“Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.” – Nikita Khrushchev
Politicians in Pakistan and all over the world portray themselves as Moral Angels or the only well-wishers of the people and country, but all of them are rational devils who act rationally to gain their interests.
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Pakistan’s Politics revolves around circle of rational interests of politicians
History is full of such events where we have seen once rival parties and politicians making coalitions due to their interests. We have seen a united group of democratic political parties against the military dictators because regardless of all their grudges, they become united when they see a threat to democracy that is eventually a direct threat to their existence as a politician. Examples are the Combined Opposition Party led by Fatima Jinnah in 1965 and the 1968 Movement against General Ayub Khan, the MRD alliance by PPP and the Islamic Democratic Alliance by PML against General Zia-ul-Haq, and the ARD alliance of PPP and PML-N against the military dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf.
These Political alliances and coalitions are not only limited to military dictatorship but there have been political coalitions or left and right-wing parties with conflicts over interests. The Pakistan National Alliance was a right-wing political alliance among nine political parties against the left-wing political party, PPP in the General Elections of 1977, and Pakistan Democratic Movement against PTI’s Government in 2022. In all the above-mentioned alliances, there must be a lot of ideological conflict between the coalition parties but still, they compromised on those conflicts because of mutual interest or to overcome a mutual threat to all of them and eventually they start opposing each other again after the fulfillment of that mutual interest.
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As Nikita Khrushchev says, politicians promise you bridges where there is no river. This is the condition of the politicians of Pakistan. They always promise you a lot, make you dream big, and many other false narratives just to gain more votes but after making the government they never accomplish their goals, and eventually they are left with baseless allegations and blaming on the previous government.
Why politicians are not able to fulfill their promises? Because they in the time of elections make promises according to the public opinion, if the public wants no load shedding, he will promise to provide electricity all day, which becomes impossible for him to do so in power. Some promises are also left out undone due to a coalition of government, when a political party forms government with other small parties in the coalition, they would certainly act like interest groups, making their personal interests accomplished.
This is a big flaw due to the multiparty system in Pakistan, Political party with the majority is not allowed to work freely because they are bounded by coalition parties and other interest groups. The most recent example can be considered of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as Chief Minister of Punjab, CM was elected from a political party with 10 seats just because of this multiparty system, PTI had to make a coalition with PML-Q, which resulted in the accomplishment of their mutual interests.
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Politics as a game of double standards?
Imran khan once called Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, “Punjab ka sb se bara Daku” (Biggest robber of Punjab) and now he made a coalition government with him and declared him as the candidate for the post of CM. That is why I call Pakistan’s politicians rational devils as they pursued their mutual interests.
In Politics, how people show double standards and hypocrisy can be understood with this example, during the 1988 time period till 1999, both PPP and PML-N or IDA at the starting were both antagonist parties, their narratives were different from each other, but after 1999 Martial Law, both these parties made a coalition named ARD for the establishment of democracy, despite their conflicts, they worked in coalition due to their mutual interests, again they became the antagonist of each other from 2008 but formed an alliance named PDM in 2022 to oust PM Imran Khan, considering it as their mutual point of concern. This all proves that Politicians make and end alliances according to their mutual interests or personal gains, but they portray themselves as Moral angels.
The author is an undergraduate student of International Relations at National Defence University Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.