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Key reasons behind political instability

'Living in a state of uncertainty for a long time brings stage of disappointment'

It was during the administration of military ruler General Yahya Khan; that I conducted a series of surveys for a weekly newspaper. These surveys were published under the common title: what does Pakistan think? and were based on opinions of the lower class about Pakistani politics, politicians, and national problems. The first survey was about the opinions of fifty vendors, in the second survey fifty horse cart owners were interviewed and the third survey was based on the opinions of fifty barbers. Most of the answers had similarities in one or the other way. While answering the question, what is politics? The respondents simply said that it is the act of cheating, cheating the poor, and it is a game of blaming and lying. There was a question: who are the politicians? Which was answered: they are ‘plunderers’ of the national resources, they are the people who lie with the poor and are ‘greedy of power,’ who come for begging votes, who arrange public meetings and rallies for ‘dodging’ the common people. They are the most ‘selfish faction’ of any society.

When asked about the name of any political party if they know, less than a dozen persons were able to recall the name of any political party, most of them said: they only know that there is Maudoodi’s party (Abul Ala Maudoodi – 1903-1979 – was an ideologue, philosopher, historian, and founder of Jamaat-e-Islami), or there is Bhutto’s party (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto -1928-1979 – was a ninth prime minister, and the fourth president of Pakistan. He was also the founder of the Pakistan People’s Party), or Asghar Khan’s party (Muhammad Asghar Khan – 1921-2018 – was an autobiographer and founder of Tehrik-e-Istiqlal). Real names of even important political parties of those years were seldom known. In response to a question regarding the most important problems, answers were different i.e. poverty, price hikes, lack of ‘real leadership,’ and ‘everyone’ is trying to cheat others.

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In suggesting solutions to these problems, most of the respondents were bitter enough. Many of them suggested that for solving nations problems, all the politicians should be thrown in the sea. Others suggested the death penalty for the corrupt ones and plunderers. It is just the day before yesterday that I found many vendors selling fruits and vegetables on a roadside in Lahore. I was inquisitive to know what opinion they could have about the politics and politicians in the current political environment. Accompanying with a close friend, I spent around two hours asking them the same old questions. To my astonishment, the answers were almost the same. People were even more bitter than those in the Yahya Khan regime. Nevertheless, the price hike of daily-use commodities was emphasized by everyone as the topmost problem.

A commoner like to speak so much beyond your questions. Many consider ‘democracy’ a ‘weak system’ that has failed to deliver. We need a presidential system and a strong ruler. Some favour a one-party system. All of the respondents expressed their extreme views against all of the present politicians and opined that all of them are liars, hypocrites, and selfish and no one of them has a real feel of the poor people’s problems. An old man said that whenever people face severe problems, God knows better, where these opposition parties appear from with their flags; and become sympathizers of the people. They and their workers never do anything good for relieving poor people’s problems. They are not God-fearing people, they are selfish and want power for plundering the nation. There were some who showed their sympathy with PTI, the Muslim League, or the People’s Party. Nevertheless, people seem to lose their confidence in ‘politics’ and the ‘democracy.’

Different surveys conducted recently have contacted only educated respondents, and have provided answers of their preference from the present political parties. In a normal atmosphere, politicians remain involved in the blame game for their political point-scoring. They raise so much dust and try to blind the masses with so many propaganda techniques. Opposition never comes with solid and worked-out suggestions for the solution of the problems. The governments are generally bombarded with blame and loaded statements creating an atmosphere of uncertainty in the country. Living in a state of uncertainty for a long time brings the stage of disappointment. During the elections, many jobless people find their livelihood in slogan chanting, wall chalking, public meetings, rallies, parties, posters, banners, and other publicity materials. Candidates seek their success only by creating an atmosphere of hooliganism and nonseriousness. Poverty and illiteracy money and power and many times favour of administration become strong bases for their success in the elections. This is the reason that they care only for these things and never bother about the real problems of the masses and national or public interest. Since they have not changed their behaviour, public opinion about them hasn’t changed either.

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