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PDM And The Politics Of Sustainability

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Exoterically, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is an alliance of opposition political parties struggling for the derailment of Khan’s regime. In reality, the case is much more complex to be comprehended. The deeper purpose of the movement is to minimize the role of establishment in politics, avoid engineered political patterns, restore democratic values and secure the sanctity of the 18th amendment in true spirit. The acquisition of this goal, or at least its propagation, will make the de facto stake holders think about approaching political crisis and its consequences.

Now, the question rises regarding the ‘politics of sustainability’. The politics of sustainability means that for how long the PDM will pursue its agenda of struggling to keep establishment away from politics? With the exception of some political forces, other political parties are engaged in compromised politics and change their stance with the coming of good days.

The political stakeholders of the PDM are equally strategic and progressive. The ethno-nationalist political forces have historically showed their commitment to anti-establishment posture. In contrast, the major stakeholders manipulate the time, space and event according to their strategic interests. This can be substantiated by the fact that major political forces don’t lose what they have already gained as a result of long political process.

Technically, leadership of the PDM should have been with the leaders of leading political parties rather than Maulana Fazlur Rehmen. To rationalize it; one, PPP and PML(N) have trust deficit and Maulana plays the role of broker. Two, Maulana is serious about practically manifesting both the exoteric and deeper purposes of the PDM. The leading stakeholders in the form of PPP and PML(N) are more serious about the materialization of higher aims though ostensibly making claims of derailing the Khan’s administration.

The PML(N) has historically been remained right wing political force. Now the anti-establishment narrative of the PML(N) is getting popular in public. Still, its leadership is facing two problems. One, there has been a culture of political compromises between the PML(N) and deep state. And two, there is an ideological rift within the second cadre leadership regarding the party’s policy of confrontation with the authorities. The central leadership i.e. Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz follow the confrontation policy to date. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), on the other hand, extends it support to the PDM to propagate its historical anti-establishment designs. The material manifestation of PDM’s higher objective will favour more to the PPP than fulfilment of exoteric aims. The derailment of Mr. Khan’s government will disrupt the institutionalized consolidation of democratic regime in place since 2008. The patterns of regime shifts will commence the 1990’s politics. Therefore, the PPP restricts its fight on constitutional lines.

The ongoing political crisis and stalemate will lead to a state of political confrontation. The political confrontation ensuring violence will drive the state on the verge of political instability. Evaluating this deadlock, the arch liability is placed on Mr. Khan and his managerial machinery to mitigate the political temperature. Apparently, he is not engaging with the PDM because he doesn’t understand the intensity of impending political crisis. Converse to this, those who manage the state affairs, in actual, know the sensitivity of political happenings and their impending consequences. So, the de facto rulers would pressurize Mr. Khan to initiate political dialogue sooner or later.

As discussed earlier, the resignation of Mr. Khan and toppling of his regime is political statement. The real cards will be played in the attainment of high tier demands of curtailing the role of establishment in politics and letting the democratic process grow naturally rather than being nurtured. The success is linked with PDM’s propagation for these demands. The accomplishment of this task depends on the commitment of individual political party and one’s sustainability to pursue the anti-establishment political patterns.

Resignation from provincial and national assemblies will be used as a pressure card till other available options are used. The utilization of other options including Long March to Islamabad will take some time till Senate elections. If the political impasse maintains, then the PDM will use last option of resigning from assemblies to hinder the Senate elections.

In a nutshell, both the permanent political deadlock and the derailment of Mr. Khan’s regime are unfavorable to the politics of state. The former will bring confrontation, creating space for undemocratic forces to fill the gap; and the latter will present Mr. Khan as political martyr and making him relevant to politics in long term. Importantly, the materialization of the exoteric agenda will paralyze the institutionalization of democracy that has yet taken place a decade back. So, the PDM can strategically manage to disseminate the high tier demands of the movement. Under this agenda, they can address any kind of undemocratic and unconstitutional perpetration in the politics of state. In cohesion to this underlying agenda of the PDM is the symbol of progressive politic, a pattern of politics that needs to be sustained for cultivating democratic values.


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Naya Daur