Former president Asif Ali Zardari’s long awaited arrival in Pakistan in December 2016 was not very remarkable. The co-chairperson of the PPP made his short appearance in the country only to get himself elected as chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) and left his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to manage the affairs of the PPP as its undisputed chairperson.
With his third term in power, Zardari’s political rival, Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is in hot waters due to the Panama leaks.
Imran Khan is overseeing all this from his house, spread over 300 kanals of land in Bani Gala.
Where does a common man stand in this scenario? The PPP ruled the country almost four times but hardly brought any good to the table of a common man. Due to its poor performance, the mainstream political party has already been confined to Sindh in the last general elections. Mega corruption scandals against the party’s stalwarts are still making headlines in the national media.
The PML-N, with its third term in power, failed to deliver on the pledges it had made to the people. Issues like frequent electricity cut-offs, gas shortages, price hikes, unemployment, poverty, violent extremism and terrorism have still been confronting a common Pakistani. The federal ministers, instead of being in their offices concentrating on issues of national and international importance, often seemed to be defending the prime minister on the Panama front.
Much of this opposition was determined to bring the prime minister down at any cost. Imran Khan spent most of his time accusing the prime minister instead of promoting the national cause or leading the role of a healthy opposition. His whole agenda revolves around toppling the prime minister – either through months-long sit-ins regarding electoral rigging or the lockdown of Islamabad regarding the Panama scandal.
Ironically, the existing political system provides enough room to the project-based politics of Dr Tahirul Qadri who often visits the country from Canada and leads a millions march when it suits him. Nobody knows whose cards he is playing.
After having tested the mainstream political parties, people turned to the PTI which also failed to live up to their expectations. The nation provided room to the religious parties but they were hardly any different from their predecessors. In the middle, the nationalists played their part – in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan - but they too failed to deliver anything substantial and brought no change in the life of people. As a last option, the nation looked to the army to come to its rescue. While the army ruled the country for almost half of the country’s political age, at the end of the day, people realised that a worst kind of democracy was better than the best kind of dictatorship.
Pakistanis need to ask themselves: do only the Sharifs – Nawaz, Shahbaz and Hamza – get the right to rule the country? Is it that only Zardari and his children have the right to write our fate? We thank Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Abdul Samad Khan for their great contributions but does this provide any justification for their next generations to be leading our way?
Hayat Khan Sherpao was no doubt a hero who sacrificed his life in the line of his duty, but is it a must that his missions be accomplished by his brother and son? Maulana Fazalur Rahman, like the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and Maulana Sami Ul Haq of Akora Khattak, is cashing on his father’s name and reputation.
We have to break the shackles of traditional politics. We have to move forward and write our own future. And this is possible only when we make the right decisions at the right time. If we think this is the right time, then let us start writing our future today.
The writer is a freelance countributor.