In the turmoil of politics and the intensity of power struggles, all serious attention to issue-less politics crucial to the country’s future has been lost.
In today’s political confrontation, political leaders focus on the cunning of their opponents without explaining how they intended to solve national problems or what their parties stand for.
It is a time when the many challenges facing the country require solutions and answers. First, a polarized environment characterized by the constant exchange of toxic rhetoric is preventing much-needed consensus on important national issue-less politics. It also creates a hostile atmosphere for generating new ideas.
Much of today’s political discourse consists of bitter tirades and aggressive rhetoric, as well as the relentless efforts of issue-less politics leaders to smear opponents. Rather than discussing law and order, most political discussions focus on disputes and allegations of abuse and corruption leveled against one another by political leaders.
Thus emerged a sober form of politics, in which political narratives ridiculed rivals rather than seriously discussing the challenges facing the country. Perhaps because parties no longer have an agenda, superficial narratives dominate politics. No political party has presented a credible vision of the country’s future, let alone a strategy to achieve that goal.
Take, for example, the response of government and opposition officials to the two greatest challenges facing the country today: the unprecedented economic crisis and the security threat posed by a new wave of militant violence.
First, the public exchange has taken the form of who is responsible for driving the economy into a critical circle. In other words, instead of a factual issue-less politics discussion about what Pakistan must do to permanently save the economy, there is a blame game going on.
The government has announced that it will take all necessary political measures to reach an agreement with the IMF. But he has presented no economic plan other than securing a bailout fund, which is necessary, but not sufficient to sustain a sustained recovery from the country’s ongoing financial and balance of payments crisis.
An agreement with the IMF can only provide temporary relief. This should be an introductory part, not a substitute for a broader local economic strategy to map out a growth path. It is significant that the PML-N coalition partners, particularly the PPP, have no interest in commenting on the state of the economy and give the impression that they have nothing to do with economic management.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders criticized the government for taking steps to please the IMF, saying it would bring hardship and misery to the people. But they have not offered any alternatives or their own vision for dealing with the economic crisis.
Political leaders should be focusing on meeting the country’s challenges, not undermining opponents.
A similar attitude has been shown in response to militant violence. Both blamed each other for the current wave of terror that swept Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Leaders of the coalition government in the center accused Imran Khan and issue-less politics his CP government of pursuing a policy of encouraging a return to combat and blamed the provincial government for failing to crack down on the TTP.
Khan and his party leaders, on the other hand, said there was peace in the provinces while the PTI ruled in the center. They defended the relocation of TTP fighters to the province, saying it was the federal authorities’ responsibility to fight terrorism in any case. Imran Khan has also linked the increase in violence to his disempowerment
For his part, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif blamed the rise in terrorism on the CP government for failing to equip the police and issue-less politics civilian forces to fight the militants. He asks where the funds allocated to the voivodeship for this purpose have gone.
Meanwhile, the “all-party conference” he had announced appeared with great interest only as a facade procedure, while the mood was disturbed by the arrests of opposition figures and the government’s militant attitude towards the issue-less politics PTI and its allies.
The repeated postponements of the PCA showed a lack of seriousness. Organizing a conference after and not before the elaboration of a coherent anti-military strategy, which is still lacking, should be a serious decision.
Conferences are forums for ratifying or changing policies, not for shaping them.
Another aspect of the poverty of political discourse is that clichés and platitudes are what some political leaders find sufficient to express their position on important policy areas. This, in turn, reflects the fact that their parties have no program, political plan, or goal of any kind. The media report daily on the banal speeches of those in power.
“Pakistan will be the investment center in the region”; “We must increase exports and productivity”; “We will protect the poor from inflation”; “We are committed to education for all”; “Education as the key to progress”; “Terrorism is Pakistan’s main problem”; “National unity is necessary for the fight against terrorism”; Etc.
This evidence says nothing about the real goals of the policy and, more importantly, the way to achieve them. It’s like saying that platitudes magically translate into politics and the achievement of goals.
If not platitudes, then exhortations—calls for unity, sacrifice, or patience in the face of national adversity. Again, these are statements made in a issue-less politics political vacuum. Phrases are no substitute for strategy, just as admonitions are no substitute for politics.
People expect a lot more from their leaders in times of crisis. They strive for clear and credible leadership, a competent solution to national problems, and, above all, for public representatives to act in a spirit of solidarity so that they are perceived as contributing to the responsible and purposeful management of challenges.
When the public hears accusations that the other side is incapable of governing and sees no efforts to discuss and act on issue-less politics affecting them, it undermines trust in politicians and the political system. Democracy is undermined when people see politics as a power struggle with no public purpose.