Pakistan is going ahead towards its 13th general election on Wednesday the 25th July 2018. Among the previous 12 elections, some were indirect and no-party based. If the current election is held successfully it will be the 3rd consecutive transfer of power in Pakistan’s history. This election has been made controversial by the allegations, from two major parties P MLN and PPP, some media personals and even the international media, of not providing level playing fields to all parties and backing some chosen parties such as PTI by the establishment.
PTI created this impression by politically using the court’s convictions against Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister of Pakistan and the president of PMLN, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son in law Captain (R) Safdar on corruption and corrupt practices while being in the government. The PPP has also joined PMLN in the narrative of pre-poll regaining since the FIA has launched the investigation of PKR 35 billion money laundering where Asif Ali Zardari, the Co-chairman of PPP and former president of Pakistan, may be involved.
The historical role of establishment in Pakistani politics perhaps strengthens this narrative. However, if we thoroughly consider the ground realities, it seems clear that both big parties the PMLN and the PPP have been in federal power for many times and are continuously in power for 10 years in Punjab and Sindh provinces respectively but failed to deliver their manifestos. Instead of improving the lives of people by delivering quality education, health facilities, job opportunities and the overall growth of a country they made themselves and their families richest. As a result, in last 10 years, Pakistan’s economy has badly affected and $ to PKR conversion rate has increased more than 2 folds and that’s the worst economic crises Pakistan is facing in its 70 years history. The bad governess might be the primary reason for their fear to lose this election and they perhaps are making the ground for its political justification.
If the allegations by these parties stand any ground the only way to overturn this is to come out on 25th July and vote for the party you think can serve for you and Pakistan. We are a democratic country; however, the percentage of people who become the part of a democratic process is very low. According to statistics by the International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), in Pakistan, the average voter turnout is 42%, with the exception of 1977 elections where it was 55% and in 2013 elections it was around 53%. This means around half of our nation does not even bother to come out of their comfort and cast the vote which is really a shame for a country where more than 60% of the population is less than 30 years old. The low turnout also indicates that people do not have a strong belief in Pakistan’s democratic system. Nonetheless, it is the national responsibility of every individual to vote and chose the person he thinks is right for the country. This is our country, it gives us identity, a place to live in with freedom, to get an education, learn skills, get jobs and excel in our career, do business and make money, and so much more. In return, we should vote to choose the right people to lead the country.