Populism - a real game changer in Pakistan

Many observers have noted that populism is inherent to representative democracy; after all, do populists not juxtapose 'the pure people' against 'the corrupt elite'.

2017-08-08T00:27:16+05:00 Khurram Sajjad

Rise of populism has emerged on the global horizon soon after the BREXIT and abortive attempt of coup in Turkey. It has been taking place not only in the developed countries but also in the countries which are under developing for long.

Populism is basically a phenomenon, whereby the voice of common people becomes a single comprehensible voice against staggering socio-politico-economic policies of the ruling elite in a state. Gone are the days when the devious political leaders used to fool nations through rhetoric and demagog. Most notably democracy has not partly empowered the rights of common people in the under-developing countries but the voice of unanimous vote as well. It is viewed that rise and rife of populism particularly in the war-torn countries can force out the foreign boots from their soil.

Keeping in view that populism is most commonly in democratic nations. Political scientist Cas Mudde wrote that, "Many observers have noted that populism is inherent to representative democracy; after all, do populists not juxtapose 'the pure people' against 'the corrupt elite'."

Populism suggests that ‘economic stagnation and terrorism helped populists make their own opinion’. The time of reclusive is also gone over. The common people have become cognizant about the appropriate system of running democracy. With the rise and rife of globalization, the cosmopolitans come into understating about the reality of socio-economic amelioration. Likewise, they are the people comprising a segment of society who want a real change in their country willy-nilly.

The veteran traditional politicians view this to be a looming threat to their political career. They are aware of the fact that education is raising the level of sanity in the common people. Resultantly the parliament is becoming irrelevant in the countries where it is filled by the absentees.

The main aim of populism displays establishing mature political system, challenging the long-lasting status quo, upstaging traditional political parties, combating the menace of inequality, threat to cultural norms, xenophobia, misogynous and religious insinuation.

Moreover, the exponential rising tide of social media has almost engulfed the world. The netizens can have enough access to come into contact with the people outside of their city, country and to an extent —hemisphere. Sharing memories, news; flaunting visits to fascinating places; exhibition of sumptuous food; making friends, admiring support over popular opinion; and receiving acclaim over pride, on the Social Media has cultivated the sense of populism.

One cannot ignore the power of social media which has become a popular abode. Even before the overwhelming attention of this abode, everybody at least visits there like a sojourn once a day to note about the familial affairs of his/her purview. Sometimes, the one residing in it get hurt over non-conformism and abject dissentious opinions by their counterpart users. Hence, social media is undeniably a powerful tool which bears a capacity to bridge the ruler and the ruled without getting a prior protracted appointment, and reserving time of the look-busy-do-nothing rulers.

It is out of doubt that social media has brought the world to the same fore of awareness.

Awareness is being rapidly disseminated through this mode. It is partially ended that dichotomy between the literary and illiterate classes. Keeping in view that no substantial education is needed to understand the use of social media, nor is there a hurdle of language barrier. Even though the power of social media can also be seen from the fact that the users of it are no longer being considered illiterate. Thus, it is contributing to the development of unanimity of opinion or consensus, understanding of political pitfalls, exchange of hot debate for discussant, etc. This seems to be a positive sign for socio-political awareness.

Precisely because of this, there is dire need to create a new international order where the old colonial powers or be-like rules could not continue to exercise their dominance economically, politically and militarily. This would be more like a ‘free world’, since freedom is defined as subordination to the decision of concentrated, unaccountable and private power. It will also fulfill the principal stance of democracy. After all, the ‘free world’ was built on democracy, and ‘free’ trade was an ideal global society, with the free movement of capital were aimed at empowering populism.

There are a horde of global issues in the dock of the UN. Major scourges such as corruption, terrorism, clash of civilization, refugee crisis, poverty and famine have been on the rise in the world. In order to get rid of the prevailing state of affairs, people are supporting the role of populism.

The populist groups rightly claim that the present state of affairs is not keeping its promises and perceive that the system is not sincere enough to eliminate the issues present in society. Even though a populist party does not need to speak out its manifesto over and over, but it has to bring the manifesto in practical actualization. Evidently, this would certainly jolt the traditional political parties everywhere in the world.

Coming to Pakistan, it is widely believed that Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf is like a populist party. The leader of the PTI has vowed his premise that to eradicate the traditional approach of ruling governance. He further claimed that Pakistan will witness a real change. Notably, change is achieved through radical upheaval. With the increase of floor crossing by the veteran political leaders, and incoming of them (traditional politicians) by the newly developed party in deference; should one believe that a real change can be achieved under such a scenario? It is undoubtedly that a party is run on the legacy of a leader. And the leader of the PTI is visionary, who bears a potential to steer Pakistan to the betterment, believes by the populists. Nevertheless, there is an undertone awe that the shuffle in political parties leaves an impression as lest the PTI should miss the fulsome promise over time. Would it not be more like axing the manifesto? Nonetheless, silver lining still remains in the heart of common people for the coming general election, due to the fact that at least election would not now be won by doling out under the watchful eyes of populism.

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