| ]

                       Dynasty politics in Pakistan is ruining every notion of democracy and is resulting in massive-scale corruption, bad governance and a lot of other ills. By dynasty politics it is meant that the major political parties are effectively controlled by families, generation after generation, with no real democracy existing within the parties. The family name is considered to be more effective than the party’s manifesto.

    The root of dynasty politics can be traced back to centuries of monarchies in the sub-continent such as Mughals, Tughliks, Khandan-e-Ghulamaan etc,. The real democracy, in the sub-continent is there only for the last hundred years, which is still free from the effect of monarchies of the last two thousand years.  A person or family may benefit from this system of governance where a few individuals progress financially and have a grab on power, which allows them to manipulate the destinies of common people. It is an ailment where partly the slave mindset of the general public has to be blamed. There is a great deal of fascination involved with the high and the mighty.
    Pakistan in particular has seen a lot of brands of democracies. Politicians rue about the negative role of military in power where the military dictator grabs power and introduces his brand of democracy. In reality, the politicians are no different, when the major political parties are practically ruled by families.  Party tickets are issued by an individual, which leaves little room for dissent. Some credible politicians are always inducted in the ranks of the party for the sake of credibility but they are more or less sidelined or do not have any say in the policy making once the elections are over and the party is in power. Parties in Pakistan are becoming more and more like cults where there is a king of the party and his set of admirers ruling the party and consequently the country. There are either military dictators or civilian dictators in the form of party leaders, in power.
    John Elliot while reflecting on role of dynasty politics in the sub-continent writes, “There seems to be inevitability about these dynasties. In India, while the Nehru-Gandhis demonstrate all the confidence of people born to rule, a growing number of lesser national and regional politicians are bringing their sons, daughters and other relations, into politics. This strengthens their own position because they have people they can (usually) trust and it also helps with the management of wealth that usually accumulates.”
                      The Indian subcontinent has seen many political dynasties, Bhutto’s in Pakistan, Sharif’s in Pakistan, Gandhi’s in India,  Koirala’s in Nepal and  Bandranaike family in Srilanka. This phenomenon is not restricted to the subcontinent though with Kennedy’s and Bush Family in America. North Korea is the world’s only communist dynasty.

                                     Two major political parties in Pakistan, “Pakistan People’s Party” and “Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Group)” are effectively controlled by two political families. These two parties have been ruling Pakistan along with military dictators for the last few decades. There performance has been utterly disappointing yet they keep replacing each other in the power corridor. Partly it has to do with the general public’s fascination with their political leaders and partly due to non-availability of a suitable third alternative. Both these political parties have been involved with massive corruption and bad governance. Still we see the same leadership controlling the reins. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s political murder led to Benazir Bhutto taking control of the party and now a 20 odd years old boy Bilawal is all set to rule the party and probably Pakistan after the death of Benazir. Sharif family with two brothers Nawaz and Shahbaz control the Pakistan Muslim league (N) and the son of Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Sharif is being groomed to take over the leadership in case of any eventuality to these two. So, effectively two powerful families will rule these two major parties for the near future. How can we expect the result to be any different from the past? One is a feudal family while other is an industrialist family. Both have worked towards claiming this mantle on the basis of their enormous wealth and yet they have kept on piling it up when they have been in power. It is the urge to control everything that has led to these two families being the primary beneficiary of massive corruption that took place when they were in power. The taxpayer’s money is taken for granted and if they do something good in power, which is rare, they keep on reminding us on how good they really are. Lack of merit and democracy in the political parties has resulted in a small elite ruling these parties effectively and middle class and lower class has either no representation or it is too ineffective to notice.

                                       Maruf Khawaja has given voice to the confusion of common public in Pakistan as he writes, “Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's appointment as the bearer of Benazir's extinguished flame was, in a strict political sense, preordained. Everyone in Pakistan knows that without the "Bhutto" name at its head the Pakistan People's Party cannot exist. This, after all, is not a country of scientifically, rationally organised political parties. Rather, their structure reflects the anarchy of Pakistan's political system, the ambitions of its current leader and the finances at his disposal.”

                       The advantage of this system of governance for our ruling elite is the aura of infallibility and godliness, and absolution from any responsibility for decision-making on behalf of the ruled masses. This cannot be fair and it cannot last forever. We have to fight this system, which enables rich to become more rich and poor end up being poorer. It is a flawed system of politics, which either has to be rectified or it will drown along with our beloved country. .

                     Voting pattern in Pakistan is gradually changing. These political dynasties cannot rule forever. The pro-active and independent media has resulted in a lot of political awareness among the general public. It is too early to predict an overhaul of the existing political system but the signs are positive. The focus is on development issues now. A famous surname may give you an edge but it will be the performance, which will matter in the near future. These are positive signs for Pakistan. The falling of political dynasties in Pakistan will result in a better future of the country. It will strengthen the political parties and they will be more connected to the grass-root. The introduction of real democracy in the political parties will benefit the parties and it will help the country. If Pakistan is there to exist, there is no way other than democracy, both in the political parties and the country, to make it certain. Good governance and the power of ballet can only be exercised effectively if there are democratic norms within the parties. I am hopeful for the future and I am expecting things to be better. 

By: Waleed Khan

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...