We all have a vague sense of the word ideology. We know it stands for a set of ideas and beliefs shared by a group of people or social movement or a political party. That’s how we also understand politics which in turn is about the economic model that is used to run a society. Thus capitalism, socialism, communism and Marxism are all ideologies.
And then there is more. Because there are other things happening in different societies and affecting people in different ways. Like religion. So secularism too is an ideology. Or in a country like Pakistan, there is the role of military in running the affairs of the state which also impacts the society, thus, being anti- or pro-establishment in Pakistan is an ideological position. So is being conservative or progressive.
The political parties are ideologically judged on the left-right political spectrum, everywhere in the world. In today’s Special Report, we want to see where do the three mainstream political parties -- which are likely to form the government in Pakistan -- stand in ideological terms. The trigger of course was the Captain Safdar speech against Ahmadis in the parliament and the ensuing silence of all parties.
Do they have stark differences that define them or have they all come very close to each other? Are we right in assuming that when it comes to religion, all three parties are ideologically alike; meaning that they are pro-status quo. Likewise, in civil-military relations, are all parties on the same page? What about minorities, women, human rights and other marginalised causes? And economy?
Dr Mohammad Waseem thinks the party politics in Pakistan follows a pragmatic line, without any ideological considerations. Instead it’s the leader who is "representing the identity of the party". Hence we know them as "Bhutto party, Nawaz party, Imran party, instead of ideologically defined political parties". No wonder, the last election was fought on slogans of corruption and making electricity available and not on more serious issues that challenged the Pakistani state and society.
Here’s a Special Report on the ideology of the PML-N, the PPP and the PTI.