Combative politics and need for unity

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that dialogue was a key to evolving democracy, however, it could not be held with anarchists and arsonists in the garb of politicians. The Premier agreed that dialogue is deeply embedded in the political process, which helps democracy mature and evolve. In contrast, many political and constitutional breakthroughs occurred when political leaders sat across the table to craft a consensus. Shehbaz stressed that there is a major difference between the anarchists and arsonists who wear the garb of politicians and attack the symbols of the State, such people do not qualify for dialogue rather they should be held to account for their militant actions. The Premier’s statement came after the former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan expressed his willingness to dialogue with the ruling coalition government after a years-long refusal to any engagement with his self-defined thieves and corrupts.

Pakistan has been struck by narcissistic political wrangling between determined political groups, who are blatantly pursuing their party agendas at the price of national interests together with offering hurdles to the public’s well-being and prosperity. In recent months, the inter-party struggle for power badly hurt the political and social values of our society and promoted hatred, and racism across the political spectrum. At the same time, this ongoing dogfight badly affects the core fabric of our country by instilling poisonous politics in the ranks and files of the country’s bureaucracy and lower staff of the national institutions including the judiciary, civil administration, Police, and others that seriously marred the functioning of the government hierarchy at all levels.

Interestingly, while being Primer Minister and after his ouster from power, the PTI Chairman Imran Khan had always refused to shake hands and sit with his political opponents at the negotiation table to conceive consensus on all contentious matters about the future electoral code, use of EVMs, accountability regime, and other irksome policies relating to the national economy. Meanwhile, the opposing PDM’s leaders had been calling shots for a national dialogue to end the deadlock and forge a charter of democracy along with a charter of the economy. Although the dialogue was the only way forward to steer the country out of the prevailing political and economic chaos, the invitation for talks had been used as a political tactic by either side in the past. The political landscape of the country had been largely changed after the May 9 violence, followed by the massive exodus of dozens of PTIs leaders that not only weaken the party but also pushed Imran Khan into a defensive mode. Thus this time, the coalition government turned down the PTI’s quest for talks by terming the group an arsonist.

Realistically, Pakistani politicians had always upheld party politics and never bother about national unity, state interests as well as the well-being of the public. Thus the combatant leaders have turned politics into personal enmity and changed the entire country into an arena by implementing their biased and violent political strategies in the garb of civic rights and civil liberties that not only defamed the nation, ruined national politics, and also destroyed the economy. Currently, social media platforms have become favorite sites for Pakistani political groups to launch advertisements and propaganda campaigns against each other as well as state institutions.

Earlier, PTI Chairman committed a serious political mistake by not engaging with the opposition which led him to this day that he begs talks from his adversary, while Prime Minister Shehbaz and his colleagues are repeating the same mistake and doing blunders with the nation through refusal from negotiations. Ostensibly, Tokyo negotiated with Washington which bombed its nation and the Taliban held talks with the United States that invaded their nation and occupied it for two decades. Hence, the PTI and PML-N have no dispute about the property and inheritance of their forerunners. Both groups had played a role in the creation of political and economic havoc in the past and their combative politics is further adding to the gravity of those issues. The nation is not ready to pay the price for the selfish politics of its leaders. It is high time that an All Parties Conference (APC) should be convened to frame a code of conduct and create consensus over the national issues, so the country could be steered out of the current challenges through unity, joint work, and cooperation.