The politics of all is well
The law and order situation, other than corruption, also was a burning issue during the PPP-led tenure. The security situation from FATA to Karachi remained highly vulnerable, and its restoration was a priority national demand
The politics in Pakistan has always remained dominated by the idea of “all is well”, and although all political parties, no matter how bad the conditions are, have resorted to this approach of turning their face away from the real problems, the PPP apparently tops the chart in chanting the notion of all is well during its tenures of governance, whether under the dynamic leadership of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the liberally democratic Benazir Bhutto, or the latest in the order, the young Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Although faced with many challenges, domestic and international, economic and security, social and political, the latest PPP tenure of governance ranging from 2008 to 2013 under the leadership of Asif Ali Zardari remained in the headlines, and in the line of fire from not just the opposition parties, but also the wise circle of analysts, and the nation at large, for corruption charges hurled against the then sitting government. The top leadership including the then President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was later replaced by Raja Pervez Ashraf, Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, and many more in the list were accused of massive corruption and inappropriate use of national resources.
The law and order situation, other than corruption, also was a burning issue during the PPP-led tenure. The security situation from FATA to Karachi remained highly vulnerable, and its restoration was a priority national demand. The penetration of foreign intelligence agencies and their officials in Pakistan was on a high rise, as very recently admitted by the PPP leader, and the then Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, in his article in the Washington Post, alleging the involvement of top governmental officials of that time in issuing visas to the US intelligence officials.
The Memogate issue, Musharraf’s guard of honored exit, release of Raymond Davis, and many more were controversial decisions of the then PPP government that added fuel to fire of aforementioned corruption, and security challenges.
Despite all of the above, the PPP government never gave up on its claims of good governance, and strengthening democratic values in the country. The PPP governments in the past were also accustomed to the same approach.
The fact remains, however, that all was never that well.
Inviting un-invited guests
Despite all odds, one must give it to the PPP for being the most vocal when it comes to raising voice in favour of the supremacy of democracy, and negating the hostile take overs by the military in attempts to rule the country. No matter how bad the situation may get, and how incapable our political parties are to handle the job, the military must not be an answer, and the duty to lead the country must be left to the democratic representatives of the people.
Contrary to tagging the military as an un-invited guest, the PPP along with other mainstream political parties however, remains guilty in providing an opportunity, and inviting these un-invited guests to the feast table by their lack of competence in handling the challenges pertaining to economy, and security at both, local aswell as international levels.
Being vocal is a significant element in blocking the way of military dictatorship; however, it must be backed by some concrete actions as well.
The real strength of democracy lies in the support of the people a political entity gains through winning the battle for hearts and minds, not in winning over a mere parliament.
Unlike the other political parties that are generally viewed as limited to their points of origination, the PPP, till date, remains a party that has a complete national outreach and ability to reach out to the masses irrespective of geographic constraints. From ZA Bhutto to Benazir Bhutto, the ability of the PPP to engage the public via aggressive political campaigns and processions remains unmatched.
Where the party has lagged, however, is the domain of acting upon their promises to the nation.
Lack of fulfillment of promises and commitments, over the period of time, has pushed the public away from the PPP into the courts of other political rivals, and even in that of the military, which is a threat to, and weakens the, already struggling democracy in Pakistan.
For retaining public support and strengthening democracy in the country, PPP must abstain from turning its face away from the very real problems in their jurisdictions, wherever they are in the country, and strive to convert the existing challenges into opportunities for themselves to win back public opinion and support in their favour.
All odds apart, the PPP was, is, and will continue to be a potential political presence, and will also continue to influence the national politics of Pakistan
And the myth becomes reality!
The cries and hues of the families demanding the return of their missing loved ones, particularly gone missing during the PPP tenure, and were treated as a myth by the governing PPP, finally seem to be real, now with the PPP standing in the same court room demanding the release of its aides.
The phenomena that triggered the PPP’s response was the arrest of Dr Asim at the hands of Sind rangers, followed by the very recent arrest of Sharjeel Memon from Islamabad airport by the FIA, and the arrest of Uzair Baloch, the leader of the Lyari gang. Uzair Baloch, allegedly having strong ties with, and a close aide to, the PPP government and leaders confessed before the rangers of being in contact, and working for Indian and Iranian agencies, something the PPP has categorically denied, and has demanded that its aides are being held captive on the basis of false allegations.
The transformation of PPP’s opinion on missing persons from being a myth to reality re-affirms its self-centric approach.
All odds apart, the PPP was, is, and will continue to be a potential political presence, and will also continue to influence the national politics of Pakistan. There is, nonetheless, no virtue in sin city, and plenty of room for improvement.