Growing intolerance in politics

INTOLERANCE in political arena of Pakistan has been there for long time, however, during recent years, it has achieved new heights with the introduction of media and social media websites. Now as political activities are gaining momentum ahead of next general election and heated discussion is taking place about the performance of political parties which remained in power at the Centre and the provinces, incidents of political intolerance are also surfacing.
Just the other day, PTI leader Naeemul Haq lost temper during a TV show and slapped a sitting MNA and PML (N) leader Daniyal Aziz while arguing with him. Such kind of incidents cannot be justified or defended under any circumstances. In fact even if one disagrees with the opinion or viewpoint of other person, civility demands that response comes in decent words. Abusing or slapping others reflects the person has no counter arguments to defend his point of view. The former British Prime Minister had once said, “Because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.” In fact differences and constructive criticism are always welcomed in every society yet differences should not be taken to such an extreme where these start hurting the society as a whole. Differences, be they among individuals, political parties or institutions, must remain within the bounds of law, constitution and morality. Though Daniyal Aziz, who also holds the portfolio of Minister for Privatisation is known for making hard hitting comments to provoke others, yet we understand that Naeemul Haq has done no service to his party through his act at a time when it is fully gearing up to enter the next poll as a major political force. Such incidents indeed hurt overall image of the political party and it is good to see that the top leadership of PTI disapproved Naeemul Haq’s action. As also pointed out by Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah in the National Assembly on Wednesday, parliamentarians and political leaders are mirror to the nation. Indeed the people look towards the political leaders as their role model and when the leaders themselves start demonstrating intolerance publicly, how do efforts to free the society from intolerance and extremism will succeed? As the elections is nearing, it is important that the top leadership of all political parties demonstrate greater maturity in their conduct, promote healthy argument with solid reasoning and avoid taking the electioneering to a level that stokes further chaos in society.

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