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Saturday May 18, 2024

Two parties

By Dr Farrukh Saleem
October 22, 2023
Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari while meeting with the PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in this picture released on June 15, 2023. — X/@GovtofPakistan
Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari while meeting with the PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in this picture released on June 15, 2023. — X/@GovtofPakistan 

The PML-N and the PPP are stuck in the 20th century while voters have embraced the ideas and values of the 21st century. This growing disparity between two of Pakistan’s largest political parties and their electorate is now undeniable. Lo and behold, the disconnect between these two parties and their electorate is growing. Yes, there is an urgent need for the PML-N and PPP to adapt and reform.

The PML-N and the PPP continue to be dominated by leaders who have their roots in the politics of the 20th century. The PML-N and PPP continue to maintain traditional structures and continue to hold on to 20th century ideologies. Result: the PML-N and PPP are struggling to resonate with the rapidly evolving aspirations and values of the 21st century voter.

As of March 31, 2023, there are 126 million registered voters, with 83 million falling within the 18 to 45 age bracket, and 23 million among those aged 18 to 25. Imagine the potential influence of these numbers. It's intriguing to recall the 2018 general election when the PTI clinched a remarkable victory with just 17 million votes. This historical fact underscores the increasingly pivotal role that younger voters are poised to play in shaping the outcomes of upcoming elections.

The PML-N and the PPP continue to promote ideologies and policies that were conceived in a different era. These ideologies and policies do not address the economic and social challenges faced by a 21st century Pakistan. Dynastic politics continues to be a feature of Pakistan’s political landscape, where political power is passed down through family lines. Surely, this practice is not unique to Pakistan but it is contrary to the principles of meritocracy and inclusivity that 21st century voters increasingly value.

The organizational structures of the PML-N and the PPP are hierarchical and centralized, making it challenging for new and innovative voices to emerge. This hierarchical structure stifles the participation of young and digitally connected voters. Yes, the internet and social media have connected Pakistani voters to global ideas and trends, expanding their horizons and exposing them to a wide range of perspectives. The 21st century Pakistani voter aspires for progress, inclusivity, and social justice. The 21st century Pakistani voter demands responsive governance, transparency, and accountability in a way that the old political structures often fail to deliver.

The PML-N and PPP need to adapt to the changing needs and values of the electorate. The PML-N and PPP need to revamp party structures, embrace new technologies, and promote fresh voices within their ranks.

The PML-N and PPP must reevaluate their ideologies to align with contemporary issues and global trends. Policies should be crafted to address 21st-century challenges such as social justice and technology. The PML-N and PPP should actively involve young leaders and voices in decision-making processes and leadership positions, ensuring that the aspirations of the youth are heard and addressed.

The PML-N and the PPP must recognize the evolving dynamics of their electorate. The PML-N and PPP must change and modernize their approaches to stay relevant and connected with 21st-century voters. The PML-N and PPP must address the needs and aspirations of the youth. The PML-N and PPP must adapt to contemporary values. The PML-N and PPP must bridge the divide and truly represent the diverse population of Pakistan in the 21st century.

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. He tweets/posts @saleemfarrukh and can be reached at: farrukh15@hotmail.com