Why I cancelled my vote

Published: May 30, 2013

If I can track why I chose to cancel my vote, there will be more than a hundred questions in my mind, as to why I reacted that way and there is no right answer. PHOTO: AFP

You know that awkward personal moment right after offering your prayers, when you are supposed to say a dua, ask for something and you really can’t come up with anything. So you say, “Allah Mian, you know what I need”, before wrapping up the janemaz.

My voting experience could not have been any different from this; it was pretty much like saying my Namaz. Until that awkward moment arrived.

Suddenly the most attractive box on the ballot papers was the last one filled with horizontal and vertical lines. I thought “well isn’t this representing how I feel? Aren’t we a nation caught in between white noise for too long?” None of the signs, the names of the candidates seemed appropriate, they just didn’t represent me.

Like I would conclude my prayers with “Allah Mian, you know what I need”, I thought, maybe putting the stamp on any name should make sense, all of these political parties and candidates who chose to nominate themselves as the next caretakers of the country should know their duties too. They should know what citizens need.

But the pessimist in me just suppressed these thoughts and I cancelled my vote.

I can be judged for doing so, for not using my right and not making up my mind on the lesser evil. Socially too, I felt the divide, right among my friends, where I was probably labelled as less intellectual than them, mostly for not choosing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI.)

I couldn’t have been more discreet in my choice.

Two weeks into the elections, all I can see and hear on TV and roads are dharnas and more dharnas from the major political parties in Karachi, reaffirming my view that the leaders are still immature.

Despite the results of the elections, rigged or not, they can’t put the people first. For now it’s more about trolling and bashing anyone you find holding a different opinion than yours.

I learnt in university that a bad democracy was better than the best dictatorship. The good thing maybe is that the elections exposed us as a nation.

I’m more concerned about the general intolerance among the liberals, conservatives and the moderates. However, we fail to see as a nation that democracy is not an option anymore. It’s the necessity for all the players involved.

If I can track why I chose to cancel my vote, there will be more than a hundred questions in my mind, as to why I reacted that way and there is no right answer.

Read more by Natasha here.


Natasha Raheel

A Karachi-based sports reporter for The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Effendi

    Talk about being sidelined in your social circle for not voting, talking, defending, protesting or trolling for PTI (or simply just believing in your ideology and not jumping bandwagons!) good choice!Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Please dont blame anyone for the coming five years then for any wrong that happens. Blame yourself. Recommend

  • Naeem

    I cancelled my vote when I realized that Imran Khan and his Tehril Insaf will not deliver Insaaf!!!! His spewing of hatred against Ahmedis did it for me because I also knew that when he was hunted and ran away from his house ,it was his Ahmedi “friends” who gave him a place to hide!!!! So with such double standards who can you trust as honest? And you absolutely right about his dharnas. Just shows political immaturity of Imran Khan- the taliban!!!!!Recommend

  • John

    “However, we fail to see as a nation that democracy is not an option anymore. It’s the necessity for all the players involved”
    so then i cancelled my vote and now i make sense!Recommend

  • Jamshed

    U should join Tahir Ul qadri .. Recommend

  • shuja ul islam

    a very marvelous job indeed…NOT..!!Recommend

  • saif ur rehman

    vote shows your willingness for the betterment of country, we should vote even if results are not in our favour.Recommend

  • Hashsham

    Vote is the best way to bring a change, pessimist people like you, who cannot make a decision, can never change a nation!Recommend

  • Hassan Khan

    Good Article, Atleast without any biasnessRecommend

  • Sana

    A very contradictory article. A bad democracy is better than a dictatorship but not voting is how the author chose to support this “bad democracy”
    What the author has failed to understand is that what we had for the past five years was a bad democracy and it was one of the worst five years of Pakistan’s history, and that is saying something. we shouldn’t just sit back and try to be content with what we have. Why shouldn’t we strive for better? Why shouldn’t we stand up for whats fair? you said that these parties were immature to hold dharnas everywhere, I say it was our political maturness that we did so. Atleast we didn’t hold a strike and shut down businesses and cause a chaos so people could hear us out. Just because Pakistan had been so desensitized to all that’s wrong in our society doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wake up now and try to fix it.

    Here is a cheesy quote from the movie “Rang de Basanti” but very relevent
    “No country is perfect, you have to make it perfect”


  • dr.jahandadkhan

    Same feelings but i did vote.Recommend

  • Emjay

    So you cancelled your vote because you believe democracy is the neccessity for us all? Recommend

  • Hira

    Brother Imran khan does not hate ahmedis, he was just undiplomatic and clearly stated his beliefs that they are not Muslims. I don’t think that equates to hating, I mean we declare that Christians aren’t Muslims, that doesn’t mean we’re saying that we hate them. Besides, he was put into this unfortunate situation by fazlur rehman in the first place. And the very next day he made absolutely clear in a jalsa that they will stand for their minorities, be it shias or ahmedis or any other minority. Recommend

  • zehra

    you coould have read up found out about the independents and given the vote! at the end everyone needs to vote!Recommend

  • Skeptical

    Why is PTI the centre of attention on all these blogs on ET?? I mean get over it already…..its getting a bit too repetitive…..
    Everyone is blaming PTI supporters for being defensive and trolling thats ok!! as you cant change your views about PTI, likewise they cant…..majority of Pakistan voted for PML N….well thats ok………the people who wanted the old people back; voted and got them back…..PTI lost and is still being crticised…..for what?
    High time!! We should move on and wait and watch!!Recommend

  • Faraz

    Yes, if you look at the behavior of the public in general, I don’t think we deserve democracy at all. We are the public without any vision. We start walking in any direction we are turned to. I don’t know about you, but at least I think that the current leaders of our nation are not the right representatives of the country, so definitely democracy is not for us, and in the case when you don’t know who the correct leader for you is, it is better to cancel your vote than to vote for some crook.Recommend

  • Haseeb Talal Khan

    Democracy, in my opinion, is the worst system of Governance, where 100 idiots decide to make another idiot their representative, while opposite lesser number of educated, qualified and knowledgeable would be deprived of their say in the system. The country where, Democracy, can only bring injustice, lawlessness, illiteracy etc etc., this mode of government can only be applicable to the countries, where, people have equal say at one point, and they have equally centric educated from the same mode of education for all…The international establishments with the help of capitalism, have given democracy a rule to the masses by attracting poor, third world countries like Pakistan, by giving money in the name of development, to sell their weapons, and constantly top up the laons from well known capitalist institutions, like IMF & World bank. just to make them more poor and under previledged….

    we had seen the repercussions of Socialism, in Bhutto’s rule of Govt., and we had gone through a tough lean patch since the departure of him in the name of Democracy. The solution is only Communism has to be tested..Keeping fingers crossed….Recommend