Inevitable political reforms in Pakistan
IN the contemporary complex political arena, politics has gained a momentum in the world. The emergence of nation-state is proclaimed as outcome of political contestations. The development achieved by nation-states is actually the product of comprehensive political strategies. Currently, the complexities of globalization and technological advancement can only be tackled through harmonized political principles. Politics has an ostensible impact on socio-economic system of a nation because it plays a predominant role in manoeuvring human conduct and behaviour. At present, politics is inevitable to analyze the past to plan for future.
Undoubtedly, politics plays a significant role in domestic and external affairs. The scope of politics ranges from the rights and duties of individuals to the state. The exploitation and management of natural and human resources for the purpose of development, progress and prosperity of a nation are dependent on political culture. Unfortunately, Pakistan has been facing a political turmoil since its inception in 1947. Currently, Pakistan has been passing through severe constitutional, politico-economic and institutional crises. But yet, politics is one of the most ignored subject in Pakistan.Ironically, the elite of the country make it more complex deliberately to have maximum gains. Even beyond the toughest socio-economic and political conditions of the state, political demagogues are busy in their personal grudges. They are reluctant to pay enough attention to resolve the prevailing crises in the country. They always seek opportunity for personal gains during hard times at the expense of masses. Do masses exist only for their dirty politics?
Nevertheless, masses are keenly desirous for change but they are deceived with hollow slogans. It is because of the prevalence of colonial mentality among political elite. Common men are kept away from political spheres, due to which a few elite families have established hegemony over politics. They create hurdles for common men to maintain their status quo. It has made politics as dynastic more and an elite play than dynamic. Should common men pay taxes only for their (elite) privileges?
Importantly, the recent dissolution of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provincial assemblies has nothing with resolution of prevalent problems but satisfying ego and wicked intentions. It is merely to pressurize the federal government to hold a general election in the country. No doubt, holding general elections are crucial in a democratic set-up for ensuring republicanism. But the question is whether such controversial elections with animalistic intentions and prejudice politicians bear fruitful results? Rationalization of individuals and state role respectively needs political reforms. Elections with political renovation might ignite a ray of hope for betterment among masses.
According to the ECP, there are 160 registered political parties in Pakistan. None of the political party has an unambiguous manifesto regarding the contemporary crises. Each political party has been occupied by the elite. There is nominal internal democratic norms within these parties. What does it mean? Do they merely strive for power? Is there really a need to have numerous political parties to address state hardships? Likewise, each political party provides space to evergreen politicians. They welcome the ousted elite. If an elite is not loyal to a party, how can he/she be loyal to national interests? Such expectants must be overthrown from politics by shutting doors for them.
Similarly, there is no limitation on the terms of election contestation nor on membership of either assemblies. Qualification and experience are not required for contesting election. A candidate must have enough qualification and experience to contest election. It must go through local bodies and provincial assemblies to reach to the national level politics but terms for each level must be restricted. It would pave the way for new faces and minds in politics. If a public organization requires special qualification and relevant experience for recruitment along with restriction of chances, why should not politics?
In addition, there is lower age limit for election of local bodies, provincial and national assemblies but upper age is not taken into consideration. Usually, a public servant retires from service at 60 years but politicians occupy portfolios even beyond mental and physical weaknesses. It is a hurdle for the youth in politics. Furthermore, independent candidates mess up the political balance. It boosts up political engineering in the country. If one cannot join a political party before election, he/she should not be welcomed later on. Likely, a candidate must be permitted to contest election merely on domicile basis or at least from one constituency. It would save time, energy and money of taxpayers. If a common man cannot secure a class-iv vacancy beyond domicile nor can apply for the same post from different localities, why not elites?
Moreover, women are half of the population in Pakistan. For balancing the political perceptions, half of share must be rendered to them in politics. The political parties must have pre-election of nominations of experts for concerned portfolios. It would promote efficiency, fairness and accountability. In a nutshell, Pakistan is in dire need of political reforms through constitutional means before the upcoming general election to bring the state out of troubles. Political realization with positive direction leads to development, progress and prosperity.
—The writer is a PhD candidate in Political Science at International Islamic University, Islamabad.
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