It seems like the government and opposition can not agree on anything. To agree is a totally advanced state of matter; they don’t seem to be able to even discuss anything. In any democratic state with logical minded government and opposition, the Electronic Voting Machine problem would have two sessions to solve. They would recognize the problems, list out the probable solutions, tweak the acceptable changes and we would have solved the problem. That is why the political stalemate in Pakistan is a problematic concept.
If we look at the political scenarios of most democratic parties, we see that they follow a norm, the government or opposition would introduce a bill, will have a discussion, party whips would mobilize votes, voting would take place and the bill will either be passed or rejected. I am being simplistic, sometimes complications do take place, a bill after being passed from the lower house gets rejected by the upper house, or even after being passed by both gets vetoed by the head of state but there is always a clear logical history and background for those anomalies. It’s not opposition for the sake of opposition.
Why the government and the opposition are unable to communicate?
Why does the highly expensive National Assembly or Senate session turn into a fish market and no meaningful discussions can take place? Why are lawmakers unable to make laws? Why is even shaking hands or sitting together with an impossibility? If we look at the world, all governments and opposition find solutions for the most serious matter, even politicians agree on the division of a country or to remain together. Muslim League and Congress despite having many differences worked through dialogues to find a solution to partition which resulted in the birth of India and Pakistan.
They had many fallouts, many failures, many walkouts, many disconnects, but they did and finally agreed on the partition. What is the reason that this seems almost impossible in Pakistan? Are the differences between the political parties of Pakistan are even more than what existed between Muslim League and Congress? Is the polarization more than what existed at that time. At prima facie observation, it does not seem to be so. So, then why are we unable to talk? What is politics? The activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power. That’s the general definition but if we look at it with Pakistan in mind the process of debate is deleted. It’s no longer possible. How can you have a debate with one or with a group if you don’t communicate?
It is extremely necessary for them to understand. Why there is a blockade, why there is a stalemate, why everything seems to go in a loop and not reach a destination. The political animal thrives on debate, to talk, to communicate, to exchange ideas, to explore possibilities, that’s what politicians do. However, there is a big difference for the masses to understand. We have to decipher, differentiate, and separate politics and crime, politicians and criminals. In Latin American countries when the drug lords came into politics, negotiations, talks, parleys, communications, progress everything stopped.
The masses in Pakistan must understand the reason
In Chicago when the Mafia Dons captured political proxies then political activities went into a loop. In New York when the criminals were running the town the mayor and the Governors had to change & differentiate the political animal from these criminals to root them out. Politicians have a stake in forwarding the system, they have to find a workable solution as their career and their jobs depend upon finding a workable solution. Actually, finding a workable solution is their aim. But for criminals, the aim is to keep outside the ambit of the law. Their goal is to save themselves irrespective of whatever the cost may be. There lies the crunch.
In Pakistan despite the tragedy that a lot of facts are mired in controversy, the visibility is low and deciphering and understanding the facts can sometimes be problematic. However, you can still demarcate and divide the criminals and the politicians. Though unfortunately the politicians usually have a proxy face of supporters either clean or seemingly clean defending them. In most democratic countries, few criminals do come into the fold, but the cleaning process is so intensive & the public response is so emphatic that they are rooted out easily. The system after some time throws them out.
Unfortunately, in Pakistan, quite a few criminals are masquerading as politicians and some of them have reached controlling positions in parties. Now in the absence of a proper police force, or an effective judiciary, or a politically conscious voting masses, these criminals have established a network that allows them to operate with help from every segment of society. To be sure all parties have these criminals some more than the others. We have been unable to set out a purging process to get them out of the parties.
Is this a repetitive cycle?
Some of the Latin American countries have gone through the process where the drug lords of the criminal mafias interfered in the legislative process to hinder any law that can make them accountable. Every time anything in regard to the system of the countries comes on the table these elements try to hold that item hostage to take advantage and safeguard their own criminality and criminal activities. This is not something that is happening for the first time in a country; this is a well-known format and has been repeated before.
A lot of criminals take different names or factors to allude that they are the champions of democracy, often patriotism, even law and order situation, sometimes economic condition. That’s opium for the masses, in reality, they are just petty criminals and circumstances have provided them an important position in life and they tend to use that position to safeguard their criminality and escape accountability.
So in Pakistan political dialogue cannot be ever possible till the politicians and the criminals are marked separately. Judiciary and media can play an important role in identifying and separating them. It’s a long process, it’s a complicated process, it’s a difficult process, the requirements of positive factors are so many that it sometimes seems like a no-win situation. But it can be done, other countries have done it and so can Pakistan. However, till we identify and separate the criminals and politicians no meaningful dialogue will be possible and the filibustering by the masquerading politicians will continue unabated.
The author has worked for Unilever for 25 years. He is a professional translator/interpreter of five languages and is also a certified computer trainer. He is currently living in Virginia, USA. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.