Politics Sans Character – Political philosophy emphasises character as the essential attribute of political activity. Politics is an activity that balances human needs and their procurement and such a mechanism is considered the essence of all human endeavours. Contrary to the common understanding in Pakistan of politics where it is widely branded an opportunistic grab for power to exercise it for the sake of social prominence and financial enrichment, it basically is an altruistic struggle to bring about equity in opportunity for everyone inhabiting a piece of land known in usual parlance as a state.
Character is the combination of honesty, reliability, probity, disinterestedness, sense of justice and moral uprightness. Any political operative who lacks these attributes, in whole or parts, is surely going to get astray and can cause more harm than good to the polity he is a part of. Any political activity devoid of positive aspects of character eventually turns degenerate and it becomes nothing but a pretension of politics. Politics without character is a sham that possesses the potential of ruining countries and destroying regions.
In a politician character is the only guarantee promising good future and its absence is a sure recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, barring political operatives of the initial period after the creation of Pakistan, there was a long line of them who had no character. Some of them were no doubt brilliant but even brilliance is superseded by character as brilliance is a double-edged sword that cuts across the entire spectrum of both positive and negative human activities. It has become obvious by the performance of our political elements that moral sense could not be obtained on rent as some of them tried to do in the past and are still venturing to do so.
A Muslim country formed on the basis of strong moral principles of truthfulness soon was waylaid by opportunistic adventurers who tried to portray character despite being completely bereft of it. It is widely known that the rulers in Pakistan did not even believe what they uttered publicly and often derived fun out of their ‘quotes’ and public statements. There was hardly any ruler whose public enunciation could ever be trusted and such betrayal continued without any interruption with Pakistani nation confusingly learning to live with multiple standards of truth.
No purposeful thought-process was ever brought to fore that supposedly measured character in politics. Even the best writers trusted newspaper clippings and wrote lengthy discourses on political process in Pakistan. No one ever ventured to question the merit of what was said and what was done. In other words no attempt was ever made to discern character from populism and hollow actions. Opposing an issue was often dubbed as the essence of character in Pakistani politics but no one ever kept the record of such so-called ‘men of character’ who turned-turtle once when the glittering opportunities were provided to them.
It is quite clear by now that Pakistani politics attaches no meaning and value to character. It is basically the intended impression conveyed by politicos that forms the basis of character assessment in Pakistani parlance. Character in Pakistan is otherwise mixed up with personal loyalties that are not associated with party loyalties. The political process of Pakistan has so faultily evolved that means are usually mistaken for ends.
The process of current electioneering is a glaring witness to the lack of character playing a vital role in politics of Pakistan. The detailed declaration of personal belongings of electoral candidates was full of erroneous details that were thoroughly misleading but the characterless Pakistani politico was trying to justify it under regulations he himself has no belief in and often castigates their uselessness on public platforms. The lack of character hence is viewed as forming the basis of political activity in the country. It goes without saying that any building constructed on faulty foundations will always remain dysfunctional.
The complete absence of character was also vividly visible in the awarding of party tickets to prospective candidates. During the process one thing was badly missing: scrupulousness and fair dealing. While distributing tickets no attention was paid to the character of the candidates despite proofs of their wrongdoing known to all decision makers. The ability to win the elections was the only consideration for awarding of tickets phenomenon. Unfortunately, any party that came up with the slogan of change always ended up by desecrating the vital issue of character.
The ultimate loss of character is witnessed in turncoats but the way they were welcomed in political scenario of Pakistan is a clear indicator of the depths plumbed by Pakistani political system. The disgraceful process was followed with impunity till the public got up and slapped opportunistic political bigwigs in open public sessions. The dirt and grime that has become part of Pakistani political activity has finally taken away the last hope that character has any chance in Pakistani politics. The Weekender