The cacophony of Pakistani politics


The bombast cascading through political corridors in Pakistan appears to focus more on adding chaos than resolving the country’s predicaments. Politicians are often seen concocting a rhetoric that fuels a Pakistani view of self, which only advances their own agendas in lieu of national interests.
The on-going war of words between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is not a new phenomenon. Both the political parties have been at each other’s throats over the 2013 general elections, after which the PML-N has been repeatedly accused of rigging the polls. The release of the Panama Papers earlier this year further intensified this heated debate, and the PML-N leadership again found itself under fire over questions with regard to the wealth amassed by the Sharif family. Had the two sides realised the adverse impact of their constant tussle on the country’s image, both at home and abroad, they might have long decided to bridge their differences. However, hard-core aggression and abusive personal attacks continue to reign over the political discourse.
Where pragmatic approaches should have been utilised to resolve crucial crises, politicians in Pakistan believe in ratcheting up the prevalent tension by intensifying their attacks on each other. Such political sloganeering is not only restricted to squabbles between the incumbent government and the opposition forces, but it also applies to Pakistan’s foreign policy. It was just last month when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement about the accession of Kashmir was vehemently condemned by Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj as a “dangerous dream.” His strong rhetoric on a highly controversial issue is a prime example of discrepancies in the national discourse. At times, the manner in which Pakistani leaders present themselves in front of their audience either does not resonate with their official stance or disregards all logicalities involved. It does not befit the leadership of a country, which is already struggling with numerous significant crises on both its economic and societal fronts, to indulge in demagoguery sans any concrete solutions.
The Panama Papers and the Kashmir conflict are two excellent starting points if the political elites aspire to change their approach. Instead of reigniting their row in hues of endless charges, all political parties should stand in unison to deliberate over solutions to these problems. A joint investigation should be launched against all allegedly involved in the offshore companies so that the apparent tax evasion can be questioned for. As for Kashmir, unless Pakistan and India collaborate on tabling democratic resolutions, which are acceptable to the people living in the valley as well as the peacekeeping organisations, this bloodbath would only intensify. It is high time that both countries put an end to their own differences and strike a peace deal that benefits Kashmiris on top of initiating friendly ties across borders. Derogatory vernacular has long prevailed in the federal as well as provincial assemblies. As long as the administration actively partakes in transforming these platforms into civilised podiums, the outside world would continue to perceive Pakistan as a radical hotspot.