Rhetoric, leaks and speculation
The challenges are getting worse on the home front for the ruling party with each passing day. Prioritizing serious issues correctly may not be so easy for those at the helm, but as the Prime Minister has repeatedly stated, the failure to close corruption cases and the deterioration persistent economy have caused maximum reputational damage. The masses feel extremely disappointed once they compare the ruling party’s performance on the ground with its pre-election promises. Undoubtedly, the rise in inflation alone inflicted deeper wounds on the credibility of the government than was even possible for the alliance of opposition giants. The election results of local KPK bodies can be interpreted as the true reflection of public disappointment with the ruling party. The opposition got everything it wanted from the local body elections! Interestingly, the losing parties PPP and PMLN celebrated the defeat of the PTI regardless of their poor performance.
The ruling JUI-F party appears overconfident after regaining a limited part of its lost political realm and announcing an anti-inflation march to Islamabad on Pakistan Day. For the first time, the opposition parties abandoned their favorite mantra of “rigged elections” and happily accepted the results of the polls from local bodies. This is more a consensus on hatred against the PTI than a much-needed change of heart to strengthen democratic norms.
The opposition vigorously constructs the rhetoric of absolute government failure by interpreting local body election results as absolute public endorsement of their political policies. The realistic assessment of the realities on the ground is the essential missing part of the existing policy mosaic. No lasting solution is possible without a realistic examination of the existing situation by all stakeholders. This responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of all political parties, ruling parties and opposition parties, which represent the masses in parliament. The responsibility for building consensus on issues of national interest rests primarily with the regime in power.
The baseless exaggeration of non-existent facts exposes the government’s already vulnerable performance to massive criticism.
Unfortunately, the culture of shoddy criticism and endless allegations about political opponents has left very little room for objective debate on serious issues. On the one hand, the government is continually busy accusing the former leaders of financial corruption, and on the other hand, the opposition has nothing to pursue except the political victimization of their respective leaders with the obvious intention of slandering state institutions. This hollow policy based on rhetoric has seriously undermined the sole purpose of parliament. Multiple challenges on internal and external fronts are gradually turning into unmanaged crises, mainly due to the persistent ignorant approach of political actors, without exception the government and the opposition. On the home front, economic challenges pose a serious threat to national sovereignty.
The constant devaluation of the Pakistani currency against the dollar and the alarming dependence on foreign debts have shaken the already weaker foundations of the economic structure. The poor quality of governance is another trouble spot that offers the cumulative adverse effects of the multiple weaknesses prevalent in the rotten system. Ordinary citizens are not satisfied with the current performance of hospitals, educational institutions, police stations and courts. This poor state of affairs cannot be attributed solely to the single party sitting on the throne of Islamabad at any given time. The public had faced similar problems during the tenure of past regimes, regardless of the political and military leadership.
The PTI is responsible for today’s disappointment since it has not been able to deliver anything concrete so far due to the substitution of the rotten system inherited from the PPP and the PMLN. A delicate point deserves attention, which is why the failure of the PTI is considered a clear rebuke to the opposition parties for their past follies exclusively committed. Interestingly, the main opposition parties, the PMLN and the PPP, are using their maximum energy to extract their competence from the failures of the PTI. Party spokespeople talk at length comparing the current economic deterioration to their so-called golden age without giving the slightest hint of a viable solution. The ruling party is consistent in two predictable positions; either deny fault by blaming someone else, or curse the corrupt former rulers for looting public money.
It has also become a particular unwritten tradition in our political culture that government spokespersons, especially information ministers, play a vital role in spoiling their party’s image with an uncontrollable verbal cannonade against rival parties. The baseless exaggeration of non-existent facts is another quality that exposes the government’s already weak and vulnerable performance to massive criticism. The Information Minister’s recent tweets are just one point in the event he measured national prosperity with the entry of 110,000 vehicles into Murree. This tweet rubbed salt on economic wounds at a time when the Pakistani rupee is at rock bottom against the dollar and runaway inflation is crushing the masses. Later, the tragic blizzard disaster in Murree further exposed the governance failure of part of the ruling party. The opposition parties are not far behind the government in disappointing the nation. The protest marches announced by the PPP and the JUI-F are nothing short of a tragic joke. Initially, JUI-F announced an anti-inflation march on Pakistan Day, and later the PPP chairman also informed the nation of the start of a march to Islamabad from Karachi in the last week of February.
Both parties are preparing, so far in verbal terms, to send the government home with unjustifiable reasons and almost amusing realities on the ground. The PPP will march on Islamabad with the heavy baggage of persistent bad governance in Sindh. Moreover, the PPP claims to be a true representative of Sindh on the basis of the same elections for which it mocks the Prime Minister as ‘selected’. JUI-F will make a second attempt in Islamabad with no idea of likelihood to secure an electoral majority capable enough to create an impact at the national level. Let’s not forget the PML-N which is deeply entangled in the long season of leaks and speculation. Problems like the IIOJK, the unrest in Afghanistan, the deteriorating economy, terrorist threats, failure of governance, population explosion and unemployment deserve serious attention. Politicians should come out with serious stuff other than groundless talk, leaks and speculation.
The author is a freelance columnist and can be contacted at [email protected]