The Existing Circumstances are not conducive for any party as most of the mainstream parties are in disarray.There seems to be no party that may be prepared to contest the upcoming Elections of 2018 with thumping majority.
Even the ruling Party Pakistan Muslim league (N) has been in disarray and disintegration after the sudden disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Panama Papers Case and Hudaibia papers reference. He was disqualified after the Joint Investigation Report Submitted in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The National Accountability Bureau was directed to file references against Ex-PM Nawaz and His Two sons Hassan & Husain Nawaz, daughter Maryam Nawaz and His Son in law Captain Retired Safdar and Current Finance Minister Ishaq Dar -The Father in the law of Nawaz’s Daughter. The Nab Court was tasked to decide the Case in 6 months and announce Sentence under said Rules.
In this connection, the Nab Court served Notices to PM Nawaz, his Two sons, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, His Son in law Captain Safdar and Ishaque Dar the Finance Minister in the Both Cabinets of Former PM Nawaz Sharif and Current PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
The First Notices did not comply and none appeared before the court to prove their Innocence. after Serving the notices Twice, NAB Court convicted the Hassan, Husain, Maryam, Captain Safdar and Nawaz Sharif.
Due to defiance of notices, Court had Issued Non-bailable warrants of Nawaz Sharif’s Children and captain Safdar was arrested at the airport by the Nab authorities and later he was released on bail.
Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif appeared in the Nab court and left for the UK where his Wife Kulsoom was operated for Throat Cancer. According to his party Sources, he Will return to Pakistan in January next year. He has decided not to face the trial after conviction. Ex PM’s Daughter and His Son in law are facing Trial of Panama Papers and Mayfair Flats Issue. The PML (N) also seems to be disintegrated as there have been several intra Party differences especially the question of next party chief as Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif cannot become the party chief after disqualification by Supreme Court in Panama Papers case.
In addition, the Senate has also passed a resolution against its own of. to stop the doors for the disqualified Person to head the political party as earlier the Ruling party had been successful to get the bill passed in Senate to pave the way for Nawaz to head the party. There are also family differences between two brothers i.e Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif as well. Nawaz wants his daughter to head the party whereas some want Shahbaz as Party chief such a situation has further confused Sharif Family.
Furthermore, The arrest of Sharjeel Memon of PPP in 6 billion corruption case by NAB, has further affected the Pakistan People’s Party popularity among the people of Sindh as it has raised the eyebrows of the PPP MNAs and MPAs to change their loyalties and get themselves as the Corruption of billions of rupees unfolds .
The arrest has also sent shock waves to the PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the matter and get efforts to get him released from the NAB.
PPP has been giving the impression that they have been targeted as NAB is aggressive Towards PPP and Flexible towards Nawaz Sharif and His family members. To some extentappeared in their opinion may have weight age as you all know that Nawaz and his family have been left for with Accountability court proceedings even Nawaz Sharif himself absconding from the Trial proceedings against him and his family.
PPP’s state of affairs is further aggravated by Agha Siraj Durrani The Speaker Sindh Assembly who had insulted the Vote in a public gathering sparking a wave of protest against him through Social Media, Electronic and Print Media. People Expressed their anger strongly and condemned his remarks for the sanctity of Vote and its importance. People went to say that PPP has devalued their Vote mandate and they may face challenges in Upcoming Election of 2018 and when they reach out to the people again and seek votes for the candidates.
Even Party’s Co-Chairman Asif Zardari, His Sister Faryal Talpur, and Awais Muzaffar Tappi are also facing corruption charges and soon may be booked for the cases pending against them especially the misappropriation in Development funds, awarding contracts to Bahria Town and selling Properties of millions , China cutting issues , Sale of Jobs and other cases . These high profile figures may soon be in the grip of NAB given to their cases sensitivity.
Thirdly, The Division of MQM into two factions i.e. MQM London and MQM Pakistan has further widened the political vacuum of urban politics as earlier MQM was the major party having urban mandate specially from Karachi and Hyderabad. The Division was caused by Altaf Husain’ Hate speech against Armed Forces and connections with Indian agency Raw which prompted action against the party’s working and the Rangers commandos Raided the MQM Headquarters situated at 90 and arrested several most wanted criminals and seized a large number of sophisticated weapons bullets and other explosive material. The Rangers had also demolished MQM offices and the encroached land was evacuated with help of Rangers.
After such major offensive, MQM Pakistan was born headed by Dr Farooque Sattar. He reconstituted the Coordination Committee to escape action from Rangers.
The Division of MQM into Two factions i.e. London and Pakistan created disarray among the party and the old Party workers and candidates were divided some went in support of MQM London and Some supported the MQM Pakistan under new leadership i.e. Dr Farooque Sattar. The Division also created Space for Rebellious candidates to found a new party.
The Ex-Mayor of Karachi Mustafa Kamal intro Pakistan after self-exile and Established his own party namely Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) and contacted the old companions of MQM to join the new party as MQM was under the influence of Altaf Hussain.
Many Notable figures joined the PSP including Anis Kaimkhani, Raza Haroon, Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Waseem Aftab, Anees Khan advocateAfkhar Randhawa, Bilquis Mukhtar and Hundreds of MQM workers joined the New Party.
The PSP has been termed as fastest growing New Party with many well known and veteran politicians are joining the party prior to Next General Elections of 2018.
Although, the PSP has not fielded any Candidate for either seat of Provincial Seats or National Assembly Seats as it has been newly established party but experts and political pundits are of the view that in Upcoming Elections it may have more seats from urban Population of Karachi and Hyderabad and May give a tough time to MQM Pakistan. The PSP is organizing its District Base throughout the Province of Sindh in order to get support from Interior Sindh.
The PSP has also organized biggest Public gatherings in big cities such as Karachi and Hyderabad and attracted huge number people. The party may take time to get deeply rooted in mainstream politics.
In this whole Process, the PTI seems to be well ahead of all other parties and considered the hot favourite for the upcoming General Elections of 2018, given its current pace and people friendly approach.
It is the only Party that unfolded the PPP-PML (N) Nexus of political turns through a traditional term “Muk Muka” to deceive the people. PTI exposed the corruption of both parties and Staged sit in and carried out long March against the alleged Rigging in the Elections of 2013 in Punjab and how PTI’s mandate law of .
Jamaat Islami is also one of the moderate Islamic Parties which may influence the future Elections of 2018 as its Ameer Mr Siraj Haq has reinvigorated the party as it was in the times of Qazi Hussain Ahmed. Currently, PTI and JI have a coalition Government in KPK.
The efforts are underway by the religious parties to revive the MMA by uniting on the single platform and making the alliance of religious Parties to contest and field the joint and consensus candidates in General Elections of 2018.
In case, MMA is revived then JI may part ways from PTI but if MMA was not revived, then these two parties may remake their alliance in KP, Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan to get maximum seats to form the Central and Provincial Governments.
As PPP has lost its vote bank in Punjab, KP, Baluchistan and PTI have been 2nd biggest Party in Punjab and leading party in KP in the last Election of 2013. Even PTI has won the NA -04 Seat recently.
PTI has been pursuing the expansion policy and they have the presence in all the four provinces including Azad Kashmir. They have got good well-known political figures and some are the Veteran PPP and PML –N stalwarts and their lookout are still on.
According to their party plan, they want to contest every seat in every province of Pakistan -be it Provincial Assembly or National Assembly or Senate.
The Smaller parties such as JUI, ANP, PML Q and PML (F) etc are not in position to clean sweep the election but they may get their seats wherever these have influenced such as JUI in KPK and convicted the ANP in KPK and Karachi, PML (Q) in Punjab and the PML (F) in Sindh .
These Parties will join the coalition of such party that will get the clear majority to form the Government as in Past it is evident from their alliances Especially, MQM, JUI and PML (F) intend to be the part of Govt either at provincial Level or in Central Government.
Although, JUI is a Religious party, yet it has remained coalition partner with PPP and currently in PML (N) led Govt. Similarly, MQM has remained the coalition partner with PPP.
Hence, after a detailed analysis, we have found that PML(N) has been baffled by NAB references, PPP has not organized itself in Punjab, Parties are KP, Baluchistan. PPP may take seats in Sindh especially the areas where it has more influence at home constituencies where PPP backed candidates have been winning for many years such as Larkana, Sukkur, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Dadu, Nawabshah etc.
In this context, PTI is well prepared to sweep the upcoming General Elections as the ground is empty and PTI has to work out on a rigorous Plan to get the majority to form the government.
PTI has upper hand in existing circumstances unless there is any possible deal between the PPP and PML (N) as these two parties are well known to have such secret deals to put dust in the eyes of People as we have seen the friendly opposition in the current government.
PTI should have strong candidates specially in Sindh to provide oppressed people of Sindh with an option to get rid of corrupt PPP that has played with their fortune and swallowed their development budget and even insulted the Votes given by the people of Sindh on basis of votes, they were put in power but in return they have given the dusty and bumpy roads, sewage-filled cities and flooded streets. There is no name of Merit and Jobs are sold like hot cakes in millions of rupees.
In Sindh, to Succeed PTI has to approach the Feudal, landlords Tribal chieftains and Sayeds who make up of 90 percent of MPAs in Sindh along with Minorities. Only, non-corrupt people may be included in the party.
Finally, it all depends upon the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold free, fair and transparent election by Implementing Electronic Voting machines and Biometric Machines to League the chances of rigging and bogus voting.
The Army may be deployed in and outside the polling stations so that law and order situation may be improved. The Polling stations may be linked through GIS system so that polling locations may track through GPS.
The Upcoming Government will have to address the issue of Load shedding if left unresolved by current regime , Economy, IMF loan Repayments, Terrorism Issue, Governance, Education and Health Sector Improvement and More Importantly to devise an effective foreign Policy of Pakistan on basis equality where the nation may not be forced to do more despite doing enough and having rendered unlimited sacrifices in fighting Terrorism .
The Governance And Inflation Conundrum
The Existing situation presents a bleak outlook for Pakistan as the continuous Governance Crisis and Rising Prices especially Petroleum Prices, have made the Life of ordinary men Miserable. The Growing political Vendetta and intolerance have polarized politics to the extent that even positive criticism invites violence breaking all social and cultural norms and Crossing all the limits of Humanity.The deepening economic crisis has exposed the government’s efficiency within two months’ tenure.
The IMF’s strict conditions ask for putting a levy on Petroleum Prices, raising Gas and ElectricityTariffs costing heavy for common people but the Government, on the other hand, seems non-serious on the Inflation issue as within two months of their coalition regime, they have raised the petroleum prices over 100 per Liter that has jolted the working-class especially public transport operators, Rickshaw Drivers and other Market players such as Uber, Careem, InDriver and Bykea etc.
All the business operators are complaining that the rising Inflation and Petroleum prices have affected their businesses miserably. They have raised the prices of their rides and people have limited choices to travel from one place to another, and have nothing than cursing the current coalition Government with the inclusion of tested and Tried corrupt politicians who have dynastic roots in politics and major players of corruption and misappropriation. They have been facing corruptioncases and some of them have remained behind the bars in corruption cases.
That is the main reason to have a clean chit, the government took the steps to curtail the NAB Powers by amending the NAB ordinance and Electoral Reforms Bill, rejecting the use of EVMs in upcoming elections and depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right of casting votes.
Unfortunately, the corrupt and criminal people amended NAB laws to provide relief to Nawaz Sharif, His Sons, Asif Zardari, Khursheed Shah and several other black sheep who have been looting the Public money for decades and have not left any effort in making Pakistan a bankrupt country, unlike Sri Lanka.
The ouster of PTI’s Government in Center through the No-confidence Motion has created a very uncertain situation where people are concerned that what will happen shortly as the current government has been tasked to keep dropping Petrol, Gas and Electricity bombshells on the public having no sense or feeling that how the labourers, Salaried Persons and workers earn their livelihood to feed their family as daily use items prices are touching the sky. Even the average person cannot purchase a flour bag or Gheepouch.
On the other hand, the PTI leader adopted the narrative that there were foreign hands involved in the ouster of his PTI-led coalition government waving the letter. Hence the claim has not been proved with evidence.
US involvement in Pakistan’s power politics is not new, the murder of Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, PM Liaquat Ali Khan and the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto are examples that show the US silenced anti-US voices to maintain its hegemony in the region.
It has been our political norm that whoever comes into Government alwayscriticizes the previous regimes and holds them responsible forall the mess that we witness today. They never revisit the steps that have broken the waist of common men. Whenever asked why the petrol, Gas and Electricity prices have been raised every week, the reply comes very irritatingly and insensible that it was essential to raise the fuel prices since there was an agreement with IMF by PTI Government.
Therefore, to get the stalled Tranche from IMF, we are compelled to comply with the conditions to get the tranche released at the earliest to escape the shrinking balance of payments issue.
Inflation has hit lower-income level people very badly. The purchasing power of an average person has dropped extensively making their lives miserable. The state is like a mother but here, unfortunately, the mother is acting as a stepmother having no sense of love, care, feeling or sympathy.
It can easily be inferred from the incumbent Government’s tactics that they got the power to get rid of the cases registered during the PTI regime and make such electoral reforms that could favour them in the upcoming election for stopping the entry of a new political force or PTI.
They are well aware that if the PTI or Other political force won the election and formed the Government with a simple majority or with the help of allies, they will try to deliver and fix the economy to the point where they won’t need financial assistance from any state including IMF Program.
Pakistan needs visionary leadership and a team of Professional Economic Experts to steer the country from the existing depreciation of the Rupee against the Dollar, rising fuel prices and daily use items so that it may progress.
Pakistan does not need the capitalists, Feudal Lords, Choudhry’s, Sardars, Peers and Mirs as legislators but it requires highly Educated, sincere and honest elected representatives having leadership qualities who can restore its former grandeur. Today we have to make the resolve that we have to liberate our country from foreign liability and external debts that have compromised our sovereignty. If we did not resolve the issue of external debt, IMF may put a condition to roll back the nuclear program that has been our biggest deterrence and balance of power tool against our enemies.
Being Pakistani, it hurts our sentiments when our enemy, India criticises Pakistan if it begs for financial assistance from Saudi Arabia, China, or UAE, how will it demand Kashmir’s freedom.
Pakistan needs to break this begging bowl as Allah has blessed it with all ingredients that can be found in any developed state i.e. Sea Ports, the Best riverine system,Minerals,Gas, Oil,Agriculture etc., but it lacks the visionary leadership that can transform the country into a developedstate. Pakistan should adopt the economic Model that suits its income level. The country cannot be run on IMF Program.
The Government should focus on Education,Health,Infrastructure, employment creation and especially the promotion of Tourism.
Switzerland, Malaysia,UAE, Singapore, Indonesia and UK earn billions of dollars from the tourism Industry, Pakistan needs to explore these sectors so that it can earn passive income. Dubai earns billions from the tourism industry as everybody knows Dubai is desert and tax-free but still earns from Tourism and Industries.
The tax-free status will also help promote the set up of the automobile industry, Textilesetc that will create jobs for Youth. The Skill development programs must be devised so that same may place talent in jobs.
We love Pakistan as it is our homeland, we have to set aside all our differences and made serious efforts to take this country out of the crisis,As our parties, our designation, portfolios,and Identity rest with our country so we have to put Pakistan first than our priorities. Furthermore, the poor must be saved and fuel prices should be slashed importing oil from Iran and Russia as these countries have abundant fuel reserves.
All the institutions should work within their limits and don’t attempt to usurp or interfere in the affairs unless required in National interests. Pakistan should adopt a neutral or Independent foreign policy and avoid playing any role in other countries since we have already paid a huge price for the so-called war on terror and have given sacrifices to our Valiant Soldiers, civilians and children’s APS attack.
Pakistan’s valiant forces should not bedragged into political affairs as they have played their pivotal role in maintaining peace and security having given several sacrifices for the defence of the country.
Finally, all the parties must display their political maturity and work together to get the country out of crisis- be it PML N, PPP or PTI. These three mainstream parties have a bigger role to play to find a lasting solution to Water Crisis, Gas and Electricity load shedding, Overpriced Petrol and making serious efforts to bring the daily food items prices down even offering subsidies to facilitate the masses.
Pakistan has great potential to become an Asian Economic Tiger given its resources and strategic Importance provided that a positive, cooperative, collaborative and tolerant approach should come forward to put the economy on growth on track by bringing reforms.
If there is no political consensus possible then Fresh General Election is the only option to resolve the existing issues as the right to vote will empower the People to elect the best Political party to take the reins of the country and start the journey to the development.
The Big cities Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Multan, and Rawalpindi should be revamped and modern facilities should be provided so that Tourism Industry and Job creation process may be expedited.
It is hoped that all the parties andInstitutions will come on the same page and debate and discuss a possible solution to prevent the country from defaulting. The blame game should stop now. Let’s make Pakistan self-sustained and economically stable to develop by leaps andbounds. Let the institutions work in their domain without usurping or interfering in others’ domain .
Pakistan’s top priority now: Inclusive political transition
The political landscape in Pakistan has changed dramatically. Imran Khan is out of the hot seat and Shahbaz Sharif is in from the cold. The government and opposition have reversed roles – as have Khan and Sharif, from prime minister to opposition leader and vice versa. The big question is how this political role-flip will play out. Even though Khan and his party legislators lost not just the government but also quit the National Assembly in a huff, the former ruling party will remain the principal political opposition outside parliament. Khan and Sharif will have to deal with each other whether they like it or not.
The litmus test of the success of the role reversal will be if relative political stability is achieved over the next few transition months. After all, it is political instability that has triggered this role reversal. If Pakistan’s political tradition is any guide, this will be easier said than done. Both Khan and Sharif want a full five-term – the former immediately and the latter after getting the country ready for elections which may take several months. Both the opposition and the government in their reversed roles will still be dictated by their instincts about each other – bitterness will be hard to let go of at least in the short term as accusations of ineptitude and non-cooperation are flipped.
Whether new national elections happen on time as scheduled in late summer next year or within this year, both sides are expected to challenge each other politically. But if political stability is a priority – it is critical to economic stability, which is precarious – then stability will only come through a healing touch from the government. Sharif in his maiden speech in parliament has extended an olive branch by offering to establish a commission to remove misgivings of an alleged conspiracy to topple the previous government, but Khan’s party has rejected this off-hand.
The new coalition government – dominated by Sharif’s party but including otherwise traditional political rival parties of Bilawal Bhutto, Fazlur Rehman, Maqbool Siddiqui and others, should theoretically have less imperative to practice vindictive politics like their predecessor. Khan’s party, however, is hurting and angrier than before, for having lost out a make-or-break political fight and is looking to undermine the new replacement dispensation. Indeed, Khan is about to launch a public mobilization campaign to whip up support for immediate elections.
A consensus will allow an issue-based manifesto-driven political campaign for the next elections rather than bitter polarizing personality-centred politics that have ended up costing Khan his majority in parliament.
To navigate this treacherous transitional political terrain, the Sharif government must go beyond offering to settle conspiracy theories and instead float a more tangible offer of collaborative election planning, to allow the new opposition a role in reducing polarization. It helps that the new government is not here to rule for a long time – Sharif intends to clear the politico-legal path to new elections over the next several months.
A key element of any transition from being enemies to being frenemies – essentially a working relationship while remaining political rivals – will be collaborative transition management of a mutually agreed minimum agenda that both Khan and Sharif and their allies covet. Since new elections are sought by both sides, agreeing to a transition agenda of fair elections and some semblance of economic stability must be worked out.
Collaborative strategization and management of the political transition will be key to a new era of political stability. This must start with Sharif reaching out to Khan to jointly develop a charter of legal and political reforms aimed at expanding ownership and legitimacy for both sides for the pre and post election periods.
Such a common agenda of political reforms and economic recovery can work best if both sides agree that they don’t become over ambitious politically and agree to only focus on electoral and other legal reforms that can strengthen legitimacy of elections. They should also agree to not undertake any other radical decisions and leave them to the three-month neutral caretaker government – mandatory under Pakistani law – which can instead prioritize economic recovery initiatives.
Such a consensus will allow an issue-based manifesto-driven political campaign for the next elections rather than bitter polarizing personality-centred politics that have ended up costing Khan his majority in parliament thanks to an exclusionary style of politics alienating even his own party legislators, some of whom have refused his advice to resign from parliament.
Inclusion and common ground are the answers to Pakistan’s current political morass. Pursue détente, agree on a common minimum electoral reform agenda, operate within the confines of the law, throw away the rear-view mirror and look ahead. Graduate from being enemies to frenemies.
Social Media and Polarization of our Society
Social Media has witnessed a mushroom growth that has impacted the discourse of political, cultural and religious systems by providing the equal opportunity of freedom of expression and of sharing an opinion or viewpoint on any issue.
Social Media has played a greater role in right-wing politics that paved the way for populist politicians to reach out to their voters.
Though Social Media has connected the people around the world, at the same time, it is causing division or disintegration and facilitating the social media lobbyists to polarize the communication so much the people support the arguments or opinions or political tirades against leaders without fact checking.
The world has been rocked by social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube because the users of these social networks have already surpassed millions and are growing, but due to the limited regulatory framework, fake news, cyberbullying, extremism and terrorism has reached new heights.
The influencers’ interactions with social media users have polarized the political and social circles that led to the formation of online echo chambers, a tactic of social media recommendations by politicians to influence the users to strengthen their narrative regardless of facts that whether it is right or wrong, but it is knit in a manner that echo chambers appear to be normal for the people thus changing the way of thinking and increasing the supporters base.
The echo chambers post such content that we enjoy a lot while reading, while keeping us away from the content that may stir a debate or arguments or expression of our disagreement over certain social, economic, religious, cultural or policy matters.
The echo chambers keep ideas flowing on a regular basis to the one side –the positive side of the argument, while its negative side is deliberately concealed to hide the facts.
This is the big issue that might be discussed with students, who should be informed and taught at school, college or degree level so that positive and constructive use of this digital medium could be ensured.
Social media connectivity around the world is undoubtedly amazing but the problems it created for both people and students are very dangerous, and need to be addressed and regulated.
Digital media, especially social media, for a long time remained unbridled to post any content that may fall in the purview of hatred, racism, bullying, derogatory remarks, character assault, rebellion, or anti-state elements instigating people to create chaos using the olive branch of social media. Since it was not monitored given the type of content being circulated and the information of people posting such content, including their motives behind such content as may have a constant flow of information that is recommended by the users pretending to be professionals, experts and mentors.
Alarmingly, people without fact-checking go on sharing the content and thus creating hype for such an issue as does not have a basis and was the result of a conspiracy to exert pressure on some person or leaders to get some favours.
“The schools and colleges should chalk out the initiative to create awareness and practice of fair use so that social platforms should not post single or one-sided opinions or arguments but should welcome both so that positive use could be ensured. This will further the importance of social media.“
Sometimes, the active echo chambers or volcanoes erupt over such issues as may be beneficial for the wider circle of society, but this finds serious criticism masterminded by people with an individual approach. They term it detrimental for them since it did not serve their interests, though it might have been beneficial for general people.
Humans have an intuitional inclination to communicate with like-minded people or the people with the same choices on social media, thus the echo chambers get even stronger. The discourse that discourages dissenting voices always comes under fire from the thinkers and intellectuals of the nation since it is tantamount to concealing the facts from the people.
The world is coming closer after the covid-19 pandemic that engulfed the entire world, bringing misery and economic crisis. The social media debates go with biased and unbiased approaches regarding getting the vaccine. Some optimists termed it great, while some pessimists or biased approaches raised questions.
The echo chambers try to influence their opinions and win support.Similarly, echo chambers of both Democrats and Republicans only canvassed for their candidates but the leaders instigated the masses to attack Capitol Hill through social media and emotional speeches using their influence on social media, especially Twitter .
Some researchers have found that echo chambers influence people to win support but social media influencers have a follower-base of millions, and may polarize the public and politics, since influencers share success stories like internet marketers compelling you to buy their products.
The opinion leaders and experts reveal that for the last two decades, the percentage of American people having consistently holding liberal or conservative beliefs— rather than a blend of the two, which is the case for most people— has increased from 10 percent to over 20. Beliefs about the other side are becoming more negative creating an alarming situation.
Since 1994, the number of people who see the opposing political party as a threat to “the nation’s well-being or security” has doubled, which heralds how deepening polarization has predictable results raising eyebrows.
The government shutdowns, violent protests, scathing attacks on elected officials, the capitol Hill incident –all indicate that social media have been polarizing the political system and divided the nation each passing day due to echo chambers of both mainstream parties regarding the issues of health, security, human rights, employment and environment.
According to evidence from empirical research conducted on US politicians, politicians following extreme ideologies attracted a larger public audience than those who were moderate, which is the real example of echo chambers.
Usually, messages containing extreme thoughts, emotional instigation, patriotism, or criticizing the opposition received a warm welcome on social media platforms than those messages reflecting merely information.
The polarization of issues and political ideology will have serious repercussions in future that should be addressed on a timely basis so that societies could be saved from further isolation and disintegration.
The issues could be resolved through educating the people and creating awareness about the fair and professional use of social media channels for advocacy for winning support for legislation, an issue, a policy or employment.
Instead of showing the dark side of the issue, we have to educate people regarding both pros and cons of matters of importance for the general public rather than misleading the people with biased approaches to oppose the initiative of the government, community or civil society for the general benefit.
Social Media network operators are the bigwigs and the most influential in this.They cannot be controlled but only be regulated by framing such laws that may ensure fair use of this digital platform and are careful so that users may not face any legal issue by discussing sensitive issues such as desecration of holy places, religions, personalities, anti-state tirades, rebellion, terrorism, extremism and so on. The sensitive issue may stir protests and cause legal proceedings, if the cyber-regulatory laws are implemented to discourage the influence of one-sided opinions or campaigns.
We cannot deny the importance of social media platforms as they provide equal opportunity to people to express and share their thoughts or opinions, but safe and thoughtful use of these platforms will encourage healthy discourse and prove pivotal in promoting dialogue to discuss social, economical and cultural issues peacefully without hitting the sentiments of other communities.
Thus, echo chambers will be less powerful to build a narrative that is appealing but the readers will be engaging themselves in the debates that need interaction.
Undoubtedly, social media platforms have changed the political and social approach of the people and enabled face-to-face digital interaction through video and audio conference calls, so their fair use will mitigate their cons manifold.
The social media networks apply algorithms to connect you with like-minded people but it is up to you whether your engagement in communication is either unbiased or biased.
Social media should be promoting positive discourse to explore the political and economic solutions to the problems of people by reflecting the two sides of the coin so that the discourse be constructive and problem-solving. Social media has given a voice to marginalized people and governments are compelled to resolve the issues of people on a priority basis due to trending topics of social media.
Even the populist leaders may face resistance from social media as the public makes the most of the freedom of expression and criticizes the role of politicians for their failure to address the issues of the public.
In recent times, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have been creating history in highlighting issues of both public and national interest but at the same time such platforms have been taken by storm by those influencers who continue to feed the news about their vested interests and create psychosocial hype for any issue that may jolt the power corridors of Government.
The politicians always take to Twitter for their precise viewpoint and policy debate and are usually followed by millions of followers. Even the print and electronic media take the tweets as policy statements or the narrative of some party or group.
The schools and colleges should chalk out the initiative to create awareness and practice of fair use so that social platforms should not post single or one-sided opinions or arguments but should welcome both so that positive use could be ensured. This will further the importance of social media.
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