Sour grapes

Criticism of anyone for being ‘selected’ does not sound good from anyone

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zaedari’s saying that PML(N) Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif was trying to be ‘selected’ as PM for the fourth time does not really become someone whose party joined the PML(N) in ousting Imran Khan as PM, and who personally served as Foreign Minister in Mian Nawaz’s younger brother Shehbaz’s Cabinet. Mr Bhutto Zardari only made it clear that his own party is as ready as any to do the bidding of those that the PTI was accused of doing. The PPP claims to be a secular and democratic party. It might have secular credentials still, but ever since it joined the no-confidence motion against Mr Khan, its claim to being democratic have become doubtful. It seems that Mr Bhutto Zardari’s fulminations against his former ally are more a case of sour grapes rather than of an outraged principled position, because there are signs that the PPP feels it has not been rewarded in the way it should have been, with a share in Punjab and in the Centre, neither of which seem to be materializing.

The PPP has now got a relatively longer history of playing power politics, going back to the 1990s, than of resistance. However, the PPP alone cannot be accused alone of having compromised. All other parties, except those too small to be worthy of attention from the powers that be, are equally or perhaps even more cooperative with the establishment in the hope of being thrown a scrap or two from the table. Mr Bhutto Zardari’s ire does not seem to be fueled solely by the fear of being excluded. It should not be forgotten that the PPP has been out of power in the Centre for a decade, and thus this election is crucial for it is also the first time that Mr Bhutto Zardari is playing such a hands-on role in the election campaign. The rhetoric should perhaps thus be seen as a search for a narrative rather than anything else.

However, no party can claim to be democratic. Otherwise, after the question of attitude towards the establishment, they would all practise intra-party democracy. All parties have tightly controlled party elections, with ‘officially’ nominated panels being elected unopposed. It is likely enough that the heads of parties would be elected unopposed, but would this happen for every office unless the elections were controlled? If party leaders are unwilling to allow the votes of the people determine the least of their party’s posts, how can they be expected to accept the results of a general election?

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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