This sample essay on Party System In Pakistan provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Political parties are the flesh and blood of political system. The strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, pros and cons of a political structure are highly associated with the Political Party System. Giovanni Sartori suggested a method to classify the political party systems on the basis of number of effective political parties.
In this way three main political party systems are defined; Uni-party system, Bi-party system and Multi-party system. Each system has its own distinct characteristics and advantages along with disadvantages. In Uni-party system a single dominating party is protected by the constitution to govern.
In Bi-party system two major parties contest elections and make governments alternately and freely without the help of other. Multi-party system as Sartori defines is one where no party can guarantee an absolute majority.
Governments are coalition based. Around 7 to 10 parties compete with each other and represent different interest groups. But in some countries the number may vary from tens to hundreds. In Pakistan 250 political parties are registered with Election Commission of Pakistan. Why such a big number of Political parties in a country of just 20 crore people? Why this extent of Multipartism in Pakistan?
Is this the sign of healthy democracy? Why do we not have Uni-party or Bi-party system? Why Multi-party system in Pakistan? The answer to all these questions is same and its roots lie in the history of our social, political and cultural transformation.
Social and Political systems are highly correlated to each other. Around the globe, diversity in social systems accounts for diverse political systems. Party system being primary ingredient of political system is deeply rooted in the cultural and social fabric of nations. People having unified cultural identity tend to possess similar ideas.
Take the case of China, people have unified Confucius belief and their culture sprouts from his teachings. Social system of Chinese people revolves around Confucius principles. They do not possess diverse social systems internally. This unification of social code has helped them to adopt a single political view represented by the Communist party. Countries like Cuba and North Korea have similar political system. These countries are known to be under Totalitarian rule. People are not enthusiastic for democracy. Class difference has been eliminated to some extent under communism and hence people are not driven by class interests.
As Marx was of the view that political struggle is mainly driven by economic motives. Uni-party system discourages free economic activities to minimize the class struggle and thus political interests are held to a certain extent that do not come eye to eye with the interests of single dominating party. If we compare the social and political evolution of Pakistan to the above stated characteristics of a society with unified political structure under the umbrella of a Single party, we find many dissimilarities leading to a difference in political thoughts between the two societies. Pakistan is a society with diverse cultures.
Here diversity of cultures has given birth to variety of political interests. Each interest group has adopted a distinguished identity in the form of a political party. Here people vote for the interests of baradris, tribes, clans, sects, businesses and personalities. Pakistani society is still in evolutionary process, nascent as its age is just 66 years. People are yet to clothe themselves into a nation. The colliding interests of different ethnic groups do not let them trust each other. They find it suitable to safeguard their interests on their own. Each province has a different composition of political set up.
MQM and PPP in Sindh, ANP in Khyber Pakhtunkha, PML-N in Punjab, Nationalists and few affluent people in Baluchistan are prominent on political scene. Whilst in centre PPP and PML-N are two political power hubs. Coalition governments in centre as well as provinces are fundamental feature of political system of country. On the other hand if we compare our socio-political set up with those countries having Bi-party system, we find some similarities along with dissimilarities. Similarities include 1) both are pro democracy 2) both guarantee practice of freedom of speech 3) both are flexible and allow adjustments according to needs of time.
Bi-party system is present in its obvious form in United States. In US politically oriented people consider their only realistic way to capture political power is to be either a Republican or Democrat. Historians are of the view that Bi-party system evolved in US due to the tug of power between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. In other words it evolved out of two different opinion holder groups. Number of different opinion groups is in reality the number of political parties in the country. US has two large opinion groups other being very small are insignificant.
In Pakistan the number of influential opinion groups is very large and so is the number of political parties. Another dominant factor in determining the type of party system is the Electoral procedure. Political experts say that in an Electoral process where Winner-Takes-All principle is in action, only Bi-party system would develop. Winner-Takes-All means only the majority vote-taker will be given all power as practiced in US. Whereas Party-Proportional-Representation gives all the parties an opportunity to get seats in legislature in accordance with the proportion of votes obtained.
In Pakistan even smaller political parties are able to secure at least one seat in legislature to ensure their existence. Another difference lies in the economic condition of people in both the countries. People with prosper economies are less hostile and divided. People in Pakistan are divided in elite, upper, middle, low and lower classes. People in villages and urban areas are distant from each other not only physically but ideologically as well. Unification of thought and idea in Pakistan is not as strong as in US.
Gary Cox described the reasons for Bi-party system in US beautifully in these words: “The bounty of the American economy, the fluidity of American society, the remarkable unity of the American people, and, most important, the success of American experiment have all mitigated against the emergence of large dissenting groups that would seek satisfaction of their special needs through the formation of political parties. ” As Cox described the presence of certain qualities prevented the Multi-party system to evolve in US, the absence of same has resulted in the development of Multi-party system in Pakistan.
If we sum up the whole discussion following factors are found responsible for the development of Multi-party system in Pakistan: 1) Pakistani society is not unified in cultural and organizational aspects. 2) People are divided into distant groups and classes on the basis of economic disparities. 3) People are driven by class interests based on Bradris, clans, tribes, ethnicity, sects and favorite personalities. 4) Pakistani society is still nascent and is striving to achieve stability by establishing balance between opposing interests of different groups. 5) Parliamentary form of government that works on principle of Party-Proportional-representation, allows each party to survive.
Some political scientists are of the view that Multi-party system is a result of chaos and conflicting ideas and hence it results in further chaos. On the other hand some regard it as More Democratic practice as it ensures the participation and representation of more interest groups and provides more choice. Whatever be the goods and bads of Multi-Party system, it is the only viable and pragmatic approach to the political needs of the people of Pakistan.