WHAT STANDS OUT IN PAKISTAN: NEPOTISM OR PERFORMANCE?

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The concept of political modernization depends upon the constant and advanced evolution of political norms and political parties in any state. If political modernization ceases to exist, then all it can abandon all sorts of development in a country. Nepotism and favoritism in politics is one such norm which is still installed in a lot of states across the world and prevent them from political modernization. It basically means the transfer of political power based on the political hierarchy and the flesh-and-blood of politicians. It also means the confinement of a whole political party to a one-man-show.

Even the more mature and so called developed countries like United States of America have given up their liberal identities and people have started limiting themselves to populist leaders. This is exactly what has happened to the Republican party in the past four years. It has been totally captured by the President Donald Trump and some true Americans have formally written the obituaries for Republican Party.

Like the US which happens to be one of the oldest constitutional democracies, nepotism is also fostering in Pakistan but it is not a novel concept to Pakistan. It was vigorously practiced in the neighbor India which now claims to be more politically developed than Pakistan. The activist and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his family has ostensibly promoted nepotism in India. After Nehru ruled India for 17 years, his daughter Indira Gandhi came to power then her son Rajiv Gandhi stepped into the game after Indira was assassinated. Currently, Rahul Gandhi heads the Congress party.

Living with their Indian deep rooted culture for centuries, nepotism has been deeply inculcated into the Pakistani society as well. Currently, the political landscape of Pakistan is dominated by merely three parties which are, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

The political system of Pakistan is very unlikely to evolve under such limited party politics. Only the ruling party PTI is inclusive and is not a family enterprise like PML-N and PPP. PML-N even carries the name of the leader Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in its nomenclature. What more can define personality politics than a party’s name based solely on a person rather than an ideology or a vision.

PPP’s situation is not very different than that of PML-N. despite carrying Peoples name in it, it was certainly not served the people and is most certainly not comprised of the People. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s daughter Benazir Bhutto led PPP for several years unless her assassination in 2007. She had left a will in which she declared her husband Asif Ali Zardari as the head of the party. After Asif Ali Zardari held presidency for five years, his son Bilawal Bhutto now leads the party.

Oxford’s Alumni and a complete British brat that Bilawal is, it portrays the perfect depiction of nepotism in Pakistan that he is leading an honorable political party with no expertise in the domestic politics or even the national and local languages. Most recently, Bilawal Bhutto has allied his party with the Pakistan Democratic Alliance along with Maryam Nawaz, who is also the outcome of nepotistic approaches in Pakistan. They are all on the quest to topple down the ruling party.

in a recent press conference, Bilawal called out to Punjab’s Chief Minister; Sardar Usman Buzdar for being an incompetent and not fit for politics personality. He trolled him for coming into politics under the flag of feudalism. But this is really ironic on Bilawal’s side since he himself is the perfect product of pure nepotism in Pakistan.

People have criticized Bilawal Bhutto for condemning Usman Buzdar for his performance as head of the most populous province I-e Punjab. Many tweets circulate bashing him with the tag of nepotism as he is a child who is trying to hold on to the politics of Pakistan. Yet he had the sheer audacity of criticizing the CM who has served Punjab very well in the past two and a half years. And undoubtedly he has.

The one of its kind online payment application was introduced under Buzdar’s government namely the e-pay Punjab. It is the first ever online gateway for payment and citizen facilitation in Punjab. In the last year, the app has been able to gather more than 2 million beneficiaries and heft revenue of almost Rs 10 billion was collected. He also uplifted the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train program by reducing the one side fair to Rs 40. This project has helped a lot of people belonging to lower and middle class in providing them quality transport in affordable price.

Furthermore, the police department have been strengthened in Punjab. Additional Chief Secretary Punjab and Additional IG Punjab were appointed. 33% development funds have also been allocated for Southern Punjab.

The instigation of the Ravi Urban Development Project is also one of the mega projects and achievements of Sardar Usman Buzdar. This project will economically boost Pakistan. He has also announced that work has been started on creating 13 more Special Economic Zones (SEZs) like the Urban Development Project. The federal government has issued official notification for six of these SEZs.

Certain changes have also been made to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) under Buzdar government and the construction of high-rise buildings has been allowed. Apart from this, Rs. 20 billion were earmarked for soft loans under the Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC).

Keeping all these and many more accomplishments in view, it seems very paradoxical and ironic that Bilawal Bhutto criticized a person who is not a political royalty and has no political family background. Bilawal Bhutto is the faultless epitome of nepotism in Pakistan so it was completely comical of him to condemn Usman Buzdar for his performance. It is hilarious in itself because the only political achievement that Bilawal Bhutto has had so far is to snugly embrace the political throne transferred to him by his father Asif Ali Zardari. What is even more disturbing is that even Zardari passed onto his son, something that he earned purely out of nepotism.

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