Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

The Plant of Politics And Intolerance!


Dr Lubna Zaheer

As the elections season is approaching, the political activity is gaining momentum in the country. It’s great to see that the uncertainty surrounding the conduct of the elections has faded away. Most of the credit goes to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which has blocked all efforts to postpone the general elections. Two days ago, the Supreme Court issued an order against the decision of the Balochistan High Court in a case related to delimitation. The implication of this written order is that holding elections is more important than disputes over delimitation. Earlier, the judgment given by Lahore High Court in the case related to Returning Officers and District Returning Officers was annulled by the Supreme Court. Every democratic citizen wants elections to be held on time and to ensure their transparency.

We hope that the election activities will accelerate in the coming days. After the distribution of tickets and the announcement of the candidates, the series of public meetings will kick off and the echoes of political promises and statements will be heard. In this context, the Election Commission of Pakistan has issued a code of conduct related to the elections. I have seen coverage of this code of conduct in national newspapers. Especially the headlines that ridicule of Pakistan’s judiciary and forces should be avoided in the election campaign. After reading these headlines, the question arose in the mind that apart from the judiciary and the armed forces, why other institutions and individuals should be ridiculed? Why is it not warned in the code of conduct that derogatory words about any institution, organization or person should be avoided. The kind of statements and language that have become popular in politics in the past years, has promoted intolerance. Especially the younger generation feels left out.

Personally, I am much interested in politics. However, the game played in the field of politics in the past years to devastate the country has relatively reduced my interest in politics. One of the reasons for this is that political intolerance has increased so much that people have to avoid political discussion. Even well-educated and seemingly polite people aren’t willing to listen to and submit opposing political views. Sometimes bravado is adopted instead of logical reasoning. Making politics a war of disbelief and faith has had a very negative impact on the young generation. The result is in front of us in the form of abuse in social media. No one’s honor is safe on social media. No one can say anything about anyone, no one is going to ask. It is not a secret that which party and which political leader has promoted abuse, accusations, and blatant lying. It is not that all the followers of other parties are very civilized. Some followers of each political party use unparliamentary and abusive language. But when the head of a party himself speaks evil and encourages those who speak evil, imagine what will happen to the followers of that party.


Being associated with the teaching profession, I keep in touch with the youth and have been witnessing the changes in them for many years. The implications of this observation are not encouraging. It is also often disappointing to hear the political discussions taking place in various gatherings. In the past weeks I had the opportunity to attend four political talks. The purpose of the talks was to test the political consciousness of the youth. Urban and rural young boys and girls studying in different universities participated in these talks. Throughout the conversation, I silently recorded observations. It is very sad to see how the language and tone of the youth, who are followers of a political party, has deteriorated. Following the footsteps of the leader of their favorite party, the students stood firm on the description of a thief, a robber, a robber. Worryingly, most of them had no arguments. They continued repeating the same phrases like a robot, which they had heard twenty or perhaps hundreds of times from the mouth of their political leader. When the host asked them some questions, they had no argument. It was asked whether they have done any research regarding their political opinion. The answer was no. It was asked to tell the qualities of their favorite political figure, due to which they consider them useful for the country and the nation. No answer again.

Most of the followers of other political parties were also away from the research as they also lacked logical arguments. But it is certain that there was no brashness in their manner and there was very little element of profanity in their choice of words and language.

The truth is that during all this conversation I kept thinking that it is the incompetence of teachers like me that we couldn’t teach our students the etiquette of speaking politely. They could not be taught to form their own opinions after research. They could not be told to think a hundred times before speaking without reason. I have observed that after listening to the abuse of the supporters of the opposition party, often even the decent youth lose their patience. I narrate an incident that happened some time ago. Some students were discussing a political issue. It was a group of students belonging to different political parties. A follower of a political party started speaking against the Pakistan Peoples Party and uttered the sentence that “Zardari Sahib has collected forbidden wealth”. In response, his companion flared up and replied without any reason that ” So what if forbidden property has been collected, but not forbidden children”. I have written these words out of necessity, to make it clear that this is the style of conversation that our educated youth use in political discourse. We all know that these phrases and words are the production of the political leader. It’s not just the youth, I’ve even heard university professors talk this way.

This is the cruelty that has happened to this nation especially the young generation in the last few years. It is not known how long we will have to suffer the effects of this political training. However, now the election campaign of political parties is taking a different direction. May Allah Almighty make every party conduct its election campaign in a civilized manner. Put your manifesto and performance in front of the public. Abusiveness, hate speech and abuse must be stopped at all levels.

Dr Lubna Zaheer

— The author is an academician and political analyst

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Lahore Mirror