Red, White and Black

Right to Vote : time to make use of it
14 October, 2006, 12:23 am
Filed under: Pakistan, Politics

The 2007 Elections are coming up in just about an year’s time. Earlier, I had written about the lack of political activism in Pakistan. Now is the time to rectify that deplorable trend, at the very least the time to initiate the process. In Pakistan we have had abysmally low turn out rates – the last elections saw electoral participation at a mere 30%!

With the voting age being brought down to 18 years around 50% of Pakistan’s population is eligible to vote. So why not accept the responsibilty and resolve to vote this coming election? Your vote might not cause drastic change – or who knows it may! It is just a case of gathering enough like-minded people to vote along with you.

But even if you are not able to debunk the King’s party – all is not lost. You would have taken a step towards being a responsible and active citizen of Pakistan – the first step towards owning your responsibility to your country. This country’s problems are our own – we cannot just sit back and imagine that they will vanish one golden day. We have to ACT. And act ourselves.

Why not take it from here? Get off our sorry assess and actually use our right to vote? Idealistic it may seem, but heck it is better than apathy and inaction. Every journey begins with a first step, so why delay that first step?

There is a whole year to convince people around you. Start with eligible adults in your own household and then move outwards. So what if you find no suitable party to vote for the first time round – vote for the least evil/vile of the lot. But, pray, do vote! If considerable strength is shown, who knows a third option may hit the dark clouds? It’s all about realising that nothing of this sort would happen if the majority passively allows the status-quo to continue. And for how long would that be allowed?

Simply put: I resolve to vote in the 2007 Elections.

It is not difficult to do so, but it is irresponsible not to. Just give this a thought.


18 Comments so far
Leave a comment

It’ll be more than a “step” away if you are pursuing your grad studies in a good university …some where in US of A.

Comment by prabhu

May be ur right about voting..atleast for people like u and me who are well educated from reputed institutions and have money to spend in our pockets,but what about the poor who have nothing to eat,no money to spend,who have been subject of negligence form our governmenst for now over half a century.They have no charm in voting nor they see any improvements.It doesnt matter even for me if PPP wins or PML wins,they all are the same.

Comment by Abdul Azeem Khan

Abdul Azeem, no I don’t agree.

It costs you ZILCH to vote. A vote of a rich = a vote of a poor man.

It is but an equaliser.

and that’s why i am arguing – it’s time to force it to matter to you. change won’t come overnight – you have work for it.

Comment by ayesha

well this Country needs a Revolution, nothing else.But Who will bring it. Some are Gazing on sky for a Miracle to Come And other are seeing to foriegn agencies but no one is doing wht he should he had done including me. 7 years of aristocratic and ironically democratic too governament and we are looking for a miracle, a revolution.
Take ur beds on election day. It will be good decision i point of view.

Comment by Abdullah

Well I appreciate your nationalism and your hope for this country to become what we all want it to be. But I would rather agree to Abdullah’s comment. What we need are not votes or elections. It’s a revolution, the radical Islam and extremism which is now embedded in every inch of our nation won’t disappear with votes or leaders.
Voices of moderation have to step up to this extremist element and let our point be heard. So I think change can only arouse from people within .Only after the cleansing of our nation from this extremist element that we will have politicians and leaders who are our true representatives.

Comment by Abdul Azeem Khan

So Abdul Azeem, tell me how would you bring about a revolution? Give me something concrete to work with?

Comment by ayesha

Well I think what we are doing is a sort of intellectual revolution isn’t it. We can only have a revolution if the moderate half lets our voices be heard, and for me best way to achieve it thorough Jihad-bil-Qalam. At least in this way we are making an effort to spread moderate point of view.
Just tell me would I have been able to listen to your comments and u to mine some 5 years ago, NO. It’s only because u and me are writing and expressing our self.
I am not saying we can make a difference overnight but we can take a start.
Just for example. Pakistani govn announced that religion field should not be on passport, but the field is now back why? Because the extremist element stood up against and now the field is back. Now if there was a strong moderate support for these actions, things would have been different.
Well u may notice or not, I think the change has already started with ppl like u and me starting to raise there voices.
May Allah help us in our goals and help us make Pakistan a progressive country and all Muslims around the world to unite under one Flag.

Well I posted my point of views on this same topic on my blog

By the way I must say u have an excellent blog with very good topics.


Abdul Azeem Khan

Comment by Abdul Azeem Khan

Yes Abdul Azeem, we need an intellectual revolution. But there are also some practical constraints. You and I are able to share our thoughts through this medium. How many other people have this opportunity? An intellectual revolution takes times and needs a collaborative effort – so yes, we do need to embark upon a mission to make our voices heard. But consider these:

1. The passport column was revoked because the other side had the ability to make its voice heard. It took to the streets, it used political rhetoric and coercion to make sure that Mushaaraf went back on his decision? Where was the moderate voice in this case?

2. Extremists ransacked Lahore this Feburary. The moderates were enraged and shocked into political silence. Yes, there was a lot of outrage visible in the paper and the intellectual sphere – but it didn’t even register as a minor blip on our collective national life!

3. The Hudood Bill has in all likelihood been shelved – even the mutilated version of it. Where did the moderates register their protest against that? Why was it not made into a political issue as was done by the opposition?

The common denominator in all of these three cases is that the moderates WERE enraged and they vented over it in the intellectual cricles. But that anger and outrage hardly registered! The common man did not get to see the alternative viewpoint. Thus those who don’t indulge in such intellectual activity and don’t challenge the obvious – will never know the other side of the argument. The moderates will not be able to induce any change this way and the extremists get away with it all too easily.

So while, using your right to vote might not bring about an immediate revolution. But it *involves* you in the process – and you want to have a stake in it. And of course, this is the not the end of the matter. The eventual goal is to regenerate a political moderate voice in society. For that some of us have to get invovled in the process. And try to induce the change. The revolution will not come if we just keep writing and dream about it – it has to be brought about.

Do you see the point I am trying to make?

Comment by ayesha

“For that some of us have to get involved in the process. And try to induce the change” well I think is a major point u mentioned. Yes I do agree with u and my point was also that intellectual aware ness will enable some of us to enter the political sphere, if so yes I will vote. If I find a candidate on ballot paper that is worth voting for I will do it.
But if I know my vote will only bring Chudhary brothers or MMA or Benazir or Nawaz in power then what’s the use. We all have seen what they are capable of.

Comment by Abdul Azeem Khan

Abdul Azeem, the salient point is this: don’t wait for a savior to emerge and then vote for him. Vote for the least vile of the lot, but at the same time seek an alternative voice.

If there is a constituency for an alternative voice – leaders will emerge. Presently there is no such constituency. And as I said in my post – it is more about its about owing up and taking responsibility – if we don’t no change of any sort with come up – for then we will always be waiting for a Messiah.

Comment by ayesha

well am not the Final Saying. but tell me ayesha if people here in Pakistan have their No own choice of Music and etc. they have their no likings or dislikings then how can they have their own choice To vote a Person.
It’s seems ridiculious to say “Peace by War” coz when u r enforcing Peace by war, wht worth of that Peace is then. but that is the need of the day. we need an aristocratic Rule Firstly who in the sense is honest, responsible and faithful to him and this Country and sets Permanent Rules as Washington did. There is no usefulness of a democratic rule at least now in this land.
and yes am too looking for that person but that is not the Musharaf.

Comment by Abdullah

Oh its all very well to “vote”, but who are we going to vote for? They are all representatives of the same corrupt aristocracy, one way or another.

So who are you going to vote for, Ayesha? 🙂

Me? 😛

Comment by kronstadter

Kron, you would be perfect! Only problem is that I would have to wait a couple of long years for that. 😛

Dunno, who i’ll vote for. Maybe the least vile of the lot. PPP? (btw, i hate BB too.) Sigh, dunno. But its better than inaction. :\

Comment by ayesha

So who is the least vile of the lot, Ayesha?

I can imagine you at the polling-station, closing your eyes and doing one of those “inni-minni-miney-mo” routines on the voting-slip.

Sadly, while this will satisfy the conscience of one politically-aware lady, it will not alleviate the situation in the country.

Oh don’t get me wrong. I don’t have an alternative. I wouldn’t dare to suggest one, given the hopeless political situation in the country.


Nihilism is so attractive! 😦

Comment by kronstadter

Ha Kron! There we go again! Think you and I, spent a glorious evening debating just that… Yaar. *groan* yeah, I will pick and choose b/w PPP and PTI. *sigh*

And yes, that will soothe my conscience to a certain extent. But it doesn’t stop there, does it? The same old mantra: continue seeking an alternative. Better than leaving it to the gods. [pun intended]

Comment by ayesha

Good luck choosing, Ayesha.

Oh and yeah, I’m so sorry to disappoint you, but…the elections will be decided long before you vote. 😉

We’re all familiar with the…ahem…”irregularities” at polling-stations.

Comment by kronstadter

BTW, I’m eligible to vote, but I’ll abstain.

I’m more interested in exercising some of my OTHER new-found rights at age 18. 😀

Comment by kronstadter

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