Political Parties (Part I) – Daily Times
“My loyalty is to my country, not my political party. Country first “- Steve Schmidt
There is a famous saying, “Lots of hands do light work. People join hands to work for a common purpose, whether it’s to make a profit from a business, build a building, discuss big ideas, fight for a cause, or maybe get together just for a party. fun, including, of course, a political party. The importance of political parties cannot be underestimated as they are essential to play the most vital role in the history of any country. Article 17 (2) of our Constitution recognizes their existence as a fundamental right, under certain conditions. On a lighter note, however, Franz Kafka’s sarcasm cannot be ignored when he said: “An idiot is an idiot. Two idiots are two idiots. Ten thousand idiots are a political party.
Prior to the 18th century, political factions were either pro-government (usually a monarchy) or anti-government. People’s loyalty depended on which group they chose to belong to, unless they were indifferent to whoever was in power. The concept of political parties arose during the federalist era in American history around the period 1789-1801 when the United States adopted its Constitution; envisioning a strong nationalist government alongside the creation of the Federalist Party and its rival, the Democratic Republican Party. The following excerpt from Lumen’s Boundless Political Science chapter on the history of political parties might help:
“The First Party System is a model of American politics used by political scientists and historians to periodize the political party system that existed in the United States between approximately 1792 and 1824. Stemming from the Federalist versus Anti-Federalist debates, it included two parties competing for control of the Presidency, Congress and the States: the Federalist Party, created in large part by Alexander Hamilton, and the rival Democratic-Republican Party formed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Federalists were dominant until 1800, and Republicans were dominant after 1800 …… Both parties emerged from national politics, but then expanded their efforts to gain supporters and voters in each state. Federalists appealed to business, Republicans to planters and farmers. By 1796, the politics of each state were almost monopolized by both parties, with newspapers and party caucuses becoming particularly effective tools for mobilizing voters.
Too many political parties broadcast the structural development of a country
This was followed by the Second Party System during the Jacksonian Era (1830-1850) after which the American Civil War saw the emergence of the Third Party System. It helped reshape American politics with the fourth party system chasing it. However, the modern American political system is a two-party system dominated by Democrats and Republicans, sharing power since 1852. A very important factor that should not be overlooked is that these parties could have been led by one person but the property was owned. to the whole group; shaping its legal form.
Similarly, in the Indian subcontinent as well, political parties had started to take shape after the decline of the Mughal Sultanate to promote nationalism in the face of British rule over India, the first being the Indian National Congress founded in 1885. The essence of such formations is based on a common ideology or goal, so like-minded people come together to work collectively towards that single goal. In the case of the subcontinent in 1983, Allan Octavian Hume, a retired civilian officer in an open letter to Calcutta University graduates, suggested the formation of a corps of educated Indians who could represent their interests. , demand a greater share of government and have a platform for civic and political dialogue with the British Raj. The affiliation was independent of any particular religious denomination. However, we see how this later became a reason for the emergence of the All-India Muslim League in 1906; ultimately resulting in partition in 1947.
As the fledgling Pakistani state struggled to survive on the meager resources it had inherited, its political scene remained erratic due to the death of Quaid-e-Azam in 1948 and the assassination of its prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan. , in 1951. With the founding fathers quickly disappeared, the country remained without a strong political party capable of effectively organizing and managing its internal and external affairs. We know that to fill this void, the military took the reins for a good half of Pakistan’s period of existence. Obviously, this meant that there was no possibility for two or three parties to exercise their grip on politics; resulting in multiple parties (127 currently registered with the Pakistan Election Commission) that have sprung up, based on a variety of ideologies due to this huge void. The downside is that after every election there is a coalition rather than a one-party regime, which leads to more compromises rather than significant results in terms of better governance.
Unfortunately, they say too many cooks spoil the broth. Likewise, too many political parties broadcast a country’s structural development process. While it is good to have diverse opinions, it sometimes means having a deterrent to growth and prosperity. Also, adherence to a party ideology is noble but only as long as it does not interfere with the progress of the country. Then, only the country should be everyone’s only priority.
(To be continued)
The writer, lawyer and author is adjunct professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), advisory board member and senior visiting scholar at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and tweets @ huzaimabukhari