The top leaders of PMLN and PPP have vowed to work for democracy in Pakistan after a strong propaganda narrative of PTI against what it believes is dynastic
Recently, PPP’s Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari led a high-level party delegation, including Shareen Rehman, to London and held successful talks with PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Nawaz Sharif significantly agreed on the contour of the Charter of Democracy Part 2. They agreed the second document will be signed in the same place where PPP Chairperson Late Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, the then head of PMLN, inked on May 14, 2006, in London.
Interestingly, a few additional points have been added to the new draft of Charter of Democracy at the suggestion of Nawaz Sharif.
First, according to this draft, all the politicians have to take an oath not to solicit, nor approve any political role of these forces. What they mean is no individual or institution would envisage a political course for the country or prop up political parties and politicians to promote their political goals and prevent the path of mainstream political parties like the PMLN and the PPP.
Second, any attempt to impose a homogeneous presidential system on a non-homogenous country will be opposed by all the political forces, as a section of politicians, particularly Imran Khan, has voiced concern over the parliamentary democracy and favoured the presidential system. The implicit meaning of the presidential system is more power concentrated in the hands of one person i.e. the president and with him a cabinet of technocrats.
But, the PMLN and the PPP believe that Pakistan is a multi-ethnic, not homogeneous country that can only be glued together by a parliamentary system whereby smaller parties from the periphery also represent their constituents in the parliament. So, the presidential system does not suit Pakistan’s multi-ethnic, multi-lingual polity.
Third, all political parties’ leadership will be invited to sign this Charter in front of Nawaz Sharif and pledge allegiance to its content. PTI’s Chairman Imran Khan will also be invited to sign the Charter of Democracy Part 2. And if he fails to sign, he will be shunned as anti-democratic. He is most unlikely to show any willingness to agree to this document. Both the leaders also pledged to work together to rebuild Pakistan which according to them is the need of the hour. Completion of the unfinished business left on the Charter of Democracy, as well as a discussion on the broad road map for the future with the consensus of all democratic forces, also came up for discussion.
They agreed that high-level meetings will be needed to brainstorm the future road map for the Charter 2. Both parties hope that after Charter 2, the narrative in political discourse in the country will also change: it will be between pro- and anti-democratic forces in the country. It is not yet clear if the pro-democratic stance of these parties will be enough to counter Imran Khan’s narrative on dynastic politics promoted by these mainstream parties.
The PTI is far ahead in narrative-building and manipulation of social media. It develops a new narrative every third day before its earlier stance is smashed by opponents. The PPP and PMLN are slowly realising the importance of social media prowess. Even the Establishment has realised how better it can put across its narrative on social media platforms. Despite a ban for a brief moment, Imran Khan could easily deliver his speeches and narrative on social media, hence dominating the news agenda of electronic and print media.
How to contain the narrative of PTI is a million-dollar question for the PMLN and the PPP. Will Charter of Democracy 2 find traction with the voters?
The two parties, provided they deliver, have every chance to win over the disgruntled and disenfranchised masses who may be double-minded by Imran Khan’s apparent fight against dynastic politicians – one of the major pillars of Imran Khan’s narrative against the two parties.
The writer is a geopolitical analyst and a politician from Balochistan. He tweets @Jan_Achakzai
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