Pakistan’s 64 years of political history has witnessed many upheavals. Sometimes it was overshadowed by military dictators and sometimes it experienced autocracy. None of these systems were part of our base nor were they suggested by the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who formed a democratic set up clearly defining the system we were required to adopt.
But it was unfortunate that some black sheep from the military and later, political parties like the Nizam-e-Mustafa Front and others distorted the history of Pakistan by endorsing dictatorship and autocracy. Even though it was very clear from the beginning that Islam was to be our religion and Democracy, its soul yet we have never been able to see democracy flourish in our country.
Why democracy could not sustain or grow could be due to several causes but it is pertinent to mention that soon after the demise of its founder and his close aide Liaqat Ali Khan, democracy lost its grounds. Political parties like United Front, Awami League and Muslim League neither had a democratic demeanor nor were they interested to work towards strengthening democracy.
In these circumstances where the society and parties were devoid of democratic norms and culture, Shaheed Z.A. Bhutto resolved to restore democracy to Pakistan and decided to confront all those elements that were bent upon promoting autocracy. For this raison d’etre he founded Pakistan Peoples Party in 1967. He set a manifesto that aimed on welfare of the people including a popular slogan of Roti (bread), Kapra (clothes) and Makan (home). His love for democracy clearly reflected in all his decisions. However, his defiance of the anti-democratic forces was viewed with the fear that Pakistan would turn over a new leaf where any chances of dictatorship would not be available. Together, these intolerant dark forces stood up against him, opening a front that led to Bhutto’s downfall and forced him to accept the gallows as his final abode.
Indeed, it was a severe set-back for innate democracy, However those who thought that they had succeeded in taking the bull by its horns by removing Bhutto were living in a fool’s paradise. After Z.A. Bhutto, his daughter, towing the same line emerged with full strength to establish democracy. Indeed, her vision and ideology gave a new outlook to PPP. Unfortunately, she too became a thorn in the eyes of anti-democratic forces and was eventually assassinated. Kudos to the services and vision of Mohtarma for setting a new vision and ideology for her party.
Following the very line given by their great leader, Pakistan People’s party pursued the policy of reconciliation at every single step whether it was government in Punjab, Eighteenth Amendment, senate elections, Sind Government or NFC Award.
I wonder at the audacity with which some people dub the policy of reconciliation adopted by the government. They seem blind to the fact that first time in the history of Pakistan, political parties with different agendas and ideology are standing together. No one could ever imagine that MQM and ANP, the worst ever rivals of PPP would unite under one banner.
Even PPP and PML-N, with a past full of confrontation and political vendetta against each other came on the same platform to discuss critical political issues. It was just because of this policy of reconciliation introduced by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed and faithfully towed by her party that this became possible. The recent hue and cry by PML-N might have some vested interests but blaming PPP from deviating from its policy, is quite wrong. Political differences always exist in a democratic culture as we have witnessed but reconciliatory policy cannot be held responsible for them. The dynamics behind this policy proved that we can unite and stand together. Absence of political victimization, austerity drives and landmark achievements substantiate this policy as adopted by Pakistan Peoples Party.
Recently, PML-N leaders are tightening their belts around their loins to get ready for another show down aiming at early polls. Just to regain their losing popularity, PML-N is using new tactics. Indeed no one disagrees with this agenda—neither the government nor the people of Pakistan—but implementation of this agenda seems a far cry at the moment.
When we analyze this agenda it becomes obvious that PML-N is intentionally putting the government on tenterhooks. Rather than focusing on short term goals, it is pursuing long term goals that could take years to achieve. Furthermore PML-N is ruling in a province rich in natural sources and extended to 60% area of Pakistan, then why does it not begin charity at home?. It seems PML-N is playing a heinous game with the sentiments of the people irrespective of national interests just for political point scoring.
There is no need of any point agendas. Right now we need only a one point agenda that is unity through policy of reconciliation to steer the country out from quagmire of terrible socio-economic political confronts, flourishing nascent democracy, concluding the “war on terrorism” , and “rehabilitation of terrorism debilitated Tribal Areas and Flood stricken areas”.