The plague of dynastic politics in Pakistan


By Musavir Hameed Barech

Political parties are the political institutions and are considered as key feature of democracy. Political parties in developing countries are struggling for the consolidation of democracy. Unlike in developed states, in developing countries political parties do not want to flourish democracy out of their legacies and want to perpetuate their legacy in political system. Intraparty democracy is always lacking in political parties. Intra-party elections in these political parties are merely restricted to the formality to fulfill the mandatory requirement of elections regulatory bodies. Elections are not fully independent nor are free from the influence of leaders. One of the dilemmas in this is that the politics of inheritance in which the offspring or family members take over the party and take the driving seat to run the affair of respective political parties.
Dynastic politics in political parties is usually seen in a negative sense. Dynastic politics mostly leads to the continuation of a legacy of the political parties on that party is emerged. Whenever the leadership of political parties dies his/her off-springs and kith and kin are unable to lead the political party; it would pave the way for rising of more fractions within that political party. Arguably, the leadership of All India Muslim league were not in the favor of dynastic politics, which resulted in the divisions of AIML into many fractions like (conventional Muslim league, council Muslim league). Contemporarily, All India Muslim League has different factions under the banner of different names which includes Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, Functional, Quaid, Pakistan etc. On the other hand, Khan Abdul Ghaffar khan (Bacha Khan) who started his movement of non-violence became successful in propagating his ideology.
The dynastic politics of Bacha Khan resulted in the successful indoctrination of his ideology. Awami National Party (ANP) in Pakistan which traced its roots from age of colonization label themselves as real successors of Bacha khan. The legacy of Bacha is continued by his sons and grandsons. Wali khan (son of Bacha khan) became the successor after the Bacha Khan and then Asfandyar Wali khan son of Wali Khan took the charge of party’s affair and now Aimal Wali khan (son of Asfandyar Wali Khan) is flexing his muscles to take the driving seat of Awami National Party. Similarly, MuttahidaQaumi Movement (MQM) faced the same tragedy of All India Muslim League and divided into MQM Pakistan MQM London and Pak Sar Zamin Party of Mustafa Kamal a former member of MQM. Altaf Hussain, the former head of MQM did not introduce his daughter in MQM politics.
Meanwhile, there are some political parties operate in Pakistan have free and fair intra-party elections through which they elect their leadership such as Jamaat Islami. However, throughout history, these political parties have got support from the permanent institution of Pakistani state by organizing them for their own vested interest. Jamaat-Islami was declared as the second army of Pakistan and state exploited this political party by organizing it in universities level, provincial level, and state level so that the political party could be exploited to gain the objective of promoting Jihad. As the dynamics of international politics changed from geopolitics to geoeconomics;the declination of Jamaat Islami has started. JI which was then in the coalition government of PTI in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is now merely restricted to only 3 seats in provincial assemblies and having mere one seat in national assembly this is lent credence to that despite its intra-party elections and strong contact with people; the politics of the developing nation are not in the favor of them.
JI is now declining by leaps and bounds. The future of incumbent government named Tehrik-i-Insaf appears to be gloomy because two main groups Jahangir Tareen lead Tareen group and Foreign Minister lead Qureshi group are operating within the party is likely to be divide into two fractions after Imran Khan.In Pakistan, political parties only ever survive on their legacies. This notion is internalized and institutionalized to an extent that it has become a source of legitimacy for the party leaderships. Bilawal Bhutto is an evident outcome of politics of inheritance. Maryam Nawaz in each of her public speeches, builds her significance on the name of Nawaz Shareef. And the two political parties they belong to have shuffled Pakistan’s government between them for two decades now. For Tehreek-e-Insaaf to persist as a unified party within the ongoing politics, it must also catch the plague! The plague of dynastic politics.
–The writer is a student of M.Phil Political Science at GCU Lahore