General Elections 2018: Please, don’t be “that” voter!

Published: June 26, 2018
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A Pakistani woman poses showing her ink marked thumb after casting her ballot at a polling station in Karachi on December 5, 2015, during local government elections. PHOTO: AFP

Brace yourself fellow Pakistanis, for tall claims, big promises, loud slogans and a lot of attention will be given to you as we approach the General Elections 2018. For five years, politicians of various parties have argued, misbehaved and abused each other on national TV to win your vote. Make sure you value that vote!

Without further ado, let me be clear where I stand with my vote; it is for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). However, the rant ahead is not an attempt to be PTI’s advocate. I am more concerned about what you vote for rather than whom you vote for.

Everyone is free to cast their vote to any party they think is best for Pakistan. Note that I said “best for Pakistan”, not yourself, not the street you live on, not the family or the province you belong to.

There is, however, a significant portion of voters that would step out in the scorching heat to cast their vote, but it won’t be for Pakistan. I’m sorry, but these are the voters I do not have respect for. Their vote is not a difference of opinion; it’s a difference in intentions. Know the difference between the two.

Following are the type of voters you will encounter in the upcoming elections:

1. Fragile egos

For some, elections are not about the country but about themselves. If the party they once associated themselves with ends up winning, it somehow translates into their personal victory over fellow citizens. These types of voters will be the front line soldiers of their respective parties because an election to them is a competition.

Being on the winning side is critical and putting the country’s future in the right hands is only secondary. These types of voters will defend their party on anything and everything because for them being stubborn enough to defend what’s clearly wrong is the real victory.

If only someone could inform these voters that we are all in the same boat. A developing Pakistan is in the best interests of everybody, so choose wisely! It’s not a competition between you and me. Admitting you voted for the wrong party the previous time isn’t a defeat against anyone. Vote for what’s right not what your ego allows.

Photo: Giphy

Please, don’t be this type of voter!

2. The slaves

These types of voters will leave you speechless. They will be going out to vote for a particular party because their great great great grandfather had once cast the vote for this party as well. You are likely to stare and wait for them to claim it’s a joke but no. They are serious.

It’s sad and disturbing that these types of voters still exist. The Englishmen left South Asia long ago but the mental slavery has stayed with us. I for one would pray and hope my generations to follow don’t cast a vote for PTI simply because I once did. Who knows what sort of “Godfather” is leading PTI years from now. Parties change over time and so should your opinion.

Please, don’t be this type of voter!

Photo: Giphy

3. Me first, then Pakistan

We are all selfish to some extent but putting your personal interests ahead of the country’s future is a whole new level. These types of voters can’t think beyond their street. The election season is the best time for negotiating personal favours. Those voting for the betterment of the nation are stupid to not make some favourable deals while the conditions are mint for business.

Lahore is not the entire Pakistan. Think beyond the gimmicks you earned in the city. The rest of the nation is struggling for clean water. If the drought hasn’t reached your city today, it surely will tomorrow, if we don’t bring the right leaders to power. It’s a hard request to make but can we all think beyond our households?

Please, don’t be this type of voter!

Photo: Giphy

4. Biryani lovers

We all know what this is. I won’t blame these voters because this is depressing. Some go down this road because poverty has forced them to give up on this nation. These types of voters will consciously sell their vote to a particular party for some basic necessities such as free food for a day. They have waited five years for this day, would you believe it?

I aspire to live in a Pakistan where no one ever has to sell his or her vote for food. If you know someone in dire need of food, please buy them some on the day of elections so they can cast their vote more sensibly.

If possible, please don’t be this type of voter!

Photo: Giphy

Vote for Pakistan

Finally, a portion of the voters will go out and vote for the betterment of this nation. It doesn’t matter if they cast their vote for Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), PTI or any unknown individual for that matter, I appreciate them for playing a role in shaping a bright future for this country.

Neither is Imran Khan greater than life nor is PTI full of saints, but out of all the options available, I certainly believe Imran is the best choice for the nation. Having said that, I respect anyone who would vote for a different leader, as long as their thought process led him or her to believe that some other party is best for Pakistan.

Please, please be this type of voter!

Let’s put this “respect everyone’s vote” to rest because not everyone is voting for the nation. I am not going to claim respect for something I don’t actually respect. Vote for any party you want but the intentions behind it must be right.

One can’t respect a thief for looting the public because his opinions on how the society should run are different. The intention always counts!

Hamza Junaid

Hamza Junaid

The author is an avid cricket follower and plays for a team called Gladiators based in New York. He tweets as @hamza_junaid1 (twitter.com/hamza_junaid1)

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

  • Amin Sardar

    PTI is the only national party which is popular from Karachi to khyber.Imran Khan is an honest soul,give him a chance.Recommend

  • Parvez

    The choice is quite simple … its between PML-N, PTI …..and PPP.
    How to chose : Look at what the PML-N and PPP have over the last 10 years or more done for Pakistan or even at what they have done at a local level…..and then look at what their leaders have done for themselves…… and then make your choice.Recommend

  • Khurram

    We should vote based on te performance, and PML-N has done much better as compared to PTI in all sectors. PTI has failed miserably tin KPK and you don’t need any special visit to KP to see that. My vote is for PML-N and I think Shehbaz Sharif is the best choice to lead this nation forwardRecommend

  • Shahid Ali Sayed

    Please give opportunity to PTI to set the house in order of Pakistan. PPP and Nawaz league have done nothing good for Pakistan except filling their Bank accounts in Foreign countries. Look at the value of Dollar and what it was when Musharaf left the country, the water shortage in the country and Un-employment situation. All these problems are getting worse with every coming day.
    GIVE YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE TO PTI AND LETS SEE HOW THEY PERFORM.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Is that the same Darbari Sharif that looted, and plundered Pakland
    during his 3 stints as PM? Was forcibly removed too, 3 times!
    A Guinness World record. And has multiple corruption cases
    filed against him, by the govt.?
    His little brother, Sharif should now lead the country?
    Same cabal, different ministerships. Like musical chairs.
    Then it will be Hamza Sharif’s turn? [if he survives the Saaf Pani
    corruption case.]Recommend

  • Fahad Yousuf

    A very biased article though. Still if we go with your opinion, it would be PML-N once for all. Because as per your opinion, if one has to vote for Pakistan than he/she must see the improvements in infrastructure, law-and-order, electricity, communication, railways, roads etc. etc. Your jealousy from Lahore seems like Lahore is not a part of Pakistan, secondly one has to start from somewhere. If you go with development then Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Multan are also not much behind from Lahore. You cannot exemplify any city of KPK or Sindh to compete with Punjab. As the government’s performance is not that much as expected, then we must take note of the damage done by dharna clan pti. If they wouldn’t dirtied their hands than PML-N has no option left that we were not allowed to work freely. But actually pti has done alot of benefit to PML-N by providing a much needed sympathy vote bank.Recommend

  • Fida Hussain Nayani

    Totally disagree with the writer. After Imran Khan’s award of tickets to electables, all tall claims of merit and performance have dashed to ground. The most alarming sign is this that even his old anti democratic dharna buddy Allama Tahirul Qadri has spoken against him. I have no doubt that if Imran Khan wins, Pakistan will be lost!!!
    May Almighty gaurd Pakistan…
    WasSalam…Recommend

  • bilal

    The question should not be what PTI will do with the old faces but rather what it is has done.

    PTI’s performance in KPK is better than all the other provinces and the federal government. Federal Gov’t is leaving with a trade deficit and debt that we simply can not bear. After decades of rule in Punjab, they can not even provide safe drinking water. Literacy rate went down. We can see the impact of that here as well.
    KPK PTI government may not be perfect BUT it has done far better in health, education, police reforms and environment.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Agreed but in terms of PTI they never got into power so judging their performance is heard. Its true they governed KPK but thats not the same as having the powers to make changes nationwide for years. Something that PPP and PMLN have enjoyed for years.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Shahid I agree with your thoughts. The only development PMLN has done is restricted to roads, flyovers and metros. We need human development and basic necessities first.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    @FahadYousuf Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I certainly respect your vote for PML(N) because it seems you believe they are best for Pakistan’s development and you could be right. I am not here to convince you to vote for any particular party so I dont know how you felt the article was biased.

    Having said that, I am not a fan of PML(N) because the biggest development has been in their bank accounts. Punjab police is a mafia and a political wing. Plenty of wrong doings under PML(N) but to keep it short if countless years of power in Punjab has meant Lahore is all they have to show then im dissappointed. I think PTI would be a better option but thats just my opinion. I would want Pakistan to develope thats all.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    @Fida if Pakistan was to be lost because electables were used to come to power then Pakistan shouldnt have existed today. These Electables have been sitting in PML(N) this entire time, were you not aware? The problem is in the way system has been setup to come to power. IK will have to dirty his hands with these electables to stand a chance on the polling day.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Bilal I second your thoughts. KPK PTI government has not been perfect but definitely the development is being done where its needed the most. The priorities are set right.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    From whatever understanding I have of economics PML(N) has been miserable in my opinion. The devaluation of rupee against dollar and the steep rise in foreign debt are indicators of that. I feel PTI has taken initiatives in KPK that no other party ever bothered to consider.

    Having shared my opinion, I respect your vote for PML(N) because your intentions are to better Pakistan as well. One of us is right in our vote and I hope whoever it is,me or you,his party wins so Pakistan moves forward.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    PTI has its own flaws including IK but I would agree that of all the options we have PTI is the only viable option in my opinion.Recommend

  • Sufiyan

    I think many readers are missing the point here. I don’t think this blog is trying to persuade readers to vote for PTI or to point fingers at PPP or PMLN. The writer only wants everyone to value their vote and put some thought process into who they are going to cast their vote to. Break away from mental slavery and stop selling your vote so cheap at the expense of a better and brighter Pakistan in the future.Recommend

  • Fida Hussain Nayani

    So, Mr. Hamza, Mr. Khan is following the same path which Mr. Sharif has been following!!!
    Isn’t it???
    WasSalam…Recommend

  • Fida Hussain Nayani

    Sure, this blog is not telling anyone to vote for IK, it’s just telling them not to vote for NS 😃😃😃Recommend

  • Fida Hussain Nayani

    Sorry, a party who can not even keep it’s key leaders together, how can one even think of giving Pakistan in it’s hand!!!Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Thank You! That was precisely the message!Recommend

  • Sufiyan

    For obvious reasons! No rocket science there.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    @Fida in some ways he is thats why i said “IK is not greater than life and PTI is not full of saints.” However, is IK better equipped to bring change if any at all then yes as a corruption free leader his chances are higher of gaining public confidence.

    You are more than free to caste vote for PML(N) if you truely believe they are best for Pakistan. The goal isnt to convince you to vote for party of my liking. Just vote with the right intentions. Thanks.Recommend

  • Zaynah Khan

    The comments I just read here are extremely terrifying. We as a nation have a long way to go until we free our minds from our unreasonable compulsion with slavery. The message which the author tried to convey could be easily understood and it was clearly out of nothing but patriotism. People who think the blog’s content was biased need to realize that they most probably belong to ‘The Slaves’ category which was mentioned by the author.

    P.s Very well written!Recommend

  • bilal

    Well done to the writer who bothers to reply to his criticsRecommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Thanks Zaynah! I had expected the debate between PTI and PML(N) to come up so no surprizes there haha! Even though the intentions were to simply ask my fellow citizens to put the right thought process behind their vote.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Thanks Bilal! Constructive criticism is always welcomed.Recommend

  • Iffat Naz

    Thanks to the author for such a well-written piece. Informative and entertaining.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Thank You Iffat!Recommend