Intolerance in Pakistani Politics
The ‘explosion’ that has taken place in Pakistani politics at the moment is in front of everyone. With the passage of time, the mores of intolerance in politics are reaching extreme levels. This growing trend of political intolerance is very regrettable. The history of using underhanded tactics in Pakistani politics is very old. But nowadays, political differences have turned into personal differences. The politics of accusations and gossip by political leaders has become an everyday affair. In this regard, major political parties have played a key role.
In his last speech, Prime Minister Imran Khan had also mentioned that Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, the leader of Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (F) was given the title of “Diesel” by PML-N leader Khawaja Asif. There have been many such examples in the past. Former President Rafiq Tarar was “addressed” by Asif Ali Zardari as “Briefcase Maulvi.” The PML-N called former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto a “Yellow Taxi” and former First Lady Nusrat Bhutto an indescribable term of abuse. Khwaja Asif also ‘awarded’ the title of “Tractor Trolley” to PTI National Assembly Member Shireen Mazari in an actual National Assembly session. When PML-N central leader Rana Sanaullah was in the PPP, he called former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz “taxi” and he also used very foul language about her husband Captain Safdar Awan. It is on record that the PML-N leaders called former President Asif Ali Zardari “Mr. Ten Percent.” From day one of Imran Khan’s Prime Ministership, Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman made allegations against him as a “Jewish agent” without any evidence. In the past, pictures of Benazir Bhutto were printed by a former Prime Minister and dropped by helicopter in various cities. In this age of social media, intolerance and calling each other by bad names has intensified and, in this regard, the “educated” workers of PTI have also played their awful role.
Political leaders are the role models for the general public. The common people, to put it simply, follow their leader. And these leaders play the role of a school for the training of their voters and political activists.
A practical example of political intolerance was seen few days ago in which a JUI-F activist threatened to assassinate Prime Minister Imran Khan. Why does a political activist reached this pathetic point? We are forced to suggest that it is because he was repeatedly provoked against the country’s elected Prime Minister as a “Jewish agent.” Behind this growing trend of intolerance is the attitude that politicians adopt when speaking out against their opponents at the political rallies.
To make the public aware about differences in political opinions is a beauty of democracy. And moreover, it is a fundamental right of every party. But there is no need to go so far out from the bounds of politeness under the guise of political differences. There are many polite ways to express our feelings against any individual or against the policy of any party. No party should allow its leaders and workers to engage in immoral speech and indecent acts against other political opponents.
If aggressive and abusive attitudes in politics are not immediately condemned and eradicated by all major parties, then the resulting storm will overwhelm the healthy functioning of Pakistani democracy and lead us into a violent abyss.