It appears that the entire increasing inertia national fabric is at loggerheads and at the centre of it all is the ruling dispensation that is primarily responsible for the chaotic situation since it is entrusted with the task to govern although it is not the only agency responsible for creating national friction but it cannot come clean on many aspects either. The first aspect of the apparent failure of governance is that, despite under constant siege since its entire tenure, the government conveniently ignored that a democratic dispensation is always under threat of a hostile takeover by rival political groupings remaining within the ambit of democracy but in Pakistan it is the democracy itself that faces existential danger and that it is vital to keep ant-democratic forces in check.
The government closed its eyes to the reality that military takeovers in Pakistan have polluted democratic forces with three vital venoms; the unreliability of political associates, distrust of political alliances and a tendency in democratic leadership to emphasise on personality cult. The military rule in Pakistan fatally damaged the federal process of national cohesion as currently the country is devoid of a political grouping capable of winning a nationwide mandate.
Military dictatorships have badly dented the interdependence matrix of civil democratic groupings both within and outside of them. Such takeovers have adversely affected the confidence levels of leaderships of democratic parties and have filled them with profound sense of unreliability about their political associates. Resultantly these leaderships, when in power, tend to restrict exercise of power within a close circle of confidantes creating heartburn in rest of their party associates.
Since the first onslaught on democratic governance in 1958 the political figures had been seen running for cover and their chain of command going haywire. The dictatorships often succeeded in breaking the ranks of ruling political parties and co-opting many politicians in the process who formed splinter groups. But to their credit, political groupings always succeeded to regroup, challenge the dictatorial regimes and win power through collective efforts.
They gradually closed the loopholes exploited by the military to oust them but, after gaining power, singularly failed to keep their own houses in order simply because their leaderships insisted on exercising arbitrary control on their parties. The leaderships willfully assumed that it was primarily due to their efforts that the power was wrested from the military and conveniently ignored the collective contribution of their comrades-in-arms.
Since after the implementation of anti-defection clause the party leaderships behaved tyrannically towards the rank and file of their parties and complained bitterly against any dissension voiced inside it. In the process the parties created a slavish cadre that proved ineffective while in power and toothless without it.
It gave rise to a profound atmosphere of intrigue and counter-intrigue that directly benefitted the anti-democratic forces. The willful antics of the party leaderships held sway in the closed order of Cold War when, due to control over media, it was possible to spin things over but with a vibrantly vociferous media the myth created around party leaderships is blown to pieces.
It is conceded that party leaderships had to undergo hardships during the course of political turmoil facing imprisonment, isolation and exile whereas their turncoat colleagues prospered through treachery but then it must be realised that, in most instances, it were the over-centralised and personlised policies of ruling party leaderships that resulted in loss of power and exposed them to travails.
In the annals of democratic political exercise of power it is very clear to observe party leaderships denying all chances of advancement to their colleagues. It is worrying to observe that even the small coterie of advisers is chosen on personal likes and dislikes and that too is kept on tenterhooks under constant harassment of falling out of favour. It is a self defeating ploy that not only succeeds in isolating the leadership from close party associates but ultimately results in isolating the party itself.
The current design through which the government is run on clearly points out towards a psychological inertia that is harming governance and may well stretch the electoral viability of the party machine to the breaking point that has failed to withstand vagaries of by-election contests. The democratic political forces need to review and analyse the negative effects of the changes that are witnessed in their behavioral patterns as a result of intermittent military interventions. As mentioned earlier all military interventions rattled the fabric of political parties and created schisms within them and the current atmosphere, rife with news about deliberate creation of rifts between regular cadres of political groupings, is therefore nothing new or alien to the political culture of Pakistan and should be tackled with prudence and magnanimity. It is important to view and analyse all potential dangers in their entirety and re-strategise inter-party priorities. TW