Political ethics and state of Pakistan
WHEREAS, the state is the basic unit in an anarchical international system, at domestic level the political, economic and social activities of its masses revolve around the state and its interests.
The political forces (political parties) pursue the state’s interests through a political system while making judicious use of all elements of national power.
In the domestic politics, the activities of political forces in any state are bound to follow some set rules, values and procedures which are known as political ethics.
Indeed, “Ethics and politics are inseparable” hence must be practiced and demonstrated accordingly.
The relationship between ethics and politics is deeper and intimate for the states like Pakistan which follow an ideology of a Divine religion; Islam.
In the wordings of Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal, “Jalal-i-Padshahi Ho Kay Jamhuri Tamasha Ho, Juda Ho Deen Sayasat Say To Reh Jati Hai Changezi”.
This clearly reflects the picture of politics where there are no values (since religion is all about morality and values) and in the absence of values, it is all the ‘law of jungle’.
The law of the jungle depicts a situation where there are no tenets, no rules and people use force to get what they want.
The Constitution of Pakistan is based on golden principles of Islam which is an advocate of morality, values and ethics.
The leaders of political parties should be specimen and true reflection of the values and ethics for rest of the masses and society they represent.
Indeed, they derive power from the masses and the people whom they governed subsequently.
In order to be effective leaders, the political parties must demonstrate ethics which give them moral ascendancy over law of jungle.
Unfortunately, almost all political parties in Pakistan are publically demonstrating a culture which has no values, no ethics and no morality.
This is in fact is a violation of their written party constitution and manifestoes.
Their publicly demonstrated activities give a wrong message to general masses especially the youth, which constitutes over 60% of the total Pakistani population.
Whereas, the power should come from the people, the demonstrated brand is that, it comes from violence, mayhem, use of forces, abusive language, money, political bribe and immoral practices.
The political forces should demonstrate the compliance of law and its enforcement through a fair play and ethics.
But, the practices are totally different and indeed, contradictory in nature.
Practically, the political forces are promoting a system of political violence and antipathy, social fragmentation and intolerance and religious bigotry and revulsion.
While, state and its interests should be the focus of all political parties, the demonstrated practices are otherwise.
National interests and masses are the missing links in the power politics of all political and religio-political parties of Pakistan.
Their immediate aims are to grab power (through any means may be illegal) and the subsequent objectives are to remain in power even through on unjustifiable grounds.
Away from state-centric national politics, the political parties of Pakistan are individual based family-centric, irrespective of capabilities and potentials of members of these dynasties.
In this family centric politics, other dedicated members of the respective political party cannot lead the party despite they are better in all aspects; politically prudent, senior in age, prolonged-political experience and excellent capabilities to run both, the state and party.
This is true with all political parties of Pakistan, barring one (Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan).
This is the basic dichotomy in the democracy based political parties of Pakistan. This indeed is negation of democracy within political parties of Pakistan, which publicize democracy and claim as the exponent for the supremacy of democracy in Pakistan
In order to keep a firm hold on family-centric dynastic politics, the mantra of political blackmailing is used that, “hum ne siasat main qurbanian deen”.
They exploit other senior people in the party that their elders had lost their lives or governments for the cause of democracy or party which is totally fallacious.
Indeed, objectives of their elders too were same; gain power for advancing their own motives and prolonging their rule through all unlawful means.
The power in Pakistan is used to strengthen dynasties, establishment and expansion of family businesses and for the promotion of individual interests of few rather national interest of Pakistan.
The unethical politics in Pakistan cannot be expected to nurture a political culture in the country which brings morality, values, fair play and ethics.
Similarly, the dynastic politics of contemporary political parties in Pakistan is not anticipated to encourage democracy in the wider politics of Pakistan.
Besides, there are cartels (interest groups) of virtually all types who firmly support the current format of politics in Pakistan.
Under such unjustified and discrimination based individual centric approach, the state of Pakistan cannot realize its true potentials domestically as well as internationally.
The question arises; what to do at this most trying time of our history.
A smart answer is; let’s aware the masses, empower the people, revamp the national educational system, debate issues of national interests through academia and media and strengthen the institutions as per Constitution of Pakistan.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.