The Illusions of Choice – Pakistan Elections 2013

May 18, 2013 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Opinions

It’s all falling apart, isn’t it? It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. These elections were supposed to be the bearer of change; the tidings of a new Pakistan. Today, the people of Pakistan were supposed to vote the corrupt and the greedy out of this crooked fraudulent system, and were to bring into power, a new brand of devoted patriotic politicians who were going to take the country forward by way of development and progress. I call bullshit on that!

Are we, as a nation, really so naive? Why are we fooled, so effortlessly, again and again and again, by these shady landlords and politicians? Why do we not realize that this illusion of choice they give us every five years is nothing but a futile practice of stamping on a paper, folding it and sliding it into a box? Why do we not see that these petty opinions of ours, which we cast in the form of votes, will never have any impact on what happens in the next five years? In the words of the great political activist Emma Goldman, “If voting could change anything, they would make it illegal.”

What we stand to gain from this day is yet to be perceived. You may have high hopes for a new party winning these elections and making your country a better place to live in, but do answer my question: Will it all be worth it in the end? This sham electoral process has resulted in the loss of a thousand lives. And many more will follow. There will be those who argue that sacrifices must be made to achieve any sort of victory against evil. But there is no victory here, my friends. What has happened today was a disgraceful progression of events that we all witnessed. Do you really think that the people coming forward through this system deserve to rule us and represent us in front of the world?

In our obsession with the desire to change things, we have done the very opposite. We have created one more cult figure out of a new political leader. Regardless of them being right or wrong, we have made uninformed choices again, while we should have looked at the practicality of a party’s policies, we decided to vote for them for all the wrong reasons: because they haven’t been elected before, because our parents will vote for them, because they represent our caste or simply because our friends are voting for them. This election is taking place in a political environment contaminated by repression, violence, fear, and most of all, a bandwagon bias.

In a country where 70 percent of the population lives in poverty and the majority of citizens can’t even spell their name, in a system overrun with corruption, as Transparency International recently made clear; it is impractical and idealistic of anybody to think that a fully democratic system will serve us with the leadership that we need. Need, not want! It will be a new day tomorrow morning, and there may be a new set of faces sitting in the parliament, but my fellow countrymen, I beg this of you: do not deceive yourselves into thinking that things will drastically change after today. For that to happen, much more has to be done than just getting your thumb inked and much more has to be sacrificed than a couple of hours away from your air-conditioned room. The question is: are we willing to go the extra mile? I think not, and I would love it if someone could prove me wrong.

The Author

Ali Qamber is an engineering student at PNEC, NUST. He is a certified maila from St. Patricks High and lives, loves and wastes his time in Karachi. Besides writing useless stuff such as above, he also enjoys the finer things in a Karachiite's life, like night-cricket, hangouts at the beach and strikes. Find him on twitter (@qamberger) or facebook (saliqamber).

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3 Comments + Add Comment

  • Not necessarily agree with you, Ali. But well written nonetheless.

  • well i agree
    the thing is that the nothing changes we just try to put a new face on top whereas all the faces below him are the same hence the system remains the same!
    heres to five more years of the same!!

  • Even though I tend to disagree (I think the system will eventually improve over time – you should listen to hasan nisar), this is seriously well-written. You are so good at writing sad stuff. Seriously meant as a compliment. :)

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