In a country that has a parliamentary form of the governmental system, it is very difficult to get rid of power politics and even more difficult for a fledgling democratic system just like Pakistan has. This power politics is dependent upon a great number of traditional politicians. That’s why we always see some faces sitting in the parliament and enjoying the power irrespective of whichever party is in the government. These people always become successful in making their space in every governmental setup. In our political language, these are called electables.
Before every election, they analyze the situation deeply considering all possible implications and take no time to turn their coat. They join the party that they think is going to make the government. Interestingly, the party they join also doesn’t hesitate to accept its previous ideological rival even at the cost of its manifesto being compromised because everyone desires to sit on the throne.
“What qualities do these electables have to make them so important in our political and electoral process?” is a question that is raised in several minds and that is fair as well. Definitely, there are several factors that contribute to the sustainability of their significance in overall political and electoral system.
The first factor in making the electables so strong is the design of our social structure that is based on biradaris, tribes, clans and caste. If a particular biradari or tribe decides to vote for a particular candidate then no member of that clan is allowed to differ. These electables have a strong hold on particular groups and use them to solidify their clout on local areas.
Secondly, the nature of our political parties also strengthen the power politics. As there is the absence of democracy, transparency and merit system in political parties, so the powerful people take over the parties and involve in policy and decision making. All the matters of the party are run by a small group of people. Their loyalty to the leaders makes them get the ticket, contest elections and get into the parliament. True, educated, honest and middle-class political workers are not given value and kept away from the electoral process. This can be seen in every major political party in the country right now. These parties seem to be family fiefdoms which are established to serve the leadership and its cronies.
Thirdly, contesting elections in our country requires an immense amount of money that a financially weak person can not afford. As a result, electables become the preference of political parties to land them in the electoral arena because they are mostly industrialists, landlords, feudal and business tycoons. They can spend millions of rupees on the election campaign. Even buying of votes by them is ubiquitous in their respective constituencies. Although there are rules and regulations regarding the spending of money but enforcement of those laws is seen nowhere. In this way, the party leadership becomes compelled to give tickets to those possessing huge wealth to squander to win the contest.
Fourthly, the electables earn the favor of political leaders due to their great influence over the local institutions of the constituency. Whether it be police, lower judiciary or civil bureaucracy the impact and influence of these so-called political stalwarts cannot be denied. There has always been raised a question about their role in controlling the local administration and unfortunately, this issue still remains to be addressed.
Fifth important factor that has made electables occupy an indispensable position in our political system is the lack of education and awareness among the masses. The people don’t know about their rights and are easily exploited by them. Because of not having the proper understanding they fall prey to false expectations from them. Though now people are becoming more aware and sensible due to increasing role of media it still requires a long way to go.
So, keeping the aforementioned points in view, it will take a long time to free our country from the power politics but if measures are taken in the right direction on social and political fronts, it is not impossible to make our political culture worth respecting and worth admiring. We just need sincere efforts with unflinching determination in the right direction.