Democracy

This time, it’s different; different in so many ways, and all positive. For one, this time, I am going to vote. And so are so many others, who have never felt the need to be a part of this process before. And all credit goes to Khan. Not only has he been able bring out his own supporters in large numbers, he has also forced those in favor of other parties to take the elections seriously, if only to avoid the arrival of the metaphorical Tsunami. Whatever the background, it is heartening to see that we are on our way to becoming a true democracy.

But before we start congratulating ourselves, let’s not forget that we are on our way. We are not there yet. And the first milestone on that path is tomorrow. I would just like to make a few suggestions on the eve of elections. Here is my wish-list.

1. I hope that every single voter in Pakistan gets out to cast his/her vote. We have been idle and indifferent for too long. We need to prove that we are a responsible nation and have learnt our lessons. The silly ideas that a single person’s vote doesn’t matter is a thing of the past now. Single persons make a nation and every one of them counts.

2. As a truly civilized nation, we also have to exhibit tolerance. We are free to vote for whoever we believe is the best for our country. But so is every other voter. No one is perfect and the capacity to endure difference of opinion is the most fundamental quality of a dignified and mature nation.

3. Each one of us has to feel personally responsible to ensure that the voting process is peaceful. That is the biggest test. We have to respect each other and stay calm and composed under all circumstances. Any violence or even misbehavior on anyone’s part can destroy the whole process.

4. When the results start coming in, we must face them properly. If our party or candidate is beaten, accept it with an open heart. And if our party or candidate wins, realize that it is the beginning of an even greater responsibility. No whining and no gloating.

5. Most importantly, let’s not treat the elections like we treat Ramazan. We are all pious and nice for a month, the mosques are filled, but as soon as Ramazan is over, we revert to our ways and wait for the next Ramazan. We must realize that in a democratic nation, the people are the government and we have to keep a check on our representatives for the next five years.

6. Lastly, we must ensure that the democratic process keeps moving. Let’s support whoever comes to power in everything good they do, and criticize whatever bad policies they come up with. But let’s promise never to wish or work for a quick fall of the government.
Good Luck! And may our nation keep moving forward and never look back.

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Imran Khan

Forget about who will win the majority in the next elections. Vote for whichever party or candidate you feel like. Let’s stop the politics for a while.

I want to take a moment to salute one man; a man who fell from a lifter on Tuesday and the whole nation rose in alarm. People from all walks of life, no matter which party they support, or in which country they currently reside, all Pakistanis held their breath and prayed for the Captain. I saw Pakistan unite as a nation.

People crying for him, looks of bewilderment on faces, a fear that they were losing someone too dear to them, Pakistanis in foreign lands praying for him, the scenes were enough to give anyone goose bumps.

And then came his statement from a hospital bed. A person with three broken vertebrae telling the nation “I have done all I could. Now you have to decide.” And that “the people have to exert full force on May 11 to change their lives.” The captain is one of the few Greats Pakistan has produced. And any doubts in anyone’s mind should have evaporated after seeing the events of Tuesday. His faith, confidence, will, stamina and courage are the stuff of legends. And it is heartening to see that we, as a nation, acknowledge that. We can have differences of opinion, we can argue about the credentials of all political parties including the PTI, but when it comes to recognizing a great, we know how to give respect, love and recognition.

The fall and its aftermath gave Imran a chance to show his guts and share his vision with the whole country, as everything came to a halt in Pakistan and when he spoke on a news channel, all were listening. It also gave the people a chance to show him that regardless of whether they support his political party or not, they regard him as the son of Pakistan, and a son to be proud of.

Elections

It is wonderful to see out nation finally getting serious about elections. Thanks largely to the charisma of Khan, a number of groups including women and the educated classes are getting ready to cast their votes. It is refreshing. But I feel a little apprehensive too. I hope we all realize that

1. Every citizen of Pakistan has the right to vote for the candidate or party he likes. Just because someone is voting for a party or person you hate, does not give you the right to question his intelligence or assume that he is a rotten individual.

2. Every person and party is a combination of positives and negatives. So attempting to prove that the one you support is an angel and all the others have sold their souls to the devil is pretty lame and would always land you in an unending, senseless argument.

3. The most important thing at this juncture is that elections do take place and any government that comes to power completes its term. For the first time in our history we have had two consecutive governments that have completed five years in office, we must continue this trend, or we may never get such an opportunity.

4. There are a number of forces bent upon sabotaging the electoral process, we have to take a stand against them and support democracy; our support for any particular party is secondary.

5. Our responsibility does not end with the election results. As a democratic nation, we the people are the true rulers of Pakistan. We have to keep a check on the government and ensure that it works efficiently.

6. We must also ensure that the opposition plays its role and provides constructive criticism of government policies. An opposition that only badmouths the government in an attempt to quicken its downfall is extremely dangerous.

I hope that we mature as a nation quickly and avoid silly, illogical battles that have plagued us for so long.

Oh! How we hate when our minds start working, when they start asking questions, when we begin to question the most fundamental concepts. But we rarely do that, you are thinking? Of course you are right. We hate it so much that we cannot even contemplate the possibility of such an adventure. That is why we are so keen to keep ourselves busy. That is why when we have nothing to take our minds away from the important stuff, we feel restless. That is why we have such feelings as boredom, anxiety, depression.

I might be wrong. But I am going to try and check. I am going to spend the next free time I have not thinking how to make myself busy again. I am going to give my mind the space it so badly needs. I am going to let it loose. And yes, I am a little anxious. What if, as a result, I go crazy? Well, in case I don’t, I’ll have an idea of what this is all about, and if I do go nuts, well…..then you’ll have an idea.