Are parties responsible for making ‘ideology’ irrelevant?

Published: 12:36 PM, 31 Jan, 2022
Are parties responsible for making ‘ideology’ irrelevant?
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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Fida Mohammad Khan’s son Engineer Ihteshamul Haq on Sunday joined the JUI-F along with his scores of supporters, providing the party of Maulana Fazlur Rehman an opportunity to celebrate the development.

Maulana Fazl’s brother Senator Maulana Attaur Rahman welcomed Ihteshamul Haq and his supporters into the party fold and offered them party caps.

Speaking on the occasion, he said the PTI government had failed to deliver despite enjoying the backing of the establishment.

This is not the first defection nor will be the last one.  

Many people changed loyalties in the past and many others would follow suit close to the next elections, which, barring any unpredictable development, are due in 2023.

But unfortunately, political parties don’t give due importance to the background of loyalty changers. By neglecting this important factor, parties are undermining what is called ideology. They just take these entries as the symbol of their popularity, without considering for a moment that by allowing political migrants without screening them they are making ideology irrelevant.

Needless to point out that ideology has already become alien in our changing political culture. Otherwise, there was no justification for a PTI man even to think of joining the JUI-F, or the JUI-F to let a supporter of the PTI join it.

Both these parties are strong political rivals – in fact sworn enemies.

After this development should one conclude that the JUI-F is not a religious party or it is not as strict in its values as a religious party should be?  Or, the PTI supporters are just opportunists who may change loyalty for better future prospects.   

If the trend is encouraged, a day will come when there will be no difference between one party and the other. And that will be the end of the individual identity of parties.

It is also a fact that important political families look for new ‘nests’ at the time of elections. This exercise is aimed at safeguarding their political interests. A party that stands better chances of winning the next elections is the favourite destination of such families/individuals.

Not long ago, former chief minister of Sindh and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) leader Ghous Ali Shah had joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

He had announced his joining the ruling party after a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan. Two other politicians from Sindh, Syed Zafar Ali Shah and Barrister Murtaza Mahesar had also joined the PTI.

Another former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Raheem is also with the PTI.

Everybody knows that Syed Ghous Ali Shah, then a judge of high court, was a discovery of Gen Ziaul Haq.  He had been made Sindh chief minister by him.  

Thereafter, Ghous Ali Shah was a strong supporter of the PML-N.  He remained defence minister in the first cabinet of Mian Nawaz Sharif and education minister during the 1997-99 term.

His grievances against Mr Sharif was that although the two were in the same prison after the 1999 overthrow of the PML-N government, Mr Sharif had not told the Sindhi leader that he was leaving for Saudi Arabia along with his family under a deal between the Musharraf government and Saudi Arabia.   

Realistically speaking, there is nothing common between him and Prime Minister Imran Khan.  

Syed Ghous Ali Shah joined the PTI only to settle scores with the PML-N supreme leader.

If we go by our traditions, people will change their parties before the next elections, without giving any importance to the ideology factor. Any party that stands more chances of success will have more ‘guests’ at the time of elections.  

As of now, the PPP is stronger in Sindh. Although the PTI leaders claim that the next chief minister will be from the PTI, in the prevailing situation it is rather premature to endorse the assertion.

In Punjab, the PML-N stands better chances of winning the elections despite the fact that the PTI claims that it will get a second consecutive term as a result of next elections.

The PPP is trying to regain its past glory in the country’s most populous province, but accomplishing this mission will not be easy.

In KP, it is between the JUI-F and PTI.  

Balochistan, as usual, will remain a common property of many parties.

If the political parties entertained all new entrants without examining their background, ideology will become absolutely redundant.   

Categories : Opinion
Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.