Like most of the middle class in Pakistan, I casted a vote for the first time in May 11 elections last year. I was promised a Naya Pakistan but I dared not to dream about it. My expectations from casting the vote were to mark my presence, make it count and earn the right to actively monitor and criticize the performance of elected government. This was the first time in the history of Pakistan that a democratically elected government completed its tenure and officially gave charge to the next government. This gave me hope. Also, the presence of a third prominent party in the shape of PTI was an indicator that now there will be a watchdog in the political world which will ascertain that both the government and the opposition do not abuse their power. I had hope – hope that only lasted for one year.
As a nation we are known to be a bit too emotional. We are known to make extremely absurd and senseless decisions because we give in to our jazbaat and junoon. I have learned not to represent at least these two characteristics of my countrymen. Which is why I urge the diehard fans of both PTI and PMLN (and all the other political and religious parties) to have faith but not to worship their leaders – after all, they are one of us and we are not a nation of saints. This blind trust is what led us to this point where no one has a solution to almost any problem, where egos are bigger than national interests and where criticism is based on rumors and unfounded facts.
In the political battlefield, we seem to have forgotten that we are fighting a war against our own men on our own land. We seem to have forgotten that our neighbors are turning against us every coming day and the international community only recognizes us as exporters of terrorism. We seem to have forgotten that American troops shattered our sovereignty by pulling out bin Laden from a military town. We seem to have forgotten that Malala, who the majority thinks is part of an American propaganda, was shot by terrorists on our own land. We seem to have forgotten that the intolerance in our society is on such hype that now Christians not only change their names to hide their identity but also live in a constant fear of being wrongfully accused of blasphemy. We seem to have forgotten that the religion we take so much pride in only speaks for kindness towards minorities but Ahmadis, Hazara and Shias are increasingly taking refuge in foreign countries because the so-called Muslims of Pakistan cannot stand their existence. We seem to have forgotten that the woman we were demanding back from the US also has advocates like the ferocious ISIS.
If Khan is fighting for justice and Nawaz is saving democracy, who is fighting for the safety of Pakistanis? Who is protecting those who are fighting terrorism, religious extremism, and plight of education, unemployment and inflation? Who is campaigning for peace and tolerance? Do the advocates and promoters of Naya Pakistan have a jinnie in a bottle that can bring peace and tolerance over night or do the guardians of so-called democracy have any policy to make this country a safer place to live in? I request Pakistanis not to blindly follow or worship any politician or religious scholar because not they but you have the power to change the situation. Change from within, change your mindset and reflect on your actions so you can live to see a Naya Pakistan. Sit back, criticize one politician, blindly follow another and nothing will ever change.