THIS election is a watershed in more than one sense. Leaving aside the cacophony about the advent of a democratic era, notable consequences of this election are:
A break with the emotional attachment to Bhuttoism. Without a large electoral support from Punjab, the PPP could not hope to win.
It was pathetic that the party had no effective programme except repeated appeals to the sacrifices of the Bhutto family.
The simmering ethnic divide since 1971 has now emerged in full. No party has emerged on a federal scale. All victorious parties, especially the PPP, are provincial. The PML-N would rule at the centre strictly due to its huge success in Punjab. One or two seats from other provinces do not make the PML-N a countrywide party. The PML-N needs to give his phenomenon its full attention rather than allure independents from other provinces which would not make it a nationwide party on the strength of its own electoral base. Independents would, as usual, demand undesirable price which would make the PML (N) a shady organisation.
Each province other than Punjab would increasingly become recalcitrant which may force, as in the past, the centre to take harsh steps against them, a common practice in the past.
Even now the PPP stalwarts (Mr Wassan and others) are threatening to exclude the centre from interference in Sindh on the basis of autonomy! See the news item in daily Riasat of May 14, 2013. Mr Wassan has not stopped short at provincial autonomy but has gone on to accuse the PML-N as a Punjab party, forgetting that it was Punjab which kept the PPP in power.
By the way this news item was ignored by all anchors and newspapers in preference to what Altaf said. These PPP stalwarts forget that it could not rule the roost without the electoral support of Punjab since 1971 until now.
If the centre gets embroiled in these political disputes, it will not have enough time and energy to tackle the horrendous problems facing Pakistan, chief being (a) law and order, (b) energy crisis, (c) restart of shutdown factories and commercial units, (d) restoration of financial solvency and (e) escape from debt trap.
If there are no local governments, the common man cannot be empowered to solve his day-to-day problem. He, as one of many thousands in a constituency, can never hope to approach the provincial or the National Assembly member from his area for remedy.
The result has been that members of the provincial assembly and the National Assembly demand and get huge amounts in the name of ‘development funds’ and the prime minister and ministers requisition huge ‘discretionary funds’, a sort of robbery and bribery.
SHAHID HASAN Karachi
Advice to Imran Khan ONE wonders if Imran Khan is ill-advised or his party is hijacked by others or he is simply unwise. He makes one mistake after another to damage his own party.
First, he went for ‘electables’ who were inducted into the PTI indiscriminately and were later lost to the PML(N).
This became one of the major factors for the PML(N) getting a thumping majority in Punjab. Now while selecting party nominees for women’s reserved seats of the PTI, he ignored the PTI’s devoted founder women members like Fauzia Kasuri and Ms Andleeb.
Both of them had very ably defended the PTI on all forums, including TV talk shows. Fauzia Kasuri even gave up her US nationality for the sake of her party and politics. She cannot be blamed for her disappointment and decision to quit the party she so selflessly served
I hope Andleeb does not follow suit, otherwise the PTI will suffer two major losses. Imran Khan should realise that he is no Lenin and the PTI is no hardcore Bolshevik/Communist Party totally devoted to party ideology. The fact is that this is Pakistan, and the PTI, though a very patriotic and nationalistic party, has some of the elitist run-of-the-mill politicians.
The argument that Shireen Mazari was preferred because she is an expert in foreign policy does not hold well. Her expertise could be utilised as party information secretary and adviser on foreign affairs. It seems that Imran Khan was ill-advised into giving Mazari preference over Fauzia.
It is disappointing for Mr Khan’s supporters and admirers to observe that up to now Nawaz Sharif is proving to be a wiser and a more mature political leader. Hopefully, Imran Khan would realise this and modify his style of politics before it is too late even for the next elections.
ZAHEER AHMED Islamabad