By Waleed Tariq:
Following Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in December 2007, elections were held in Pakistan in February 2008 and a PPP-led coalition government was formed which decided to introduce the policy of ‘reconciliation’ with all political players of the country. Alliance was formed with ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s PMLN in Punjab, Awami National Party in KPK, and MQM in Sindh. All these parties shared power in the ruling coalition to create a strong democratic government, get rid of General Musharraf of his presidency and address all the challenges faced by the state after a decade-long dictatorship.
This theory of ‘reconciliation’ in Pakistan presented as a new policy of political harmony is in reality an old strategy whose aim is to distract and undermine the masses, in order to pursue the self-centered interests of the political elite. Democracy has to be a medium of continuous change and progress for the betterment of the people. A country where people cast their votes on the basis of caste and ethnicity, can we expect a ‘change’?
In Pakistan, we have a democracy where the decisions of independent judiciary are not being implemented, where our sovereignty has been spoiled by drone attacks and where parties in power join and leave the government because of their own agendas. In this state of affairs, the concept of reconciliation becomes beneficial for those who are in power. This has merely become a tool of power-sharing for corrupt politicians.
In the past four and a half years, reconciliation has failed to provide us with an independent foreign policy on War on Terrorism, we haven’t improved our economy and the government has been terrible in making available the basic needs to its people. What has the policy of reconciliation given the people of Pakistan; violence in Karachi where thousands of innocent civilians have been slaughtered in the name of target killing who have nothing to do with power politics? We have political instability, social unrest and economic downturn. Is there any use of reconciliation which is unable to alter the status quo?
Politics of reconciliation here has in fact become a curse rather than a blessing for the masses. Parties remain in the government while the problems like religious bigotry, sectarian violence, inflation, load shedding, unemployment and illiteracy remain untouched. Rather than politics of compromise; we as a crippled state need to worry and fix our ‘other’ serious problems.
Sadly; our leaders seem to be busy in minting money. To put it in the words of Khushwant Singh, the prominent Indian novelist and journalist “let the dirty politicians squabble and make more money. Let them go to hell.” It calls for a different political setting; hung parliament is definitely not the way out for Pakistan’s massive problems. Reconciliation does not work. It is a clear and plain, simple common sense.