Political Parties and Political Leaders
Political parties have not worked very well in Pakistan--though not for want of trying: Literally hundreds of political parties have existed during Pakistan's brief history. But, with few short-lived exceptions, such parties have been ineffective in performing the functions usually associated with such institutions--interest articulation, interest aggregation, and policy formulation. Of course, other institutions have taken up the slack; that is, the policy process in Pakistan has typically bypassed political parties, with effective power going to unelected advisers of heads of government, to civil and military bureaucrats, and to the courts.
There are four explanations for such ineffectiveness. The first is personalism. Pakistan's political parties (with the partial exception of the religious parties) have been both the creations and the vehicles of at most a few individuals. When such individuals have died, the parties associated with them have died as well. For instance, the Muslim League dispersed into warring factions after its leader and motive force, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, died in 1948; then it disintegrated after Liaquat Ali Khan's assassination three years later.
Second, political parties in Pakistan have often fallen prey to regionalism. An examination of Tables 10.1-10.6 reveals that political parties have derived most of their strength from limited regional constituencies: the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in Sindh and to a lesser extent in Punjab; the Awami League in East Pakistan; the National Awami Party (NAP)/ Awami National Party (ANP) in Balochistan and North-West Frontier Province; the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad/ Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sharif faction (IJI/PML-N) in Punjab; and the Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz (MQM) in urban Sindh.
A third explanation for the ineffectiveness of political parties in Pakistan is factionalism. This factor is primarily attributable to the operation