This time the opposition in Pakistan has conducted itself much better than ever before.I has not colluded with the establishment in trying to oust the government in power prematurely,despite temptations and difficult circumstances.It is not an easy job to be a good democratic opposition.One has to criticize the government to keep it on track and yet refrain from derailing the system by causing despondency with the system among the people.It is a tight rope walking.Imbalance and error is quite likely ,but if it is even-handed it can be useful and constructive.
PML(N) and its top leader Nawaz Sharif have suffered enough under military dictatorship to call for it again.However they have to contest elections after three years and would like to defeat PPP.It appears that they have adopted a policy of supporting PPP government to a bear minimum so as to be able to save the system and yet continue to oppose and blacken the face of their opponents enough so as to defeat them in elections.No body can perhaps condemn this as an election tactic . But elections are far off. One need not be in election campaign all the time.
Serious debate should take place on policies and issues and counter proposals offered .There should be a constructive dialogue through media and assembly processes.Unfortunately PML or any other opposition parties have not fared well on this count.They are only making general statements that they are not happy with the state of governance and that it should be improved.How? there isn't much meat or substance on it.As a face book friend lamented that no political party has a formal policy and proposal process and structure to cape with this kind of responsibility.As a result when they come to power, they do not have pre-thought of policy and programme and become dependent on bureaucracy.The concept of shadow cabinet or think tanks has not found roots.It is high time that something meaningful is done in this respect by the political party.
Their real opponents in politics-the military-men- do it all the time through their training programs and institutions.Under the cover of learning about the country's problems,many trainee senior officers nurse ambitions of assuming civilian responsibilities of heading some big corporations. Look how quickly General Naqvi came up with his vision of local government and succeeded in building a formidable system. Our political parties having rejected the concept of their predecessors , could not make up their mind on the changes and adjustments required.There are similarly other issues.Normally no party has on its roll sufficient number of experts and specialists to assume ministerial responsibilities in core areas.
The common trend is to keep a core group of supporters and loyalists and even discourage general membership drive,lest the party is taken over by the outsiders ?We have emphasized elsewhere, the need of broadening the political base and strengthening political parties in terms of membership,organisation and processes.We would counsel here that serious parliamentary process be put to practice both by government as well as the opposition , especially in the wake of the terribly destructive floods , terrorism and other serious problems with which the country is beset.