Through a qualitative scientific exploration, cultural and linguistic anthropologist Graham Jones induced credibility pyramid that could apply to individuals, social groups, political parties etc. At the bottom of the pyramid is a band of knowledge and understanding. Although this portion characterises 10% of a credibility score, it is nevertheless the foundation. If you do not comprehend what you are saying or doing, you have no credibility no matter what else you add to the mix. The next level of credibility pyramid, according to Mr Jones, is experience and focus, which constitutes 15% of the total score. Experience and focus labels the consistency of action and belief, wherein people and parties do not deviate or go off to refractions. This is when we come across people and parties who stick to their viewpoint. The next floor on this pyramid of credibility is enthusiasm. The scholar allocates 25% to it, which is relatively high. Naturally, if a person or party cannot be enthusiastic about what they do and they are not passionate, how can we believe in their words? The most surprising component of credibility is the top part of this pyramid. It shows that 50% of your credibility is associated with your care and concern for others. If you could prove that your knowledge, experience and enthusiasm is not for personal gains but are devoted to uplift people, you will be able to gather up half of the score towards a strong rating. It seems that a small percentage of your credibility is knowledge; add to that focus and enthusiasm, and you only have half of what makes up your credibility. The other half is all about caring and concern for people’s well-being. No matter what you are trying to say in parliament or press conferences, whatever you are trying to do in political sittings and rallies if it is genuinely to benefit people, you build untainted credibility.

If we scrutinise our political leadership from the Jones’ credibility lens, the first question appears; do they know and understand what they do? The possible answer is a definite Yes. All parties and their leaders know how to play and manoeuvre the changing circumstances of politics, and who to build relationships with and when. The next question has to be, are they experienced and focused? Now the answer is a shaky Yes. In case of experience, all popular parties claim to be in the game for many decades and time has no substitute. Even the least experienced is the present government that claims to have 22 years’ experience in rugged filed of politics. But in case of focus, the essence seems to be lost. Without going into the past, the last 11 years show us that no political party was focused on their manifestos. PTI is an exception but only to a limited extent. PPP spent their five years in government scampering in varied directions without a rudder. They have been shifting their political stance lately; a left-wing party with the dominance of the secular minds has lost its focus by joining religious groups and the then right-wing party PML-N.

PML-N was focused on building certain infrastructure in Punjab but showed inconsistency and lack of commitment to developing the industry that could have generated sustainable jobs. PML-N was constantly failing on streamlining foreign relations and advocating the Kashmir issue. However, PTI seems focused on their narrative of curbing corruption and bringing justice to the people of Pakistan, though the lacunas in commitment are surfing gradually. Next credibility check parameter is enthusiasm and zest. Undoubtedly all parties have it in abundance. From JUI-F to MQM, from BAP to ANP, from PML-Q to PSP and the rest of the political parties, all are enthusiastic, however, with a shaky focus. How can people trust if the purpose of enthusiasm shifts with time? If the focus is survival and desire for domination and to do so standpoint and political stance keeps dribbling hither and thither, people notice it and then evaluate enthusiasm. Here it is to be realised that focus provides bases to enthusiasm in the process of developing credibility.

Are premier political leaders in our country using their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for the well being of Pakistanis? This is the next and last question in appraising the credibility of players in our political arena. Ask yourself, who is doing it for you? Is there any political party you can name who has, besides caring for their close ones, worked hard to bring ease of life to the general public? Sadly, all of the political elite of the country is busy expanding their personal worth in every possible form. Has anyone done anything to strengthen the system in a manner that favour people of Pakistan or pragmatically exhibited caring general public?

See the latest political move by Moulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, the rally and sitting. He is the same Moulana who condemned PTI back in 2014; admonished going on roads, and flawlessly spoke in favour of the supremacy of the parliament. He took his clear stance to stay inside the vicinity of the national parliament in the best interest of the people. But today he has chosen roads again in the best interest of the people. What is his actual interest? Mr Moulana utters his serious concern about the economic upheaval. Was he at sleep for last 11 years, when imports were devilishly rising, and loans were terrifyingly mounting? Moulana kept his silence when the previous governments did not document the economy for short-term political gains. Does he not see the past governments responsible for the swelling tariffs that are breaking people’s backs? Is he perturbed about people’s sufferings? Time is short, and we need not be naïve now. It is time for people to rewind and analyse and ask themselves if these useless political giants feel for the public? If in a case where knowledge, experience and enthusiasm are not utilised to uplift people, then the ruling elite is only busy doing corruption. Transparency International states that misuse of entrusted public power in gaining personal favours or offering favours to friends, relatives, and allies comes in the ambit of corruption.

The most critical crisis of credibility occurs on the tip of the pyramid that appears to be vacant most of the time because we find our political elite having zero care and concern for the people of Pakistan. In such a demoralising credibility crisis, we need to keep our senses alert. We have no option but to meticulously evaluate, rate and choose the most credible among a lot of the least reliable ones.

The writer is a PhD, Assistant Professor at a University, and a Broadcast Journalist. He can be reached at mali.hamza