ISSN 2330-717X

Pakistan’s Political Elites With Their Unending October Surprises – OpEd

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The political elite in Pakistan do not let the people down when it comes to the October Surprises. Successive political leaders in the history have resorted to violent marches on roads for gaining momentum in their struggle for power. In the process many of the innocent people lost their lives but no one had been held accountable for it. In a democratic setup, protests are recorded but there is a proper way and proper place for such activities and such events never turn violent. 

In democracy, every single person has a right to speak for himself and his rights, every voice is heard and respected. Contrary to it, in Pakistan the diverging political interests of the political elites make them construct their respective confirmation biases and force people to follow them. They have a separate standard for themselves and when it comes to their political opponents the views become iniquitous for them.

The diabolical dual standards of political leaders are meant to serve their personal interests that mostly add more problems for the country. Pakistan is currently going through a hard time. CPI inflation is at record high of 30.8%, default risk on sovereign bonds is at 53%, Pakistan’s currency has depreciated by 21.4%, and Pakistan’s credit rating have brought down from B to C by Moody. 

Adding insult to injury it has become a norm of political parties to further instigate disruption in the national affairs through protests. In the recent case, political leadership of PTI is worsening the already fraught situation of the country with their long-march. This time the dynamics of this long-march are more towards violence and bloodshed that makes it concerning for the law enforcement agencies. PTI chairman Imran Khan said: “The sea of people along our March on the GT Road. For 6 months I have been witnessing a revolution taking over the country. Only question is will it be a soft one through the ballot box or a destructive one through bloodshed?” It shows there is something alarming about the current political situation.

At First, an anti-establishment rhetoric was touted to construct a discord between people and the institutions. Then the death of a famous journalist was politically used to add fuel to fire. A confirmation bias has been skillfully used to manipulate fact and figures just to regain power in the country. No one is asking any question from the PTI leaders protesting that what was their performance during the 3.5 years they ruled? Why they became part of the system they claim to be corrupt? Where was the concept of Haqeeqi Azaadi during the PTI’s tenure while United States and other great powers were fully active and impacting the national affairs? There are many such questions that need to be answered but no one would ask them because a confirmation bias has already been established and people are blindly following it. If Pakistan has to get out of political turmoil it is currently in, it’s only through the political discourse and consensus that will strengthen the roots of democracy in the country. Tendency to looks towards establishment and embroil it in political discourse has hurt the country for too long in the past. It’s about time politicians and political parties step up to their constitutional role and deliver to the people of Pakistan beyond the rhetorical slogans.

Humais Sheikh is an independent Defence Analyst based in Islamabad. He has completed his Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad.

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