In the days to come, the people of Pakistan have to seriously consider whether they should exercise their right to vote in the elections or not, as there seems no respite for them after completion of the electoral process.
I have always been a staunch supporter of the right to vote, as I know the importance of a vote for a democratic system and also propagated this from time-to-time, but sadly, the country’s shabby political situation during the last several decades has made me ponder over it.
No one can deny the significance of a vote, as countries have seen positive outcomes, but in Pakistan, the situation is contrary to that because the things went worse for the people after every vote count.
There are three categories of people; the first is of those who always refused to exercise their right to vote, saying nothing will change; the second category is of those who decry the lack of achievements by the parliamentarians; and the third category of them is of those people who are frustrated by the discriminatory laws and regulations imposed by the government.
General elections in a country is of utmost importance, as the people cast votes to support those politicians who, they think, will put the country on the path of progress and prosperity, but in Pakistan, to their astonishment.
“Politics – I still think it’s a bunch of liars and a bunch of self-interest. It’s not about the people: it’s about themselves and their rise to power. They are voting on things based on whether they will have the support of the people when they vote next time. “I believe in this. I don’t care what happens.” (Shawn Corey Carter, known professionally as Jay-Z, stylised as JAY-Z, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and record executive).
Pakistan has witnessed both democratic and dictatorial rules since its inception in 1947, and, of this period, around 36 years have been spent under the dictatorial regimes. The country has also seen historically low voters’ turnout in the past. After returning to democratic system in 2008 and successfully going through the transition period since then, Pakistan is still a fragile democracy.
Coming back to the main issue, voters’ turnout is improving with each election being held in the country, but the losing side always complained about rigging, either during voting, or in votes counting.
I myself am one of the complainants, as during the 2008 elections, when I reached the polling station to cast my vote, I was surprised to see that the vote of my father, who died in 2006, was already casted. When I complained about the issue with the polling staff, they turned deaf ears and insisted that I should cast my vote and leave. This is one case, but there must be many other such cases too, which remained unreported.
Such incidents are sheer negligence on the part of the authorities concerned, as it not only create imbalance in the affairs of the government, but also fade away the sanctity of peoples’ vote.
“The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.” (Henry Charles Bukowski, German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer)
Let us not confuse a government that caters to billionaires and elite political operatives with a government that is responsive to the people. Most Pakistanis simply have no power to exercise over the government that creates the laws we live under.
Despite being dumped by the people in command, I will continue to fight for my right to vote and never walk away. This is the best I can do to bring change in our electoral system, and I will wait for the day, when my dream of having a voice, comes true. I will also wait until the hierarchy acknowledges me as a patriotic Pakistani with the right to speak without any fear, disagree vehemently, and love my country passionately.