Pakistani politics, a messy affair

Published: December 27, 2011
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The prospect of voting in elections seems daunting, to say the least.

Why is Pakistani politics so insipid? With no charismatic leaders to look up to after the country’s founder, parties floundering in their unkept charters and distinctions between left and right shrinking, it is no wonder that a majority of Pakistanis give the ballot box a miss.

Coupled with the irregularities in the electoral system that have finally been identified and being worked upon, the prospect of voting in elections seems daunting, to say the least.

Right leaning parties are abundant but most of these are just reactive blocs who have found it difficult to provide real services to people, thereby failing to enhance their political clout. That is why, the thumping of liberal parties in all Arab Spring revolts by offshoots or even clones of the Muslim Brotherhood can never be replicated over here. Why? Because building schools, hospitals and having real substance to show up for political rhetoric is important — people judge you by your feats, not by your harangues against the West, India or Israel.

Are there any genuine leftist parties in Pakistan? The question is critical since in any political system, parties on the left and right of the political spectrum make the electoral process so much more enthralling for people in addition to making it more debatable. If truth be told, not a single political party in the country can identified as being leftist. Without any steps taken to empower labourers in market transactions coupled with the absence of relatively every institute that can be subsumed to be part of a welfare state, no political party can be identified as working for the marginalised. Rather, each one has a definite mix of feudal, military and industrial elites.

What can the average Pakistani do to try to make sense out of this messy affair? Well, for one, they would have to really make their representatives work to implement their manifestos when in power. Two, they must draw inspiration from the Arab Spring. Doing the latter is important since the Arabs have finally awakened from their long slumber to challenge a status-quo that had been stagnant for more than four decades. Three, they must try their best to break this constricting nexus of feudal-military-industrial alliance. Only then can they find an Erdogan (the incumbent premier of Turkey) here to be respected, followed and rallied around.

Taimur Arbab

Taimur Arbab

A former sub-editor at The Express Tribune, college teacher of Sociology and English Language and a graduate student at Aga Khan Institute for Educational Development, who leans toward the left side of the political spectrum and looks for ideas for his short stories and poems in the everyday happenings of life.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.