FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Personal rivalry weakens democracy
Posted:Aug 15, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Politics in Pakistan has never been for the faint-hearted. But as Nawaz Sharif turns to his base for political validation and Imran Khan tries to capitalise on the judicial ouster of Mr Sharif, there is an increasingly evident personal animosity between the two men that bodes ill for democratic stability. Both leaders need to urgently reassess the rhetoric they are using and help steer the political process back towards the path of stability and continuity. Mr Sharif appears to be directing his anger at his latest dismissal from office in an unfortunate direction. While the ousted prime minister has talked of a social programme and tweaks to the Constitution, much of it has the sound of half-formed, off-the-cuff ideas. But Mr Sharif’s anger at the judiciary and the PML-N’s political opponents, Mr Khan in particular, has been more caustic, direct and unsettling. Emotionalism is not a substitute for political strategy and can be dangerous when it displaces governance priorities.
 
Mr Khan, of course, has made a career of targeting so-called status quo politics and his aggressive rhetoric has worked to the PTI’s advantage, transforming the party from an also-ran to the second-largest vote-getter in the country. To the extent that Mr Khan’s strategy has helped carry accountability of public officials to the centre of the national political discourse, his success is also that of the country. There is no doubt that Pakistan needs a programme of public accountability that is across the board, fair and impartial. Where Mr Khan may be committing a disservice to democracy, however, is in his political fixation with Mr Sharif. After Mr Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court, Mr Khan spoke sensibly in distancing himself from the perception of a personal war against Mr Sharif. It’s not personal, it’s about the country, Mr Khan effectively said of his opposition to Mr Sharif. But as it has become clear that Mr Sharif is not willing to accept a lower political profile, Mr Khan has increased the intensity of his attacks against his long-term political rival.
 
The memory of the 1990s, when the Sharifs and the Bhuttos attacked each other politically in very personal and aggressive terms, and what that eventually led to — another military dictatorship — ought to give both Mr Sharif and Mr Khan pause today. The PML-N boss has spoken of his desire for constitutional improvement; the PTI boss has reiterated his demand for sweeping accountability — the right forum to merge those two, not dissimilar platforms is parliament. The PML-N has the parliamentary numbers and the PTI the public support to agree on a democracy-improving raft of structural changes. And while that may be an unlikely outcome, both sides should dwell on how the anti-democrats are the likeliest beneficiaries of conflict among democrats. Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan should recognise that they can only remain political contenders if the democratic system continues.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
read-more
The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
read-more
As India and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc culminate the commemoration of 25 years of their dialogue partnership with a summit in New Delhi January 25 that all the leaders will attend, India is laying out the crimson carpet to ensure that the first ever Republic Day celebrations at which 10 ASEAN leaders will be Chief Guests, jointly, is a
 
read-more
The United Nations Security Council concluded a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in a show of support for the war-torn nation where it denounced the activities of terrorists there, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced Monday.
 
read-more
While appreciating the remarkable turnaround by Indian exports during November 2017, Anil Khaitan, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that India has seen a major breakthrough in its exports to China during last few months whereas the surge in imports for Chinese products in Indian market is on deceleration.
 
read-more
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
read-more
In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
Column-image

A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
Column-image

Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
Column-image

Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

Title: The Power Paradox; Author: Dacher Keltner; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 208; Price: Rs 499