The incessant socio-political turmoil Change in Pakistan picking up pace is poignantly symbolic of the fact that the country is going through an unprecedented social change that is slowly gathering pace owing to the proliferation of media outlets coupled with some serious mistakes committed by the forces of as status quo. Pakistani social perceptions are undergoing some fundamental alterations particularly in respect of rights and obligations. Another aspect is the slowly emerging questions about the remit of governance and role different stakeholders play in it. Then there is a growing consciousness about what is right and wrong in societal context and how exactly such issues are to be addressed. Such changes are now palpable and their existence cannot be denied for any length of time now. The situation is wavering between the well-explained take-off stage and continued hibernation but the expectation is that this phenomenon is temporary as the process of social change is difficult to muzzle once it is unleashed.
This change is diametrically opposite to the hitherto held belief that considered using political maneuvering as just another method of exercising power disproportionately. It may be appropriate to mention that though for the common man change is largely linked to bringing relief and adding some meaning to life yet change cannot be manufactured and must come through the natural processes of social transformation. It is an acknowledged widely that politics is an integral part of social change and spurs class conflict where the distribution of resources is concerned. All formal and informal political actors fight for political clout that is mainly structured around economic resources. It is however also recognised that to claim their fair share of resources, political stakeholders have not only to win moral legitimacy but must also influence the majority in support of their needs.
Political movements also provoke social change. The political parties have a poor relationship with rights movements, and this deficiency makes them subservient to the establishment. Rights movements play a role in promoting greater political and social awareness in society, but the process is difficult and slow. The power elites don’t like them because of their demands of fair treatment and transparent distribution of resources. Religion is a powerful element in Pakistan and religious institutions benefit from social upheavals in society. The state has outsourced a major chunk of education to religious institutions but they are converting human resource into dependents, rather than pushing them to drive the engine of economy. Religious institutions thrive on sectarian, religious and political differences. Their economic interests clash with the element of cohesion in society and these forces of social change are active in society.
Nonetheless, power politics cannot stop the ongoing flow or processes of social change. Like many other developing societies, Pakistan is passing through diverse processes of change that have different connotations in terms of pace and having a positive or negative impact. Modes of production are changing and dependence on the services sector is gradually increasing revealing the regression of the agricultural sector and the stagnant industrial base of the country. Economists have a better understanding of the economy and wealth distribution but there are also other factors at play which may slow down the economics-triggered change in society. Irrespective of how good or bad Pakistani worldview may be it is showing itself as a major stakeholder in the power politics of the country.
One thing is quite clear: the ongoing process of transformation is generating more frustration and less positive energy. The current political dispensation has created tremendous confusion within the polity as it has heavily concentrated on dissemination of information tools and plenty of convoluted ideas have become common currency and is misguiding the people. It is now a common concern in the country that the information war is eroding the gains obtained through the resurgence of social consciousness. In actual fact the so-called media bias has largely garbled public consciousness and keeping in view that the state sources are heavily tilted in favour of the arbitrary stakeholders the chances are that their narrative may have a powerful impact though it would prove ultimately overpowering is quite doubtful.
The changes are constant and also caused temporary and permanent internal shifts but the hopeful aspect is that many international channels have been opened providing the people an opportunity to interact with the international community, even if for a limited time that has triggered social changes. The current situation has given rise to some changes in the values of lower-income groups besides imbuing them with a greater flexibility of attitude. Technology and gadgetry are further escalating the process of social change although fast communication has its merits and demerits. It has increased the flow of information but to such an extent that minds, at times, cannot process it quickly enough. It is rather a disconcerting fact that substandard cyber segments have captured virtual spaces and set their own narrow ideological, ethnic and political boundaries but there is hardly any doubt that they are contributing to the overall process of change. TW