Why Fawad Chaudhry’s 'prescription' not in national interest
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has rightly diagnosed an important political problem of the country – that political parties are getting weaker and weaker.
In a TV interview, he explained this ‘ailment’ but came up with a questionable prescription.
A lawyer by profession and a known political grasshopper from Jhelum, the minister was of the view that Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz have reduced the PPP and PMLN to what he called district-level parties with the PPP confined to interior Sindh and PMLN to central Punjab.
The nephew of a former Punjab governor and a former LHC chief justice also claimed that except for the PTI, there is no other national level party at present.
In his opinion, if the country has to progress, the PML-N and the PPP have to be extricated from the leadership of the Sharifs and Zardaris. He said the second-tier of both these parties should come forward and control things.
As a matter of principle, any member of a party should be eligible to head it. However, this doesn’t happen in Pakistan. Nor is everybody in a position to increase the popularity of a party.
In our country, it is some individual or family that acts as a political magnet. If that person or family is not in the driving seat, the party withers. In other words the role of these individuals is that of a political glue.
In the PML-N, it is Mian Nawaz Sharif who enjoys the public following. He had launched the party after developing differences with then party head Muhammad Khan Junejo. He has been undisputed leader of the party since its inception. Interestingly enough, late Junejo’s children Asad and Fizza also joined the PML-N.
After Mr Sharif’s disqualification for life and then flight to London on (fake) medical grounds, the party has accepted his daughter Maryam Nawaz as its real leader. She is vice president of the party but is more powerful than party chief Shehbaz Sharif.
Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shehbaz, although heading the party to meet a legal requirement, is not charismatic, nor has he any public following.
Likewise, the role of a party head can’t be performed even if, hypothetically speaking, the mantle goes to the former prime minister’s sons Hussain or Hassan. They are not in a position to keep the run party.
It is this factor because of which Maryam outweighs even the senior leaders like Raja Zafarul Haq, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Khwaja Asif, Khwaja Saad Rafiq and Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and they have to stand behind Maryam and follow the line given by her.
It’s a fact that these senior leaders are no more than constituency politicians – unable to keep the party united or add to its popularity.
In PPP, it was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto because of whom the party was once the most political entity of the Islamic republic.
After him, the party lost its public following considerably despite the fact that the leadership was with Benazir Bhutto and the sympathy factor of ZAB’s execution was also there.
Since Benazir’s assassination in 2007, the PPP has further weakened and is no longer a national party.
Bilawal being a Bhutto-Zardari is running the party but can’t add to the party’s popularity.
And in case somebody else has to play this role, the party will gradually evaporate. In the prevailing situation nobody is in a position to make slightest addition to the party’s dwindling support.
Unfortunately, the situation is no different in the ruling PTI.
If for any reason Imran Khan is not on the scene, the PTI is gone. The colourful ‘flowers’ now part of the PTI’s ‘bouquet’ will disappear as mysteriously as they had appeared.
Without any exaggeration there is nobody in the party who can keep the PTI alive even at the district level.
The writer despite being strongly opposed to dynastic politics is of the considered opinion that only the Sharifs and the Bhutto-Zardaris are in a position to keep their respective parties intact. In their absence the two entities stand no future at all.
This means that Fawad Chaudhry’s reservations about the Sharifs and Zardaris apart, the separation of these families from their parties will not be in the national interest.
With the decimation of parties it will be hard for anyone to run the country. And nobody will know who is calling the shots.
If dozens of smaller parties have to join hands to form a government, it will be the weakest ever and will collapse anytime. A 100-party coalition - the very nomenclature will sound very ridiculous.