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“Unpacking Alvi’s 7-Points

Qamar Bashir

By: Qamar Bashir

After his retirement as President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Dr. Arif Alvi, following a brief period of hibernation, has proposed a 7-point plan as a starting point for all stakeholders currently at an impasse, unsure of their next moves. However, at this point, the plan is vague and may only gather weight and effectiveness as time passes.

Currently, it raises many questions. For example, while the plan suggests that all stakeholders should come to the table, it fails to specify who these stakeholders are. The biggest stakeholder is the supra-executive, which, although holds de facto power, lacks any legal or constitutional role in purely political matters.

The dilemma is that, de jure, this body is the most ardent, effective, influential, and powerful entity, exercising full control over election results and having the final say in domestic and foreign affairs, as well as business, finance, economy, and investment. Therefore, any political deal without its willing consent and agreement will be a farce, having no real consequence or impact.

The other stakeholders include PML(N), PPP, and MQM. However, the official stance of PTI is that since these parties are beneficiaries of Form 47, PTI will not engage in any dialogue with them. PTI’s second condition for considering them as stakeholders is even more stringent: the return of their “stolen” mandate. Agreeing to this condition would be akin to a death knell for these parties.

The catch is that if the supra-executive body agrees and joins hands with PTI, the governments in the Centre and the provinces of Punjab and Balochistan would collapse like houses of cards—an extremely unlikely scenario. Therefore, if Dr. Alvi is able to persuade his own party to accept his 7-point plan, PTI would need to roll back its narrative of refusing dialogue with PML(N), PPP, and MQM.

His second point is more dramatic, literary and innovative. It says Zoom out, go to the balcony, have a bird’s eye view of the problem, understand the gravity of the situation. It emphasizes the need for a broader perspective on the current political crisis. By advocating for this approach, Dr. Alvi wants stakeholders to gain perspective and move beyond immediate conflicts and narrow viewpoints. For instance, rather than focusing solely on recent disputes, they should consider the historical context and how past political maneuvers have led to the present situation. This broader understanding can help in identifying underlying issues that need addressing, rather than just treating the symptoms of the crisis.

Additionally, Dr. Alvi encourages stakeholders to assess the gravity of the situation and understand the potential long-term consequences if the current trajectory continues. This involves recognizing the broader impact on political stability, governance, and national unity. For example, a failure to resolve the political deadlock could lead to economic instability and diminished public trust in government institutions. By appreciating the full scope of the crisis, stakeholders can better appreciate the urgency and importance of finding a sustainable resolution.

In his second point,  Dr. Alvi calls for strategic thinking and inclusive solutions. He suggests that stakeholders metaphorically “go to the balcony” to step back from the fray, allowing for a more neutral and objective assessment of the situation. This can lead to more effective and impartial solutions. This collaborative approach is essential for addressing complex issues and finding a path forward that benefits the nation as a whole.

Dr. Alvi’s third point emphasizes the necessity of reducing emotions, anger, and egos among the stakeholders involved in the political crisis. He advocates for a more composed and rational approach to problem-solving, where decisions are not driven by personal grievances or heated emotions. For instance, political leaders must set aside their personal animosities and focus on the greater good, engaging in constructive dialogue rather than confrontational rhetoric.

Dr. Alvi’s fourth point is about looking for and building a bridge to the other side underscores the importance of fostering reconciliation and collaboration among political stakeholders. He encourages all parties to view each other not as enemies but as partners in the pursuit of national stability and progress. By promoting a spirit of forgiveness and moving forward with mutual guarantees, stakeholders can overcome past grievances and work together constructively. This involves setting aside past conflicts and focusing on common goals, such as economic development, social welfare, and political stability.

Dr. Alvi’s fifth suggestion is to talk about each other’s fears and handle them and highlight the importance of empathetic communication in resolving political conflicts. He advocates for an open dialogue where stakeholders can express their concerns and anxieties candidly, creating an atmosphere of mutual understanding. For instance, political parties might fear loss of power, public backlash, or economic instability. By openly discussing these fears, parties can better understand each other’s perspectives and motivations, which can help in identifying common ground and developing strategies that address these concerns. This process not only builds trust but also allows for the creation of solutions that are sensitive to the fears and needs of all parties involved, paving the way for a more cooperative and less adversarial political environment.

The sixth point is even more important. The  worst alternative to a negotiated settlement entails prolonged political deadlock, escalating tensions, and potential unrest. Without a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue and compromise, parties may resort to extreme measures such as political sabotage, mass protests, or even violence, leading to further polarization and instability. This scenario not only undermines democratic principles but also poses significant risks to the nation’s social cohesion, economic prosperity, and international reputation. Moreover, failure to reach a settlement prolongs uncertainty, exacerbating investor concerns and hindering much-needed reforms.

The last point concludes once the other six points are complied with. To effectively address the current political crisis, stakeholders must zoom in and focus on solving the underlying issues through proactive and collaborative efforts. This involves engaging in meaningful dialogue, identifying common goals, and exploring pragmatic solutions that address the root causes of the conflict. By prioritizing constructive engagement over partisan interests and ego-driven agendas, stakeholders can foster trust, build consensus, and pave the way for a sustainable resolution. Moreover, zooming in allows for a more nuanced understanding of the specific challenges at hand, enabling stakeholders to tailor solutions that are responsive to the needs and concerns of all parties involved.

The plan is both pragmatic and practical, offering a promising starting point to end the tumultuous period marked by unnecessary egoism and personal agendas. It encourages a shift towards prioritizing the greater national interest—a concept often mentioned but frequently overlooked.

By: Qamar Bashir

Former Press Secretary to the President

Former Press Minister to the Embassy of Pakistan to France

Former MD, SRBC






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