Here I am going to discuss the role of public administration in the politics of Pakistan.
Politics without Politicians
Pakistan is a country that runs politics without politicians. And this has remained a major, if not the sole, obstacle against political stability in the country. The conviction the people suffer from a serious scarcity of politicians with the capacity to perceive, explore, and exploit political-democratic opportunities for their necessitous citizens.
This scarcity has left Pakistan with the option of practicing politics without politicians. And the result has remained the same: despair, pessimism, cynicism, and a neglected pile of problems such as unemployment, poverty, and a broken society.
Politics of Pessimism and Narcissism
Politics in Pakistan is a ghastly pursuit—what helps one group is thought inevitably to harm another; what benefits one must hurt the other. It is a politics of despondency. In the name of advancing the interests of one’s own group, it rejects attempts to educate, pressure, or change the society as a whole, thus accepting the status quo and revealing its essentially conservative nature. It is a politics of defeat and demoralization, of pessimism and narcissism.
By seizing as much as possible for one’s self and group, it exposes its complete disregard for the whole from which it has separated—the rest of the society. It thus rejects the search for a just and comprehensive solution to social problems. It is fundamentally conservative, working against progressive change and supporting the status quo.
Power, Nothing else but Power
In the politics of Pakistan, the intent is the acquisition of power, and culture prevails where people as well as the nation have become insensitive to human values and feel no hesitation in trampling over the rights of others. The ambition for power has thus become the tumbling block for establishing peace, equality, and a true sense of fellowship. Such exhortation to goodness and moral superiority will remain in a pious ideal if our political leadership failed to translate it into social and political policies.
Winning the Elections is thy Purpose!
As ill luck would have it, the name of the game in Pakistan has become winning the elections and not incessant development and prosperity for all. Consequentially, problems such as unemployment, inflation, and rule of law are bumping up and no political entity in Pakistan seems concerned. The only implicit, overt and covert concern is for power.
The Unsubstantial Pageant
The manifestos of all political parties are no more than points of etiquette. They lack the power to foster commitment, motivation, and clarity of vision and purpose. They do not surround certain principles and processes, which are properly observed in their development and deployment.
They fail to connote the manifesto of political parties forming the basis for the strategic direction and daily action. They are not developed in ways that they become powerful tools. Our political parties do not adopt the new philosophy, institute leadership, and eliminate slogans and exhortations. They fall short of doing away with personal goals and putting everyone to work to accomplish the transformation. This requires leadership and commitment to a common mission, which all political parties lack.
Perhaps Z. A. Bhutto was the first (and the last) to offer a program that ignited the spirits of people. Today’s political organizations, including the party he left behind, lack an agenda, harmony with values, inspiration, motivation, and the ability to capture the heart and souls of the people.
Consequently, these parties’ deficient programs are identical, monotonous, and ambiguous. They only differ in phraseology and verbosity.
Croaking Political Agendas
Manifestos of most major political organizations are substance deficient. Even during a supplementary election recently held in my vicinity, I could not determine the main thrusts of political agendas of the contestant political groups (one candidate was supported by a coalition of PPP, MMA, PML-N, Tehrik-e-Insaf while the other represented PML-Q).
The entire campaign pivoted around attacks and counter-attacks. I could not even grasp the vision of PML-Q. Different leaders had different interpretations. Regrettably, no political party in Pakistan has a stated vision.
We the People
For all our political groups are without the vision people are locked in their past and present and incapable of imagining a future that will be better, they’ve lost hope. Politics has thus become a mere business, horse trading, squabbling about power with little sense of the ends to which power is the means. Gaining and holding on to power has become the purpose.
Vision is what generates purpose for society, without vision public life in Pakistan has become a battle of interests, unconstrained by a larger horizon of meaning. By and large, the losers are the powerless and the vulnerable—the luckless people.
Word to the Wise
By having a manifesto with people’s souls in it, a political party can have continuity. This is one of the major benefits of managing and leading by a manifesto developed by a participative process. It provides long-term continuity and helps leadership to maintain a long-term competitive advantage because it has direction and purpose.
And when individual values are harmonized with those of the political enterprise, people work together for a common purpose that is deeply felt. They contribute more as a team than individually. Thus the productivity not just gets better it gets dramatically excellent.
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