The lack of ideology has ruined politics in our times. The end of cold war not only made the world uni-polar it also seriously eroded the ideological frontiers. The menace of corruption has spread all over. It is the era of the free market combined with economic strangulation of the weak. Turncoats or ‘Lotas’ now dominate the political scenario to ensure the rule of status-quo.

Democracy is in decline mainly because of the menace of political turncoats who in the absence of ideology jump from party to party in search of greener pastures. In UK where parliamentary democracy was born the Tories or Conservatives were right of center while the Labour Party was left. Now they have both moved to the middle, the ideological boundaries no longer exist. The same is true of USA, where both the Democrats and Republicans have become supporters of the status-quo.

Pakistan’s democratic struggle was ably led by the Quaid who was the President of the All India Muslim League. The Red Shirts or National Awami Party (NAP) was led by the Pro-Congress leader Ghaffar Khan. In the historic referendum the people of the North West Frontier Province (now KPK) voted for Pakistan. There was an ideological divide between the two parties. Muslim League was a centrist party that believed in a strong central government whereas NAP was left of center and supported provincial autonomy.

As both parties were driven by an ideology there were hardly any turn-’coats. Each respected the other’s political viewpoint. Corruption was widely contained. Anyone who tried to cross the floor was looked down upon and ostracised from the political arena. Political heavy weights like Hussian Shaheed Suharwardy left the Muslim League to start his own Awami League and continued to follow his ideological beliefs. He could not jump from a centrist to a leftist party; such a transformation was unheard of.

Turncoats are basically disloyal individuals; their loyalty revolves around narrow self-interests. For them party hopping is a norm not exception. It is for this reason. It is widely believed that “Once a Lota always a Lota”. Somehow Lotacracy is linked with in-competence and lack of performance otherwise individuals rise within the party ranks. Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman was an ordinary worker of Suharwardi’s Awami League. He then rose to be the party president and then father of Bangladeshi nation.

Dr. Mubashir Hasan was a Professor of Civil Engineering at UET Lahore. He joined Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s (ZAB) Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and rose to be its Secretary General. In the 1970 elections he polled the highest number of votes. Till today he is associated with PPP (SB), lives in the same house and drives the same car.

Abdul Hafiz Kardar joined ZAB’s PPP in 1969. He was elected MPA from Lahore in 1970 elections. He rose to become the Education Minister at the time when schools were being nationalized and the department grew manifold. After the 1977 disputed elections, he advised for immediate re-election. When his advice was overruled he decided to resign which was then followed by Aitzaz Ahsan’s resignation. Kardar Sahib did not join any other party and retired with his self esteem intact. Aitzaz is still in the party and continues to be an important player. Currently he is a Senator and was Interior Minister in the Benazir government. Kaptaan himself has solid credentials of political struggle. He launched his movement for justice in April 1996. He has brought honesty and integrity to politics, which is a rare trait in our times. His party represents an ideology of change and is perhaps the only ideological movement in the arena today.

Since December 2011 turncoats have tried to control this ideological party of change as such there is great resistance to their ways from within. Most management gurus believe that it is almost impossible to change the culture of an organization. PTI was built on the foundations of giving not taking which is totally opposite to the turncoat philosophy of vested self-interests and political survival. That is why all bases are covered to ensure goodies. If the brother is in PTI the brother-in-law will be in PML (N) and uncle in PPP to avail continuity of influence.

PTI is a party of change there is no room for takers and exploiters in its fold. It is like fitting a square peg into a round hole. In other words there is no room for turncoats. It is also widely believed that adult changes are also very difficult as a lot of un-learning is involved. Learning is relatively easy that is why performance not position is evaluated. Usually individuals are put through a process of self-evaluation with standard question being: List your top five achievements on the position previously held. Most turncoats fail this test because they boast of position only and cannot back up the claim with accomplishments.

Though change is inevitable but it is not easy to accomplish as the forces of status-quo are well entrenched. A lot of resistance has to be overcome for which grit is required which the turncoats do not possess as it is much easier to compromise and move up the ladder then to dig in and fight. As a Muslim League child it is painful to admit that this party has been the mistress of dictators and the hatchery of turncoats. Since 1985 it has produced hoards and hoards of these beasts who continue to contaminate the politics of the country. Quaid rightly said, “Knowledge without character, worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles, Leadership without integrity will destroy us.” As turncoats possess nothing of the above characteristic they should be shelved for all times to come for the sake of Pakistan.