Democracy in political parties
When trying to explain the reasons for the failure of democracy in Pakistan, we usually point towards the influence of tribes and ‘biradari’ on voters which leads to the selection of inappropriate people, and the regular interference of the military establishment, but hardly do we emphasise the absence of intra-party democracy.
One of the prerequisites for the success of democracy at the national level is that democracy should prevail inside the political parties. Sadly, this is not the case.
It is naturally assumed that the sons and daughters of the party heads will take control of the party in future. The way Bilawal took over the biggest political party only because he was the son of Benazir Bhutto.
However, the ongoing intra party elections in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf are a sign of hope.
Similarly, Jamat-e-Islami and MQM also have some kind of democracy in their parties; Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Syed Munawwar Hassan are not blood relatives of Maoulana Maudoodi. The two biggest parties, PPP and PML-N should learn from these relatively smaller parties.
Why is it that Bilawal was chosen to be the party head despite the presence of senior, respectable and veteran politicians like Raza Rabbani, Aitzaz Ahsan and Naheed Khan?
Similarly, Javed Hashmi who worked tirelessly for PML-N all his life was abandoned in the end. The feudal and dictatorial mindset of some party heads sees the parties as their personal property, and this needs to be changed.
The fact that ‘the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’ contains the name of the party head or more correctly its ‘owner’ is something to lament.