Dr Tariq Khan
Pakistan has been facing political crisis perpetuity since its inception. The crisis usually sets in from day one of a government. It intensifies as the government continues. The government typically changes before completing its tenure.
The media usually focus on the political elite and political parties for the crises. The analysts seek reasons for the crises in the behavior of the top leadership or the role of political parties. The behavior of the political leaders and the role of political parties is essential, but the more important cause is the concentration of powers at the federal level.
The federal government has accumulated powers over the years. The military and democratic governments have tried to amass powers at the cost of provincial and local governments. The eighteenth amendment has attempted to alleviate the situation and not effectively.
The central government can easily manipulate to establish governments in provinces and districts. At all three tiers of government, the power is usually not shared unless compulsion is there due to coalition government. The majority party can easily share the power with minor parties and political groups by handing over policymaking and implementing a whole sector. The majority party usually keeps important sectors in their hand and handover only peripheral sectors to coalition partners. The national government has never been tried in Pakistan. The government or opposition can either have all or none.
The lack of distribution of powers at horizontal and vertical levels is the leading cause of tension and conflict in the system.
The political parties would have to change their attitude to accommodate opposition, minor parties, and professional groups (within or outside of parliament) into the power structure. The judicious distribution of powers in the system at horizontal (among sectors/ministries) and vertical levels (provincial and local) is mandatory to bring stability.
The proper distribution and involvement of all stakeholders in the system will create interests to stabilize the system. Otherwise, the opposition will always strive to bring down the regime at the center. The distribution of power from the center to lower tiers and different sectors at each tier is a durable solution to the permanent crises in Pakistan.