Peshawar - Political parties are the pre-requisite of every democratic system to run government affairs through elected representatives and solve people’s problems.
“In democratic countries, the success of political parties in general election largely depend on the political behaviour and psychological- economic factors, past service record and manifestos of political parties rather launching of personal attacks, blame games, characters assassination of political leadership and dragging state institutions into politics,” said Prof Dr A H Hilali, former Chairman Political Science Department, University of Peshawar while talking to APP on Sunday.
He said issues-based political debates help in broadening of voters’ understanding and resolution of socioeconomic and political issues besides promoting political harmony.
He said a permanent political divide with no channel of communication and political intolerance retards the political and economic development, besides widening the economic gap between influentials and the underprivileged.
He said if the existing trend of political intolerance, accusations and blame games among politicians continued in Pakistan, then it would be extremely difficult to bring political and economic stability to the country despite holding of general election.
In democratic process, he said the doors to political dialogue among religious and political entities were always open to take decisions in national interest and for people’s well being.
He said unfortunately our politicians did not learn lessons from our history and again started wrangling by closing the doors of political dialogue ahead of election despite the country’s difficult economic situation.
He said the absence of political dialogue, elections’ rigging and corruption allegations and confrontation politics had led to the dismissal of several political governments in the past.
The government of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was dismissed after nine religious and political parties under the platform of Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) had launched an agitation movement claiming electoral fraud despite strong rejection by the PPP and subsequently democracy was packed up for the third time on July 5, 1977.
The elected assemblies and the governments of former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif twice each were dismissed in 90s due to political intolerance, confrontation politics and elections rigging allegations despite strong denial by PPP and PML-N leadership and its negative outcome came before us in the shape of fourth martial law on October 12, 1999.
“To grab voters’ attentions, different political stunts such as blame games and character assassination were being used by the political actors against each others in a bid to reach power corridors and implement their party manifestos,” he said.
He said the use of sarcastic, pathetic and wretched remarks against political personalities during election rallies and TV talks shows damage political atmosphere and create hatred among political workers besides creating political polarisation.
He said that unfortunately principles based politics was deteriorating because of the deep political polarisation and wrangling among political forces for the sake of power.
The slogans such as calling PDM leadership as thieves and Imran Khan’s alleged daughter from Sita White would serve no purpose rather would create distance among political elites and workers.
Manzoorul Haq, former Ambassador of Pakistan, while talking to APP on Sunday said that in civilised world, policies of the political government, service delivery of political parties and their implications were discussed and criticised during election debates rather launching personal attacks, abusive language, scandals and character assassination against each others.
‘I have travelled to several countries and saw many election campaigns in Gulf, Europe, Africa and UK where political leaders respect each other’s point of view, democratic norms, traditions and principles in debates and talk shows on TVs rather using abusive language, scandals and family lives.”
“In western democracies, people did not show any concerns about the personal lives of their political leaders as long as they sincerely deliver service for the country and address their problems,” he said.
He said in confrontation politics in Pakistan has negatively impacted democratisation of perspectives and narratives where most of political leaders use ill tactics of misinformation and narrative distortion, resultantly, the political unity, governance and institutional growth were compromised.
He said the economy of any country functions well when there was political stability. “We should not forget million of flood victims who were still looking for our assistance besides the country’s current weak economic situation in mind before going for separate elections for provincial and national assemblies.”
The media and intelligentsia role is very important for education of voters and discouraging hate-based speeches, and dragging state institutions into politics.
Following announcement of the election date April 30 for Punjab Assembly, the election campaign would heat up in upcoming days especially in Punjab province where all political leaders including Pakistan Muslim League-N Senior Vice Prrsident and Chief Organiser, Maryam Nawaz and PTI Chairman Imran Khan have started addressing public rallies.
Ikhtair Wali, PML-N KP spokesman said that people would reject all those elements that leveled baseless allegations against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PML-N leadership.
He termed the ouster of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on July 28, 2017, in the Panama leaks case a big tragedy from which Pakistan has not yet recovered, adding it was unfortunate that no elected premier has completed his five years term in the country’s history.
He said that all characters that played role in ouster of an elected prime minister and bringing Imran Khan into power were stand exposed before the masses.
Ikhtair said that PTI had deceived people on the hollow slogan of “accountability and change” as the former PTI government closed its own created Ehtesab Commission at Peshawar besides the province was put under huge loans burden.
ANP leader and former KP minister, Wajid Ali Khan said political reconciliation was imperative to take ship of democracy to safe shores.
He said if Bangladeshi leaders Hasina Wajid and Khalida Zia could sit across the table for the sake of their countrymen, then why the government and opposition parties in Pakistan can’t sit together for holding a grand dialogue on economic and political issues besides general election.