One of the most crucial aspects of democracy is the ‘responsible citizenship’; the responsibility for the betterment of a nation upon a common man is what distinguishes democracy from colonialism at the core. The essence of a democratic rule lies in the question, ‘what is your idea of a glorious, prosperous and socially empowered nation?’ a question that democracy asks you every time you march towards the ballot box. A lot of us either opt out from voting in an attempt to sidestep the debate that is bound to arise or cast a vote under the corroding influence of RSS or weakened by the terrors of some military in some other country.
Perhaps, the freedom that is bestowed upon us free of cost, effort and time is what we grow up taking granted. Had we known the freedom struggle of India and Pakistan, irrespective of the variation in severities, we might have been behaving more consciously, resolutely and independently while electing an agenda-less and transparent government. The lands of partition are still whispering the glory of the real heroes who risked their lives to ensure that the future generations get to walk on free lands, have a voice and are enabled enough to nurture their idea of an ideal nation. At the expense of their blood, they established democracies and left the legacy for us to continue. We, the supposed to be involved and appreciative citizens lived through more than 70 years and still vote for a government who manipulates our intellect, make empty promises, is verbally appealing, talks a lot and do a little.
Pakistan elections 2018
In the ongoing elections in Pakistan, Imran Khan, cricketer-turned-politician, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief has declared victory in the general elections by winning at least 116 seats out of 272 National Assembly seats, PTI emerged as the single largest party in the Pakistani lower house of the parliament, Imran Khan managed the political mileage by holding democracy hostage.
Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N), with 64 seats is led by imprisoned former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Brother Shahbaz Sharif and hence lacks the charisma of familiar leadership. Other independent and smaller parties get the hold on 45 of the remaining seats whilst Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won 43 seats.
As gigantic of a win as it sounds, according to PML-N and other small parties, it is an outcome of irregularities in the process of vote counting and is acquired by deliberately portraying PML-N as the antagonist. According to the assessment of the European Union, it appears to be “a systematic effort to undermine the former ruling party (PML-N) through cases of corruption, contempt of court and terrorist charges against its leaders and candidates”.
Amidst violence and political turbulence, millions of Pakistanis painted a picture of resilience as they went out to cast vote with no care of consequence which was a suicide attack in the western city of Quetta. Although there were certain provisions aimed at ensuring free and fair elections, it appears that Pakistanis stood deprived of equality and opportunity in the wake of dirty politics.
Regardless of the allegations of massive vote-rigging that systematically turned the election results in the favour of Khan, PTI emerged victorious in the delayed results of the general elections. Reportedly, election officials blatantly undermined the legitimacy of votes as the nation witnessed an unprecedented delay of two days in the results.
While dismissing the allegations, EC blamed the delay on glitches in the new and untested counting software and assured a result by Friday.
Diluted democracies- Falling for beguiling wordplay
Pakistan could have learned the lesson from India which lectures us on- ‘Why not to vote for the leader who is verbally appealing?’, the history explains how the boldness of the speeches when channelled into actions loses vehemence and the magnificence of the rallies loses its vigour when delivering justice to the innocent. The surface level concern of the government is unveiled when they prioritize a cow over a human life, when mobs seemed to act with impunity since our charismatic and verbally appealing government came to power and when they are out of comebacks on Rafale scam.
Positive changes claimed to be brought by PTI in KPK- Unfolded
- Health projects (Sehat ka Insaf program) – PTI did not change anything on health front as treatment has always been free in KPK hospitals, in fact, it has been free all over the government hospitals in Pakistan.
- Implementation of ‘Right to Information’ bill– No one is authorized to question Imran Khan if one dares to he is thrown out of the party immediately and the party members spill black ink on the faces of those people calling them names.
- Online FIR– Majority of people in KPK ain’t accustomed to the process of an online FIR coupled with the depoliticization of the Police, one is led to the deduction of this being a complete wastage of time and money as the depoliticization eliminates the need of an online FIR.
- Electrical energy generation from gas– All the proposed projects were never launched and those launched were never completed.
- Ehtesab Accountability cell- The commission lacks the officials and stands nearly ineffective despite spending a sum of 520 million on salaries, rent, and furniture for the office.
- Mobile health service– Due to the unavailability of drivers, technicians, and budget for fuel and maintenance, mobile health services worth millions had been sitting idle in Parachinar. Officials said that these services had been abandoned since the day they were brought there.
- Mobile Courts– These courts have been lying non-functional as government delayed legislation.
- Independent and depoliticized police– In the case of DI Khan girl’s naked walk, the police kept supporting Gandapur during the entire case. Only when pressurized by social media, they set the things right. What kind of independence is exhibited by the police here?
And after failing to deliver what had been promised in the past, PTI, at the helm is making new claims and the fancy of which seems to seize the nation.
PTI Chief, IMRAN KHAN-
“The weak are dying of hunger. I will try my best – all of my policies will be made to raise our weaker classes, for our laborers… for our poor farmers, who work all year and get no money … 45 percent of children have stunted growth, they don’t reach the right height, or their brains don’t develop.”
“We will not do any kind of political victimizing. We will establish the supremacy of the law … whoever violates the law, we will act against them.”
“I promise that I will protect the people’s tax money. We will cut all of our expenses. I am telling you here that the PM House, this huge mansion … in a country where there are so many poor people, I would be embarrassed to live there.”
“My point is that what we have seen in Pakistan so far, the way the ruling elite has lived off the country’s taxes, I will end this.”
“We are going to uplift Pakistan’s poor and help our country’s labourers. Corruption has been eating Pakistan like a kind of cancer. We will set an example that the law will be the same for everybody.”
These were the seemingly huge and unassailable claims made by, PTI chief, Imran Khan as he addressed the nation from the capital. Now let the time tell, how many of these statements will condense into actuality and how many promises will turn out to be a political stunt to fancy the probable vote bank. And just in a rare case scenario, if he does live up to these claims, the lesson would be for India to learn this time, precisely the Janata Party.
Mildly assaulted by the system- alarming indifference
A decently wise citizen either silences himself, i.e., surrenders to the system or abstains from voting and neither are overly enlightened ways to live in a democracy, especially in the one which is built upon the blood stains of martyrs.
My questions to the citizens of various democracies are- what happens to your vision of your ideal nation when their propaganda has them rising steadily through the ranks of popularity and fame? When all these governments start well and then go sour, do you not understand the pattern? Blame is not on them, we do not blame the catastrophe, blame is on you, what keeps you from raising an eyebrow, why don’t you screech and scream when the government fails at keeping the very promises that led them to the victory in the first place? Why don’t you insist on transparency when the system is collapsing on the employment, education and protection fronts. If the elected government fails miserably at delivering the basic quality of life that we are entitled to by the virtue of being born on the lands that once bred bravery.
There is an urgency to not retreat when those at the helm, tries to talk us out of our idea of an ideal nation. The urgency for us to acknowledge the command and efficacy of a responsible citizen, the power of our voice when the system abuses our trust, the urgency to fight back when the government dares to tarnish the free and luminous skies with greasy fingers and tries to subconsciously shift our beliefs and approaches, the urgency of querulous resentment when the feigned concern of government attempts to conquer our minds.
The goal is to grip tightly to bravery until the sun boldly climbs the hills again. The goal is to unite the humanity clothed in different languages and religions. 70 years back we did not have a choice, now given a choice, we do not silence ourselves, we ask, request, plead and then snatch what is rightfully ours. It is important to stay woke in the black hours of democracy.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NEWSD and NEWSD does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.