The Pildat Report on Internal Democracy of Major Political Parties of Pakistan 2015 concludes that the state of internal democracy of political parties in Pakistan — although not in a good shape the previous year- further deteriorated in 2015.
Pildat’s 2014 report had shown somewhat similar results in that the two weakest indicators were change in top party leadership, lack of credible funding base and audited statement of accounts.
Regular elections, regular change in leadership through election, regular meetings of the Consultative Council (Shura) and the Working Committee (Aamla) and discouragement of dynastic leadership within the party, have apparently favoured the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) rated as the most democratic political party.
A landmark amendment was made in the constitution of the party in October 2015 in which 10 seats have been allocated for women in the party’s Majlis-e-Shura. Although Jamaat follows a particular type of internal democracy in which there are no candidates in party election and election campaign is not allowed, this pecularity has not come in the way of the party securing top position as the most democratic party.
The National Party (NP) (currently led by Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo) has emerged as the second most democratic party of 2015 with an overall score of 47%, which is a significant improvement over party’s 4th position in 2014. Regular change in top leadership since its founding in 2003, party conventions successfully conducted in 2015 in which transparent party elections also took place for all four provincial chapters of the party, and lack of any sign of dynastic leadership have favoured the democratic credentials of NP.
On the other hand, the PML-N has once again ranked as the least democratic party. Irregular or no party meetings, lack of competitive elections and continuation of the same leadership since the founding of the PML-N are the factors perceived as the major weaknesses in the democratic character of the party.
The PML-N is followed by the MQM and the JUI-F, rated as the second least democratic parties among the eight parties evaluated.
The report noted an almost converse relationship between the quality of internal democracy of political parties and their mass popularity. “PML-N, MQM, PPP are popular parties and their weak internal democracy has not come in the way of their mass appeal,” observed Pildat President, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob “Jamaat-e-Islami and the National Party, on the other hand, are rated the most democratic parties but they seem to have a very weak mass appeal.”