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Political Cleavages in Pakistani Society

In Pakistan, the gender relations and understanding of the women’s life is a prerequisite for evaluating the women’s employment and their position in the society, the detailed abstract in this regard has been mentioned in the prior chapter, the Chapter-2. Anyhow, as discussed in previous chapter, the status of Pakistani culture is a traditional feudal culture from its creation i.e.1947. Pakistan has neither a stable political set up nor cleavages in political system directly or indirectly which determined the profession and status of Pakistani women. So, this chapter will be focused on the political cleavages which effect the culture at large scale as well as the causes of these cleavages. The political system of Pakistan is not in a position to adapt the need of ethnic preconception.

Pakistan has been declared as an Islamic state from the very beginning (Ahmed 1993), but its political structure is insufficiently well modified to linguistic, regional, and other cleavages within the Muslim majority. All major ethnic groups are politically activated in Pakistan, which has improved the rate of conflicts. Since freedom, many ethnic clashes reflect the failure of the political structure prevailed over the country to assure the targets of ethnic groups. However, countless attempts were made to create ethnic relations through elected institutions (ethnic provinces and political parties), but elected institutions, many times failed and ethnic relations have degenerated into violent clashes and separatist actions. Rather reality, the rule of law highlighted as a slogan. Political inclusion is undermined by ethno-linguistic cleavages which are reinforced by differential access to power, but the most marked inclusion problem is due to widespread poverty, which marginalizes the bulk of the population from active participation in national politics. This is enlarged by ruthless patterns of discrimination against women that marginalize their participation in the political activities.

The closed examination of electoral process and political structure common in South Asia will reveal some major cleavages effecting the character of political formations, participations of the people, inclusion of women, minorities, rural and urban poor, the peripheral regions and sub-national groups into the mainstream. The Pashtuns have rarely and demanded Pashtunistan including Pashtun areas of Afghanistan, too. In Baluchistan, ethnic clashes have been more violent than NWFP (the present KPK). The Balouch community has claimed independence Balouchistan (greater Balouchistan) and they are against Pakistani Government since long due to the reason explained above. The Sindh is also victim of ethnic conflict where two major ethnic groups (Sindhis and Muhajirs) are fighting for domination and territories. The Sindhis wish not to lose the power of their own areas. Due to this they oppose Muhajirs (Singh 1986; Ahmed 1993; Europe 2003: 3194-3206; Freedom House 2003: 423-428).

The social status of Rural and Urban working women in Pakistan can be checked by comparative study which is awfully low in the electoral and representative system. There is no limit in the constitution of Pakistan for women’s participation in politics, but their presence in the political parties and in the political system at the local, provisional, and national levels remains irrelevant due to cultural and structural blockade. In the history of Pakistan, the period of public representative has support democratic forces against their religious counterpart while dictator government has a time and again entered into alliances of suitability with Islamic extremists (S. Ahmed and J. Norris). The matter of sectarian killing in Pakistan is the most regrettable part of the country during 70 years of independence.

Provided that religious parties are used to achieve personal political goals and all political parties working in the country brokered deals with religious parties as part of their electoral politics. Paul Brass explains such practice as the instrumentalist approach. In accordance with his theory, political leaders tend to use traditional society and religious emotions for political gains (Brass 1979). Furthermore, the state could not get rid of the predominant feudal culture till the date. It is the very agonizing realities of the life in Pakistan. The feudal class has not only played a vital role in politics, but also they prove their multiply feudal attitude into the superior social structure of the society.

These feudal are caused endless crises of political instability, armed forces and manipulation of the political system. The growing political cleavages have led to further disintegration of the political system and society’s increasing frustration of the masses. Accordingly, the common people are constrained to give options that are not regarded as before with respect to political stability. Anyhow, the sectarian violence in Pakistan is an Economic element because unemployed and underprivileged segments of society become an easy community of those elements whose agenda needed creating instability in the state. During the last 10 year history of Pakistan, hundreds of people have been assassinated in different cities of Sindh and Punjab like Jhang, Quetta and Karachi screening the outside world the critical nature of sectarian division and violence.

Despite the much claimed tight security measures, some elements tend to prove their capability in continuing sectarian killings in Pakistan. The mosques and other religious places are not secure from these sectarian killings attacks. In the other words, it can be said that the common man is also helpless to episodic act of violence. The alliance between the religious parties and Zia’s government was of greater benefit for the dictator, who had controlled them to get maximum political and strategic mileage for himself. It is very interesting that Zia could not accomplish the expectations of these parties in return as he was disinclined to transfer power to them or implement their agenda (S. Mehmood 1995).

Amber Ferdous explains that social contradictions in Pakistani society have not been so serious and due to this sectarian violence would not have taken a grave rotate. No one debates on religious intolerance. It is needed to understand the basic dynamics of the negative growth in the country. It can be included that extremism was made the main reason of state policies and interference of the establishment in the political structure. Poverty is also a most important and fundamental element of violence. Extremism and political cleavages in the society, and alleviating poverty alone may not be the recipe for solving the issue.

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