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‘‘Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression and persecution of other’’ John F. Kennedy
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has endorsed the qualities of tolerance and moderation as the signs of strength. He (PBUH) in his teachings has stressed several times on the promotion of these qualities in society but unfortunately, today we are experiencing the severe lack of tolerance and moderation in every aspect of social life including politics. In political arena, tolerance and moderation should be the prime characters of every political worker, as politics deals with state affairs. Similarly the presence of both these qualities in any person often leads him to wisdom.
The need and importance of tolerance and moderation in politics can be viewed from two dimensions, that is, its need in state’s internal political system and its importance in global political arena.
Within state’s political realm, the need and importance of tolerance and moderation have been discussed in detail in the following paragraphs.
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Political leader in any society act as a role model for his workers and followers. Workers and fans usually copy their leader and role model. If the leader has more aggressive attitude and he criticize government and its policies more fiercely, then the workers will adopt the same attitude and the clash of his followers with the government’s bodies and opposition workers is more likely to happen. This could result in the death of several workers and the destruction of infrastructure. So it is necessary that every political guru must have the guts of forbearance and self-control. If he has to criticize the government for policies and actions, he must do it harmoniously. This will not only pave the ways for development but will also help the government to recheck its policies.
The need of tolerance and moderation in some internal political issues, especially those containing the sentiment of nationalism and national discrimination, becomes more important as in such matters a little intolerance on the part of any group could lead to a national disaster. The famous example of such incident in the history of Pakistan political system is the fall of Dhaka in 1971. The political leaders of that time did not handle the situation effectively, which ultimately resulted in the disintegration of the united Pakistan. Thus, in such delicate political issues, tolerance and moderation are the only available tools for pacifying the general masses.
Another downside of the lack of forbearance and self-control in politics is that such practices can negatively affect our social norms. The use of vulgar language in public debates and news conferences by the political leaders is unfortunately very common in the political system of Pakistan these days. Similarly personal attacks on each other by using gross dialect by the political leaders and workers has created such a situation that now genuine problems looks fabricated and are realized by the politicians only after a great loss. The example of this is the illness of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, which was declared fabricated by most of the political workers of the country.
In politics the need and importance of tolerance and moderation increases as politics deals with statesmanship. Any wrong decision or action of the political leader may take the state to the brink of destruction and collapse. Similarly peace and stability in any state is directly linked to the level of forbearance and self-control of both the people and leaders. For development and prosperity of the state, peace and stability is important.
Politics on international level is not different from that of state’s internal politics. Thus the need and importance of tolerance and moderation remain the same in conducting political affairs at the global level. The importance of the need of forbearance and self-control in international politics can be understood from the following facts.
In dealing with the neighbor states on political bases, it is utmost important for the political leaders that they should remained optimist all the time and conduct all the political work in a good mood. In international political arena, neighbor states play an important role. They can be either first hand of each other in the event of a disaster or be worst enemy of each other, depending upon their relations with each other. For keeping friendly relations with all the neighbor states, politicians on both sides must have guts of tolerance and moderation.
Disputes among states often arouses due to the lack of tolerance and moderation on the part of officials who conduct meetings and political talks. In such scenario, leaders of both the states are often involved in blame game and are not ready to look into their actions and show tolerance and moderation in their behavior. This attitude of leaders sometimes results in the suffering of thousands of people. One of the famous examples of this is Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India.
The presence of these two qualities also sometimes forces leaders to step forward for solving the mutual issues through talks and diplomacy and not through the use of military strength.
The intolerance of leader in international political affairs sometimes results in the suffering of its people. The famous example of such behavior of the leader and its effects on the general public is that of North Korea.
Not only this, tolerance and moderation also helps in the spread and promotion of peace and stability globally. International peace and stability is only possible if states and leaders behave rationally and if leaders opt diplomacy instead of the use of military power for solving an issue.
Due to repeated marital law imposition and non-serious efforts of the political leaders of Pakistan for the development of a strong political culture in the society, the political system of the country, despite of passing more than seven decades of independence, is still passing through the transition phase. The use of vulgar language by the political leaders and workers against each other and the often show of intolerance in public debates by the political leaders are some of the common negative features of the political system of Pakistan. But due to the successful transfer of political power from one political faction to another over the past ten years, some major changes have been observed in the political trends of the country. Political analysts are therefore hoping some major positive changes in the political system of the country over the course of next five to ten years.
To conclude in the light of above discussion it becomes clear that tolerance and moderation should be an integral part of the behavior of a political leader. The world has already observed the calamities of intolerant and immoderate behavior of the political leaders in the form of Two World Wars and it is believed that the Third World War, if fought, will eliminate the human race from the surface of the earth due to the presence of sophisticated technology. Therefore the avoidance of this calamity and the promotion of peace and stability in the world are therefore possible only with such behavior of the political leaders that is full tolerance and moderation.