By Sardar Khan Niazi
Political party leaders must serve the country and not self-interest. Pursuing personal goals is always harmful. They must identify goals that promote the well-being of the country and its citizens.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has rightly said that dialogue is key to evolving democracy. It helps democracy mature and evolve. Many political and constitutional breakthroughs occur when political leaders sit across the table to create a consensus.
Amazingly, political parties demand democracy in the country but eschew dialogue. During his premiership and after his ouster from power, the PTI Chairman Imran Khan always refused to shake hands and sit with his political opponents at the negotiation table.
As a result, no consensus on all contentious matters about the future electoral code, use of EVMs, accountability regime, and other irksome policies relating to the national economy became possible.
The PDM’s leaders called shots for a national dialogue to end the deadlock and forge a charter of democracy along with a charter of the economy. Although the dialogue was the only way forward to steer the country out of the prevailing political and economic chaos, the invitation for talks was taken as a political tactic in the past.
The political landscape of the country altogether changed after the May 9 violence, followed by the massive exodus of dozens of PTIs leaders. This time, the coalition government turned down the PTI’s quest for talks by terming the group an arsonist.
One fails to understand why our politicians always uphold party politics and never bother about national unity, state interests as well as the well-being of the public. They should not turn politics into personal enmity, which always results in destroying the economy.
Previously, PTI Chairman committed a serious political mistake by not engaging with the opposition and now he wants talks with his adversary, while the PDM government is repeating the same mistake by refusing to negotiate.
The PTI and PML-N should not create political and economic chaos and must not add to the gravity of the situation. The nation is not ready to pay the price for the selfish politics of its leaders. It is high time they framed a code of conduct and created consensus over the national issues, so the country could be steered out of the current challenges through unanimity and cooperation.
We are living in an age of unparalleled connectivity, where every act of oppression and resistance gets documented, disseminated, and archived for future reference. Excessive measures by the government will only turn them into bigger martyrs in the eyes of ordinary people.
One cannot put a cover on the developing storm by rounding up a few thousand political workers or arresting and re-arresting their leaders. With the challenges the country is facing, especially those arising from its fast-sinking economy, the situation demands wisdom on the part of political leaders.
Against this background, the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat) has given the authorities sane advice. “Only a free and fair and timely election can bring back desperately-needed political stability in Pakistan,” Pildat says.
Of course, the lawbreakers involved in the May 9 violence must undergo prosecution, but the need for urgent political dialogue between the government and the PTI is the demand of the time. The ruling coalition must not ignore this advice at all. The PDM government must start a dialogue with the PTI for the sake of the country.
Only fair elections can help release the rising anger, resentment, and frustration building up in the body politic. The unwise experiments will only end in embarrassment and remorse. The interested parties need to let democracy take its course. Pursuing self-interest is not going to serve our dear homeland.