【Islamabad】Within a fragile and deceptively undulating 'democratic' landscape, politics and politicians in Pakistan have consistently maintained a rather adversarial character. In fact, at any given point in the erratic democratic history of the country, all leading national political parties have shown their tenacious adherence to adversarial politics. Perhaps, this is the only kind of mainstream politicking that party leaders are capable of doing in Pakistan.
What unraveled in the wake of COVID-19 crisis was no different, a severely adamant inability of the country's political leadership to conduct consensual politics. Akin to national warfare, a state in an emergency subjugates its internal strife and gears all its resources against the enemy. This is the iron law of politics during outbreaks, a law that the centre in Islamabad is unable to abide by.
Firstly, the PPP and PML-N political front should not be treated as the opposition. In the case of Pakistan, the majority, autonomous governments of Sindh and Punjab, as well as the PML-N, have ruled in favour of a lock-down. It is the incumbent government, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), that has now become a rock-ribbed opposition to the popular idea of a lockdown. Lately, Imran Khan's office and party notables have been communicating his call for political unity, but it seems to be a poor example of following a political fad – after all when in Rome, one does as the Romans do. At large, in keeping with his popular image, the premier's recent conduct has revealed an unrelenting, unyielding attitude and Pakistan, at a critical junction of its COVID-19 trajectory, cannot afford this. Communication and flexibility are crucial to consensus politics.
The writer, Ms Fatima Laraib, is a final year student of BSc (Honours) in Political Science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).
Pakistan can’t afford a political crisis during a pandemic
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