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May 28, 2018

Cascade of missteps


May 28, 2018

What goes around and around comes back around is the predictable situation the Pakistan Tehrik-i- Insaf (PTI) seems to be confronted with. Its intensity may get poignant in the near future as the finalization of awarding of tickets to the potential candidates of National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies by the Party leadership gets underway. Presumably, the fear of desertions has been lately haunting the leadership of the Party. Its apprehensions are well placed. The growing frustration among the die-hard workers and second tier leadership of the type is going to be major cause of worry. For, turncoats have nudged them to the periphery. They feel being pushed to the wall, and as such may be constrained to seek other alternatives.

Undoubtedly, they have put their best efforts to popularize the Party right across the country. The reason for their disenchantment is not difficult to understand as the novice entrants (electable) have squarely sidelined them making their presence in the Party as inconsequential. They are notorious for changing their parties quite off and on. They are the front runners to the utter disappointment of those who have been with the Party through thick and thin striving for the cause of less privileged segments of the society. The fast growing influence of the so called electable may ruin the Party mission altogether because they are the political opportunists of the first order whose megalomaniac instinct is limitless. They are known for selling their conscience and loyalty without the slightest hesitation of second thought. Their political careers bear witness to this without exception.

Turncoats are sincere to no one except to themselves. They will jump out of the ship of PTI without compunction once realizing that their remaining in the fold is not compatible to their narrative of political opportunism. This is petty politics indeed but it is their favorite way of doing politics. Not shutting the doors of the Party for the corrupt politicians, the PTI leadership has disappointed the people in general and the loyal workers and leaders of the Party in particular knowing fully well they are pure Machiavellian who have attained the mastery of playing on both sides of the street. The acceptance of such breed of politicians by the Party signifies the dreaded facet of power politics aspiring for power while its slogan of “change, ten points agenda and 100 days reforms plan’ look as no more than playing to the gallery.

Fauzia Kasuri’s quit from the PTI may be yet another case who felt compelled to seek parting of the ways. It may be followed by the same type of many who are equally disgruntled over the usurping of the Party by the known corrupt politicians. Such dedicated people may also decide to join the other side of the equation spurred by high moral grounds. They speak their mind without fear or favor-- sadly least appreciated by the leadership. Their pushing to the close ally may have the consequences affecting the Party. They feel totally ignored in Party important policy matters notwithstanding of their meritorious services for the Party lifting it from scratch to making it the national Party-- one of the top three political parties of the country. The joining of the turncoats in the Party has changed its complexion to as a tactical organization prioritizing to ascend to power seemingly for power sake. The cherished goal of the empowerment of less privileged people seems to have been put in the backburner to the collective chagrin of all and sundry.

The reports of simmering cleavages in the Party fold are already in the public domain. The recent reported exchange of hot words between the two important top level leaders amply suggests that all is not well in the house of PTI. The media reports do point out sharp differences while Chairman has been grappling to keep the lid on but the hot air of discord continues to escape with the potential of permeating right across the country.

Indeed, differences of opinion on important issues in Political Parties are appreciable and are deemed as healthy brain storming meant to arrive at the bottom of truth on important issues. The exercise is so critical and, in fact, reflective of best democratic practice to formulate correct and timely response of the Party on matters of immense public importance. But, if stalwarts of independent thinking are punished instead of commending for their unbiased intellectual inputs then the allegation of bullying attributed to the leadership may not be avoided. Such allegations get vindicated when personalities like Justice (Rtd) Wajiuddin , and Tasneem Noorani, holding pivotal position in Party hierarchy, decided to leave the Party as they could not take any more of the authoritarian conduct of the leadership. The Party may not be able to bear the political cast of its repeated vagaries if it failed to address the reservations of the genuine people within the fold. The Party leadership may take the stock of the situation to pre-empt the large scale desertions of selfless and dedicated Party workers because they deserve due respect and acknowledgment. Such workers are the real asset of any Political organization.

Fearing desertions, it is reported in the section of media that the Party leadership has asked the aspiring candidates to append affidavit on judicial paper while applying for Party ticket. The affidavit consisting unequivocal commitment that they will not leave the Party, will not work against the candidate of if ticket is not given to the applicants, and will not contest the elections as an independent candidate. It clearly suggests the fear of large scale desertions is real. This epic level- bumbling of seeking affidavit on judicial paper is overreaction devoid of the sense of proportion. It appears such affidavit is being sought from the potential candidates under duress failing which they may be asked to go home. One wonders, if such affidavits have the legal sanction because in the statute book or in political parties act no such unique provision of law exists. Moreover, It optics suggest that they are not considered trustworthy by the leadership and therefore contemplating to rope them in through the judicial paper. It is akin to stopping tsunami by erecting low level mud-wall. They are not naïve because they know the worth of such paper having no legal consequences. No such paper will prevent them from deserting if they decide to take plunge after the denial of the Party ticket. This pre-emptive strategy seems ill-conceived so its execution does not fall in the realm of possibility. ‘Rotten eggs’ cannot deliver chicks no matter how friendly and enabling the hatchery may be.

Another misstep of the Party is its boasting as if it is already in the saddle. It may pave the way for the visiting of tale of hubris. Its announcement of first one hundred days ambitious plan of reforms of the future PTI government optimized putting the cart before horse. One wonders as who advised the leadership of the PTI to unfold the plan of dreamy reforms those are not after all earth- shattering because of their general nature wrapped in over simplification, and tall claims devoid of substance. The plan seems too good to be true besides being labeled as an attempt of ‘pre-poll rigging’. The omission of minorities and women folk is quite conspicuous by their absence as it if they are not worth considering in the national politics. Women are almost half of the country’s population. The minorities of the country are being treated by the Party as second class citizens either by design or by default. The said omission ‘if so, is unforgiving. The country’s constitution and the father of the nation treated them as equal citizens indiscriminately. The convincing explanation is yet to come. Even that may not assuage the sentiment of the minorities and women who must have been badly hurt. PTI is well advised to rectify the position sooner the better.

PPP leader Maula Bux Chandio’s befitting observation is classic when he stated that PTI intended to implement its first one hundred days of plan through the shenanigans of 100 turncoats those had found safe havens in the Party. Its spokesman earlier unwisely stated that anyone joining the Party would not only be presumed clean but Party would also testify to their cleanliness. The PTI one hundred days “gimmickry” may not attain credibility when judged in the context of its government’s abject performance in the KPK province during the last five years. Its track record of governance and performance is going to eclipse its electoral prospects during the forthcoming elections. The Chief justice of Pakistan during his visit to Peshawar and Abbotabad criticized the government for it miserable governance to provide health and education facilities to the people. The other noted failures of the KPK government include one billion trees tsunami, Khyber Bank fiasco, Metro Bus project that crash landed before even taking off. The question that immediately crosses the mind is if it has failed to deliver in KPK during the stint of five years how it can translate its manifesto of one hundred days into reality at the country level? The PTI needs to satisfy the people first before going to the people asking for their support. In the absence of plausible explanation the people may not pay heed to their call.

Akram Shaheedi

[email protected]

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