An open letter to anti-PTI trolls

Published: September 3, 2014
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I realise that Imran Khan will not be able to solve all our problems. But I do know that he has succeeded in bringing a change to Pakistan. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN AND NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS

I realise that Imran Khan will not be able to solve all our problems. But I do know that he has succeeded in bringing a change to Pakistan. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN AND NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS I realise that Imran Khan will not be able to solve all our problems. But I do know that he has succeeded in bringing a change to Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

Am I a member of a cult or some secret society? No.

Have I recently been released from prison for murder? No.

Then why do I have to cringe every time I show my support for the Azadi March and why am I made to feel like a deviant?

If you follow your leanings and happen to side with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), as an effort to get rid of this putrid system of government, get ready to be torn apart by a new breed of trolls.

Our government and our systems have failed us. We have been disillusioned and indifferent for far too long. Now that we have finally woken up and are exercising our democratic right to have a political opinion, non-PTI critics have made life a living hell for us.

My genuine question is: are the supporters of other political parties lambasted the same way as the PTI supporters?

The moment you enter a dinner party, your office, or open up your Facebook account, you are assaulted by unfounded criticism and rude remarks by those who want to provoke a reaction out of you. Timelines are spammed. You are jeered at. Worst of all, your ‘hope’ is attacked when they reiterate that nothing will come out of this.

The worst are the ones who voted for PTI and now keep reminding you of their disappointment. They voted as adults and they should own their choice, instead of whining. In the next elections, it is their choice who they vote for. Why do they tell their sad tales of falling out of love to us?

It is sad that social media activism and political viewpoints of so many people have just become an exercise where they do nothing but post negative comments about PTI. I don’t know if they genuinely hate Imran Khan and his party or if they are really just obsessed with him.

I believe there are reasons for the brutal out lashes against both Imran and his followers.

One of them is that Imran has, somehow, managed to question so many things that this nation had become complacent about and had accepted. One of them is the corruption, violence and bad governance this country has been subjected to at the hands of our rulers. Maybe we do not want to be woken up and have given up, which is why we keep saying,

“Kuch nahin badalnay wala”.

(Nothing will change)

It makes me wonder if the Pakistani nation has become like a battered, abused and beaten up woman who believes that her abuser will stop only to crush her bones once again. When the opportunity to freedom finally presents itself, she still opts for the abuser – because she is completely devoid of hope.

I feel like I am in the twilight zone. When up is down and wrong is right. We are expected not to take action while being robbed of our rights. But my simple answer is: don’t ask me to wait for another four years and don’t ask me to teach my children that if you lie and cheat you get everything in life.

My advice to a friend who was recently upset about the criticism she received for supporting the Azadi March was simple,

“Stay away from negative people as they will only stop you from doing something wonderful for your country.”

The best strategy is to avoid confrontations. If you are a PTI supporter, you have perhaps, by now, learnt to hide your support for the Azadi March. In our heads, we are standing up for our country. For the people, this makes us targets for ridicule.

Those who believe in the Azadi March have been accused of being rather aggressive in defending their beliefs. There is no denying that PTI trolls do exist. But non-PTI trolls are not highlighted enough, which is not fair. As a non-violent party, I believe the only place where PTI workers can release their steam is the internet.

We have been waiting for 67 years for a change and it is an unbearable thought to imagine our country’s future will continue to be in the hands of the insincere and the greedy.

I cannot understand the selective indifference and constant criticism exclusive to a cause that seems so just, so right. I confess that at times I am a bit too defensive and I have found myself distancing myself from my friends and peers because of it. And this is unhealthy. We have enough polarisations in our society and unfair attacks on each other because of viewpoints will make it worse.

However, if I won’t defend my view, who else will?

Ali Rahman, a banker, has had similar experiences, which he shared on a social media site.

“The anti-PTI reactionism (sic) on social media seems to be engineered phenomena. I am not a PTI supporter and I raise my voice or support for what I think is right or wrong, may it be any party.”

Ali shared an instance where once on Twitter he supported a PTI follower’s argument and he was cursed in bad language on a public forum.

“Another time, I had difference of opinion with someone and he was suddenly hell bent upon proving that I am a PTI troll though I am not even from PTI.”

Ali feels that it is almost like a trend to lambast PTI and many continue with this agenda because they just want to fit in.

PTI followers, contrary to popular belief, are not blind. I realise that Imran Khan will not be able to solve all our problems. But I do know that he has succeeded in bringing a change to Pakistan. He has empowered me enough that now I will not depend on just one man for Pakistan’s salvation but I will rely on myself, my countrymen and my belief that our country will rise from the ashes and a new Pakistan will be born.

He has made us stand up for true ‘azadi’ and he will always be remembered as a man who made a nation rise. So give credit where it’s due and let’s give each other a break, if we truly believe in democracy.

 

Sara Chapra

Sara Chapra

She is an event designer by profession and a PTI supporter who stepped up to put in her share for the community.

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