South Asian Studies, Vol 37, No 1 (2022)

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Affinity Networks and Hereditary Succession in the Political Parties and its Impact on the Federation of Pakistan

Sarfraz Batool, Marium Kamal


The political system of Pakistan rests on the principle of federation: powers of decisionmaking are constitutionally divided between parliament and the provincial governments. The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 emphasizes party-based democracy. It demands the practice of democracy within the political parties to promote democratic norms in political culture and to create a conducive political environment to strengthen the federal system in Pakistan. The second important principle of federation is unity in diversity. A political party in a federation is considered as a bridge between the federal government and its federating units having its roots in the general masses across the federating units. It helps the federating units to have a forum to identify, express, and articulate their interests. But the element of hereditary succession and the presence of affinity networks within political parties is weakening the democratic spirit of the federal Constitution of Pakistan. In major political parties, the only merit to elevate to the highest rank in the party is to be the next heir or to be the close relative of the party leader. The culture of hereditary leadership promotes the norms of kinship politics and nepotism where political decisions are made to protect the vested interests of kinship groups at the cost of the more extensive interests of the federation. This paper is based on three sections; the first section deals with the phenomena of hereditary politics in general; the second section deals with the importance of political parties in a federal system and; the third section of the study deals with hereditary succession and affinity networks in political parties in Pakistan and their impact on the federal system. The study used the desk research method to analyze the data under the qualitative approach. Primary and secondary sources are used to collect the data, however, primary data is collected from various internet sources like official websites of FAFEN, ECP, and Dunya news, etc.

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