December 8, 2010

We want change, but we won't vote!

The morally legitimate election process is the only right
way to proceed. (Photo:
I asked a friend at university today if she'll vote in the next general elections. Hers was a standard reply: No, votes don't make any difference in this country. I then proceeded to ask her if there was any politician she supported and she said she supported Imran Khan. I then asked her whether she cribs about how pathetic the government is, how corrupt Zardari is, and how wretched our whole system and she said yes; she does all of that. I then asked her who gave her the right to criticize the system when she couldn't be bothered to go and vote?  Who gave her the right to bash Zardari when she did not vote against him? Who gave her the right to crib and cringe when she couldn't be bothered to go out and vote for the change? That left her open-mouthed but she did manage to rebound by stating that Imran Khan did not take part in the 2008 elections or else she would've voted. Well kudos to Imran Khan for being the most emotional man on the planet for refusing to be a part of the electoral process.

This mentality that my friend exhibited permeates the mindset of every Pakistani. We expect everything to happen on its own, without even moving a muscle. The fact however is nothing happens that way. Flies come and rest on stuff that refuses to move or is unable to. Why do we blame the Pakistani nation which goes to vote for the feudal landlords, their tribal heads, or their caste members and elects them to the Parliament? They are the poor, naked, eager and sad people of this country. You offer them a morsel of food in exchange for a vote, and they take the deal without thinking about what the next day will bring. But we are the educated people of this country aren't we? Or so we claim. Why don't we go out and vote for the politicians we know will bring about a good change? Why is it that Imran Khan is so popular, yet he is the only ONE man who is elected to the Parliament from his entire political party?

Some days ago, a news appeared in the daily Dawn which stated that a nationwide survey by the students of LUMS had been conducted from approximately 1000 students (youth) of Pakistan. The astonishing point of interlocution however was that the study concluded that the youth of Pakistan wanted change in the form of midterm elections. Now I don't know how many of the students of Pakistan want a midterm election, but I am totally against the notion of midterm government change. Besides, if the results are true then this is a hypocritical notion from the outset. Change should only come through a proper political process, one that involves all the actors; not through the whims of the people who only sit on their asses all day long and crib.

Despite absolutely hating the present PPP government from the bottom of my heart, with its narcissistic leaders, and utterly stupid front men/women (Babar Awan, Firdaus Ashiq Awan, Fauzia Wahab), I still want it to complete its mandated term which is set to expire in 2013. Why do I want that? Well because I have a theory, and that theory says that in order for the infantile democracy of Pakistan to flourish, for accountability, answerability and responsibility on the part of the rulers to spread, and for the people of Pakistan to become aware of the power of their vote, it is necessary to let the wheel of democracy roll. If we don't do that, or if we allow a midterm governmental change, all the effort spent trying to oust a dictator will have been for nought. People will go on believing might is right; the policies that define the fate of Pakistan will continue to be moulded inside the hallowed walls of GHQ instead of the Parliament, and the national character of Pakistan will continue to be a living testament of utter revulsion.

Letting the government's ship sail adrift is the only way if we want a change for the better. Now I know there are people in this country who believe democracy is a farce, and the government in place is a Western agenda. These are also the people who believe in conspiracy theories, and who proclaim Pakistan is the most powerful country in the world. While these maybe noble sentiments, they are hardly cognizant of the realistic situation on the ground. The cogent area of defining the fates of the 170 million Pakistanis is to let the status quo prevail, no matter how fractured it may appear because that is the only way that will allow us to heal our wounds. You see once the people start realizing that the influence the stick wielders have over us is solely based on the basis of our votes, we will naturally gain the upper hand in this historical conundrum that Pakistan is faced with.

We've spent three years under this government, and only two are left. It needs to be given credit for holding out so long amidst a barrage of insinuations, mudslinging, allegations of corruption, nepotism and a general sense of abandonment of the country. With the WikiLeaks recent disclosures about how much the politicians of Pakistan bend over backwards and lust after power, let's add that to the list as well. But the important question is: How many of us are actually going to cast the votes that will eventually rid us of these baboons?