Political Parties Need to Wake up to the Reality that Pakistan Deserves Better – Daily Times

Daily Times
Your right to know Monday, June 13, 2022

Qamar Rafiq
April 26, 2022
How should we regard the twin-face of party politics in Pakistan, one before an election and the second after coming into power? We are living in two realities. In a country with such divided and dodgy centres of power, it is sometimes difficult to discern who holds the greatest sway, who makes the decisions, which ultimately matter to you and me. Everyone knows our party politics have shelves of shame and disgrace but not a flicker of compassion.
Many experts claim today that the failure of political discourse in Pakistan has exacerbated all four threats, jeopardising the pillars of democracy, including free and fair elections, the rule of law, the legitimacy of opposition, and the integrity of rights of their voters. Of course, ordinary citizens play a critical role in maintaining democracy but in Pakistan we have traditionally re-elected politicians who abuse their power, break the rules and reject the outcome of elections they lose.
Eventually, the nation’s patience ran out. But there are compelling reasons why the recent experiences of political unrest under a shadow of misogyny have prompted Pakistan’s rediscovery of compassion. The proof of this hateful rhetoric has become a word of mouth serious enough to build walls, refuse prosperity and harvest disparities to brainwash the voters who fit the simplest definition of “forgotten”.
Starting with PTI’s blatant attempt to sever democratic norms and delay parliamentary proceedings was cheaply manipulative. Remember, this battle simply isn’t for democracy or the rule of law but only for the power gain. The PTI leader has become increasingly willing to disregard constitutional standards for not only politically self-interested reasons but also to clandestine his inability to lead the nation when he had his chance.
At worst, by continuing to play with foreign policy, constitutional guarantees and state institutes under a leader for whom others have so little trust, it may even be undermining the process of democracy on which, in the end, we all depend. Nevertheless, the PTI bespoke argument of the international conspiracy is not only bizarre but also irrational.
Ideas, policies and attitudes of our politicians that once defined their party are discarded, or drastically weakened when they come to power.
Is Pakistan now shockproof; is the public too used to tales of greed or too exhausted to react? Many, myself included, thought in 2018, the newly elected PTI government would mark the moment that the public would no longer have to suffer for their social, economic and religious rights. But no. Today, Pakistan is fronting a serious challenge to ensure all children, particularly the most disadvantaged, attend, stay and learn in school. An estimated 22.8 million children aged 5-16 are out-of-school. A report by the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) reveals that 44 per cent of the total population in Pakistan is without access to safe drinking water whereas in rural areas 90 per cent of the population lacks such access.
Despite PTI’s denials, the gap between rich and poor has widened to the largest and corruption has reached new heights. According to Transparency International, Pakistan dropped 16 places in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2021 compared to the previous year, ranking 140 out of 180 countries.
The list is not over yet. Pakistanis suffer through power cuts that can last 18 hours a day and extensive gas outages in the winter. Unfortunately, this has seriously hurt the economy and industry sector pushing growth below 4% a year which resulted in inflation that has risen sharply in the last five years, and foreign investment dropped. Similarly, Pakistan ranks 154th among 195 countries in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare, according to a Lancet study.
No one doubts the ethical car crash of bureaucratic governance has staged the high octane failure festival to testify the plan is missing to fix the country.
Nevertheless, Pakistan is going through a systematic collapse of state institutions one after the other which has emanated from bad governance, corruption, and lack of discipline. There is no denying, that over the last seven decades, public expectations were dashed in so many ways, which have brought Pakistan to a standstill position.
Unfortunately, the bespoke fragility of party politics, with factories of outlandish claims knitted by flimsy promises and made-up assurances continues to giggle at the public. Almost every newly elected government in the last seventy years have hosted economic problems at home as well as external challenges to tackle. Undoubtedly, we are being misled by our career liar politicians who are desperate to sell wicked economic and social policies.
How long will we need to wait for someone who is manifestly suited to the responsibility of leading the nation?
Coming after a dark and divisive period of more than a half-century the right to education, security and shelter in Pakistan has been under real threat. There have been disturbing levels of discrimination faced by vulnerable religious minorities of Pakistan. However, lying, denying and moving on has become our permanent strategy to ensure the safety of the rights of minorities.
Some examples suggest the profound incompetence of our rulers; creating a vacuum in every regime, which is filled by self-vested interests, or political victimisation, that have governed or dominated Pakistan, directly or indirectly, for much of its history. Ideas, policies and attitudes of our politicians that once defined their party are discarded, or drastically weakened when they come to power.
Who is shocked by this political decay? Let’s see what’s missing from this brutal power struggle: The moral course of action? Maybe, the voices of unemployed people, underprivileged farmers, persecuted minorities and disheartened low-income families.
It’s no joke, since the fat lie of the international conspiracy is debunked, we have forgotten how to behave? Despite the prevalence of this political chaos, it is a time to act responsibly and put an end to our national nightmare, to show some respect to our armed forces, judiciary and the rule of law.
Dear politicians, for the good of our nation, save your party from this moral void.
The writer is based in UK, and has specialization in health informatics from Johns Hopkins University.

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