its sovereignty, its foreign policy, and its democratic system.
Every major party gathers and tries to please its supporters and vote bank to win the next general election whenever it is held, in spite of true and false their spokespersons appear in talk shows make their best to prove their leaders true statesman and saviour of the nation.
The parties have shelved their manifestos and ideologies and are fighting to build a trend started on social media by their paid keyboard warriors.
Now stories left and right politics in Pakistan is piece of past. Heirloom politicians, political clowns and opportunists are giving priority over real political and gross root workers while dynastic politics is at its peak.
There is no indication of the application of democratic standards in decision-making in political parties.
In the recent past, if we studied the resolutions and decisions made, we could easily conclude that these were not collective conclusions that were passed after healthy debates and discussions in party meetings, but rather the decision by one person who presides over and who is not accountable to anyone in his or her party.
In a recent case, when the Supreme Court heard a petition that who is comparatively more powerful in a political party either party leader or the parliamentary leader, whose leadership would prevail in the event of a vote in a session of Parliament during important statutory times.
It was a golden opportunity to set a precedent that could end the dictatorship in political parties.
The decision in the case of the interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution must have had a clear direction to, a supreme political party leader who is no less a dictator must exercise his power at the time of legislation in Parliament with a clear majority expressly (in writing) consent to his parliamentary party.
Although the details of the decisions are yet to be made public, the brief orders do not reveal to say that the authority of the political party leadership has been curtailed to some extent, so the opportunity which was supposed to be converted in blessing in disguise has gone without ensuring that any decision or resolution of a political parliamentary party is a voice of politically mature, democratic people but not according to one’s whims and desires.
The unfortunate side of the tale is that the regional and national parties have become the tools of the larger parties and are only willing to install a collation government at federal and provincial levels.
Historically, the regional and national parties, although led by tribal and feudal lords, were more democratic, liberal and disciplined, they have now been shrunk to the division and district levels due to compromised decisions, unnatural and nefarious alliance with big parties for limited, individual, self-interest.
Therefore, with the passage of time, these parties cannot play a significant role in democratic process.
The Election Commission of Pakistan, a regulator of political parties, has failed miserably to implement the strictly framed laws, rules and regulations for the internal elections process.
Abandoning the electoral commission provides additional incentive for political parties to deliberately avoid compliance with the laws relating to political parties and not to improve their internal electoral process.
Ultimately, the country’s democratic process has not been able to progress due to dictatorial leadership of political parties.
—The writer is a practising lawyer, based in Karachi.