Discuss The Role Of Regional And Nationalist Political Parties In Pakistani Politics? How Far These Parties Are Necessary For The Political System?

Discuss The Role Of Regional And Nationalist Political Parties In Pakistani Politics How Far These Parties Are Necessary For The Political System

CSS Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Paper 2022 | Discuss The Role Of Regional And Nationalist Political Parties In Pakistani Politics? How Far Are These Parties Necessary For The Political System?

The following question of CSS Pakistan Affairs 2022 is solved by Irum Arif under the supervision of Miss Nirmal Hasni. She learnt how to attempt 20 marks question and essay writing from Sir Syed Kazim Ali, Pakistan’s best CSS and PMS English essay and precis teacher with the highest success rate of his students. This solved past paper question is attempted on the pattern taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory and optional subjects for years, and uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Question Breakdown!

In this question, the examiner asked you to throw some light on the role of regional and nationalist political parties in the politics of Pakistan and to what extent the presence of these parties is important for the political system of the country. So, first, you need to elaborate precisely on the difference between these two parties: nationalist and regional. Second, generally describe the importance of political parties for a country. When done, the next step is to write the role of nationalist and regional political parties in Pakistani politics. Keep in mind that the role can be positive as well as harmful. Start with the negative role of nationalist political parties and write two to three valid points. Then, write the positive role of such parties, which will also satisfy the second part of the answer regarding their necessity in the political system. Similarly, write about the negative and the positive role of regional political parties in Pakistan. Remember, writing too much will never reward you highest marks; what awards you maximum marks is to address what is being asked. After this, you can also give some suggestions and a way forward in your answer about how political parties can play an efficient role based on the nationalist interests of the country. However, it is not essential to give suggestions, so you can do this part if you have time. Lastly, end your answer with robust critical analysis and a conclusion paragraph. 

1. Introduction: 

  • Political parties play a significant role in maintaining democracy in a state. 
  • A nationalist political party, establishing itself at the grassroots level in the larger areas of the country, performs the function of national integration in a heterogeneous society.
  • Contrarily, a regional political party working in a particular region pursues the interests of one community only.
  • In Pakistan, regional political parties formed owing to the issues of provincial autonomy, high centralization of power, interests of regional elites, and martial law politics. 
  • Unfortunately, nationalist and regional political parties have not been able to establish a strong political and democratic system in the country, owing to the vested interests of elites and the dominance of feudal culture in the parties.

2. How do nationalist political parties differ from regional political parties?

3. Why political parties, nationalist and regional, are essential for a country?

  • Extend the needs, desires, and problems of the citizens to the government
  • Increase national cohesion through the representation of every ethnolinguistic group
  • Formulate public opinion and encourage political participation
  • Strengthen political ideology and democratic roots within a state

4. Political system of Pakistan

5. Negative Role of Nationalist Political Parties in Pakistan

  • No role in actual socio-economic development
  • Political instability through unnecessary protests
  • Corruption and nepotism

6. Positive Role of Nationalist Political Parties – Importance for the political system

  • Mobilizing the masses
  • Creating political awareness among the people
  • In opposition, check on the government policies 

7. Negative role of Regional Political Parties in Pakistan

  • Rise in the feelings of regionalism due to vested interests of the party leadership
  • Threat to the sovereignty of the nation

8. Positive role of Regional Political Parties– Importance for Political System

  • Representation of every stratum of society through the promulgation of regional interests
  • Check on mainstream/nationalist party
  • Worked with nationalist political parties to strengthen the federal nature of the country

9. Strategies to improve the political system by the political parties

  • Proper implementation of the federal principles of government
  • Focus on national rather than personal interests
  • Development of the backward areas to improve democratic culture
  • Strict action against the corrupt practices of the public servants

10. Critical analysis   

National and regional political parties have not been able to establish a strong political and democratic system in the country, owing to the vested interests of elites and the dominance of feudal culture in the parties

11. Conclusion

Answer to the Question

INTRODUCTION

Nothing plays a significant role in maintaining democracy in a state the way political parties do. They enable the masses to express their free will and negatively influence the other forms of government, such as Aristocracy and Dictatorship. Political parties can be classified into two main types: nationalist and regional political parties. As far as a nationalist political party is concerned, after establishing itself at the grassroots level in larger areas of the country, it performs the function of national integration in a heterogeneous society. Contrarily, a regional political party working in a particular region pursues the interests of one community but also helps nourish national integration. In Pakistan, there are various nationalist and regional political parties. Both parties play an essential role in the country’s political system, including mobilizing the masses, creating political awareness among the people, and promulgating regional and national interests. However, most of the regional political parties were formed in the different provinces of Pakistan owing to the issues of provincial autonomy, high centralization of power, interests of regional elites, and martial law politics. Thus, the negative beginning of the regional political parties became the source of their damaging role in the political system of Pakistan. Similarly, nationalist parties also act negatively when their leadership interests come in the way of national interests; there is corruption and nepotism. Hence, unfortunately, nationalist and regional political parties have not been able to establish a solid political and democratic system in the country, owing to the vested interests of elites and the dominance of feudal culture in the parties.

There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men.

Ludwig von Mises – an Austrian Economist

HOW DO NATIONALIST POLITICAL PARTIES DIFFER FROM THE REGIONAL POLITICAL PARTIES?

The nationalist political parties are the countrywide parties which have their influence in various states or cities. They use the same policies and programmes confirmed by the central leadership after concerning the party’s other branches. 

For example, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Pakistan People’s Party are nationalist political parties in Pakistan. On the other hand, some parties are limited to one geographical area or region. They represent a single region and further its interests at the national level. These parties get the support of local people and strive to get their issues by putting pressure on the central government. Sometimes they work with major mainstream parties to get more benefits for their regions. For instance, National Awami Party and Balochistan National Party are the regional political parties of Balochistan in Pakistan. 

IMPORTANCE OF POLITICAL PARTIES FOR A NATION

In a democratic system, political parties provide an efficient method to run the functioning of the government. It can be done by a majority party or a coalition of parties, while other parties serve in opposition and keep a check on the ruling party. These political parties have not got enough votes to become the ruling party or are not even part of a coalition government. Nevertheless, political parties are very important as people extend their needs, desires, and problems to the government. Thus, political parties act as a bridge between society and its government. Moreover, they increase national cohesion through the representation of every ethnolinguistic group. Furthermore, political parties play an essential role in forming public opinion and making people participate in the functioning of the state. Last but not least, political parties help to strengthen the political ideology and democratic roots within a state, fostering the process of political development. 

“The more you support political parties, the more you strengthen democracy in Pakistan.”

Jalandar Khan- a social activist

POLITICAL SYSTEM OF PAKISTAN

Pakistan is a federation consisting of four provinces and three federal territories. The country’s federation is run on a parliamentary system where the head of the government is also part of the parliament. He belongs to the majority political party of the legislature and acts in collaboration with his party’s leading members, that form his cabinet. Since its inception, Pakistan has faced multiple political challenges, first, due to the early demise of the country’s founders, which resulted in a political vacuum filled by power-hungry politicians, and second, due to the continuous military rule which derailed the process of democratic development. The impact of the martial laws was that many political parties came to the forefront. Even military dictators like Pervaiz Musharraf had made their political party: The Muslim League Kaaf. As a result, the lack of political development did not help eliminate the different political parties, and multiple political parties are still present in Pakistan. Nevertheless, the country’s two main categories of political parties are Nationalist and Regionalist political parties. Both types of parties have affected the country in a positive as well as negative manner.

NATIONALIST POLITICAL PARTIES IN PAKISTAN

The Nationalist Political parties have been formed in Pakistan since its independence. All India Muslim League, under the leadership of Quaid e Azam, played the role of a nationalist party. With time, other parties came to the limelight, including Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. These parties played both antagonistic as well as positive roles in the political culture development of Pakistan. The following paragraph throws light on some of the negative aspects of the nationalist political parties.

Negative Role of Nationalist Political Parties

First, most nationalist political parties did not prioritise the country’s national interest. Instead, their vested interests and hunger for power, at the expense of poor people, made them compromise the citizens’ basic political, social and economic needs. For instance, according to the Economic Times, the poverty level in Pakistan is about 37.9 per cent which shows that most of the country’s people are still unable to have food three times a day. Moreover, the Human Development Index shows Pakistan at 154 out of 183 countries with low development levels. 

Second, most of the time, the nationalist political parties exploited their supporters’ loyalty to disrupt the country’s political stability. When every other tactic of these parties fails, they call their supporters on the streets for many days, wherein clashes with law enforcement agencies become very common. The Azaadi March of 2014 is a case in point which lasted from 14th August till 17th December disrupting the functioning of Islamabad Capital Territory

Third, it is common for the nationalist parties to engage in corrupt practices impacting the country’s social fabric. According to Transparency International, Pakistan ranks 140 out of 180 countries showing the miserable state of state institutions where corruption has become a culture. Thus, it can be said that the negative role of Nationalist political parties has impacted the political system of Pakistan. 

Positive Role of Nationalist Political Parties – Importance for the Political system

In contrast, national political parties have also played an essential role in the development of the political system of Pakistan. For any democratic state, it is crucial to mobilize the people and create political awareness; well-informed people are the essence of a true democracy. Here in Pakistan, first, the Nationalist political parties mobilized the citizens to fight for their social, political or economic rights, making them politically active, such as through participation in the elections. Second, the nationalist opposition parties make people aware of their political rights by keeping a check on the government practices. For instance, when the party in opposition talks about the government’s bad economic policies that result in inflation, people are quick to notice too. Then, based on the sources provided by those political parties, people start talking about their rights and often protest against such policies. The example of the recent petrol hike is a case in point. Similarly, the check by the political party in power on the one in opposition has also created consciousness among the citizens.

“What is important is that a political party articulates the mood of a generation.”

Benazir Bhutto

REGIONAL POLITICAL PARTIES IN PAKISTAN

The Regional Political parties are also an essential part of the political system of Pakistan. Various reasons are responsible for their creation, including the issues of provincial autonomy, highly centralized governments, interests of regional elites, and martial law politics. As a federation, provinces of the country have been given many autonomous rights through the constitution. However, even after the 18th amendment, regarding the devolution of power, provinces lag in their powers. As a result, multiple small regional political parties have come into existence. Similarly, the prolonged military rule further increased the discontentment of the provinces creating multiple regional political parties. Currently, the regional political parties have played positive and negative roles in the country’s politics.

Negative role of Regional Political Parties in Pakistan

The regional political parties’ negative role has impacted Pakistan’s political system. First, when the regional political parties are formed, they work mainly for the regional issues but under the umbrella of their vested interests. For instance, in 1993, MQM, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, boycotted the elections. However, in the 1997 elections, it secured 12 seats claiming a share of slightly less than five per cent of the national votes. These results gave the MQM the leverage to bargain with every government on its agenda. In this way, the regional political parties exploit the national governments, utilizing the regional and ethnic sentiments. 

Second, such parties threaten the nation’s sovereignty by encouraging people to call for secession from the main state. For example, the regional political party of Awami League of East Pakistan used its six-point plan to gain independence from the state of Pakistan. Thus, the regional political parties affect the country’s political system, causing political instability and affecting the national fabric. 

The positive role of Regional Political Parties– Importance for Political System

On the contrary, regional political parties in Pakistan have also played a positive role in the country’s political system. First, they represent the strata of society away from national politics and ensure their participation at the national level. Those sections’ needs, wants, and desires are brought forward to promote their welfare. For example, in the National Party of Balochistan, members from the lower strata were included in the policy formulation. Debates in the Central Committee were regularly held, and the opinion of dissidents was welcomed, flourishing democracy at the regional level. 

Second, these parties get the support of local people and struggle to overcome their issues by putting pressure on the central government. Sometimes they work with significant mainstream parties to get more benefits for their regions. Third, they work with nationalist political parties to strengthen the country’s federal nature, forming a coalition government with the other national parties. For instance, in the 2008 parliamentary elections, the ANP won provincial seats in Balochistan and Sindh for the first time in 15 years. As a result, it formed a coalition government with the Pakistan People’s Party in all three provinces. Thus, in this way, regional political parties play a positive role in the political development of Pakistan. 

STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE THE POLITICAL SYSTEM BY THE POLITICAL PARTIES

Political parties are essential to any type of government system, especially the democratic one. A nation’s political system cannot progress without sound and stable political parties. Thus, there is a need in Pakistan to take concrete steps to strengthen the political parties to improve the political culture of the country:

  1. There needs to be the correct implementation of the federal principles of government ensuring autonomy to the provinces. When the provinces are empowered, the political parties there will work efficiently as, now, they would have greater autonomy to take matters into the hands of their regional interests.
  2. The regional and national political parties need to focus on national interests rather than narrow vested interests. In this way, the threats to sovereignty in the form of secessionist movements will be eliminated.
  3. The anti-corruption institutions need to be empowered so that strict action can be taken against the corrupt practices of the public servants.
  4. Regional political parties need to be strengthened so they can efficiently work in their areas to improve the conditions and, also, to strengthen the democratic culture.
  5. When the people are empowered, they will participate in the country’s political life. 

“To discuss political issues is to understand politics.”

Abdullah Kakar- Associate professor UOB

CRITICAL ANALYSIS  

In a critical analysis, national and regional political parties have not been able to establish a strong political and democratic system in the country, owing to the vested interests of elites and the dominance of feudal culture in the parties. The political parties of Pakistan are mostly run on vested interests where every member follows the decision made by the central leadership. In other words, no member can take a stance other than central leadership, decreasing his chances of getting out of the political party. Moreover, some politicians change political parties repeatedly, disturbing the country’s political culture. Similarly, some regional political parties also work on the principle of feudal culture, where ordinary people are not allowed to participate in policy-making and act as vote banks. These parties pressure the national governments to take the concessions as public posts. Therefore, there is a dire need to strengthen the political parties, whether national or regional, to nourish the country’s political culture. 

CONCLUSION

In a nutshell, there are several regional and nationalist political parties in Pakistan whose number has increased since its inception. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, the number of enlisted political parties in 2022 is 150, each with its aims and objectives. However, the common objective of all the political parties is the maintenance of democracy; moreover, they participate in every election to make a prominent position in the government of Pakistan. Nonetheless, regional as well as nationalist political parties are playing positive as well as a negative role in the political system of Pakistan. Negatively, instead of playing a role in the natural socio-economic development of the country, they focus on power and position. On the other hand, positively, they play an essential role in mobilizing and creating political awareness among the people strengthening the democratic culture. Therefore, the role of political parties cannot be denied for the strengthening of the democratic and political culture of Pakistan. 

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