Our Flawed Perception of Democracy

One of Pakistan’s favorite past time is to sit in drawing rooms, sip tea and discuss politics. Many discuss how Imran Khan going towards his political doom by making unreasonable demands and holding protests which may not take him anywhere, some believe that Imran is taking Pakistan towards a revolution and how tomorrow when they switch the TV on, they will suddenly be living in a Utopian Pakistan where everything is Perfect, some critically oppose Imran and claim that democracy is being hurt and that Prime Minister Nawaz should continue to rule so that democracy lives.

While picking sides on who is right and who is wrong, we many times forget our own side, we forget the side of our own Pakistanis, we forget that democracy is there because of us and not the other way around. We become blind by in our quest to topple the government and live in Utopia the next day, we become cold blooded in our desire to save the Parliament and Government which we like to define as ‘democracy’. In this battle of “Revolution” vs “Democracy” we fail to understand its purpose, we only keep our eyes on the battle waiting for the victor and hope it is the side we support.

Most people in Pakistan agree to the fact that there was massive rigging in the 2013 General Elections, however many choose to accept it for the sake of stability, many term it as ‘nothing out of the ordinary’ and very few are enraged by this rigging. So what “democracy” do we stand by? What is our perception of “Democracy”? What is Democracy if “We the people” don’t decide who rules our country? What’s the difference between democracy and Monarchy when rulers are forced upon us by fake ballots simply under the banner of democracy? What is the purpose of democracy if not to ensure basic human rights for the common man? Where was democracy’s justice when people are killed and assaulted by the state? What’s democracy if critical media channels are shut down by force secretly to control the flow of information to the common man? Is this the democracy we defend? Is this the democracy we champion? It is not democracy which is flawed but it is our perception of democracy which flawed which has led to all the injustices in our country go unpunished. We see the battle in Islamabad as merely a battle between the state and opposition and a battle for the throne, we must not let it turn into a battle for the throne, we must acknowledge the importance of fair ballot. How can we trust those who cheated our right to vote that they will make sure that doesn’t happen in the future? How can we trust the very people who cheated us to protect us from being cheated again?

I was not old enough to vote in the 2013 General Elections, but i will be in the next elections, i certainly don’t want my vote being changed or disregarded, my vote may be different to that of the majority and may have no effect on the result but it will be mine, it is my right to choose and no one has the right to make that decision for me. I hope no Pakistani would want their vote to be changed or unfairly cast. That’s whats this battle is about, so that in the future my vote or anyone else’s is not cheated. No one wants to go down to the polling station and find the entrances sealed and guarded by armed men and fake ballots being cast inside. Regardless of where our allegiances lie, we should not stand by our vote being robbed even if the result remains unchanged. In our opposition to one side we forget where we stand and go all in to eliminate the opponent forgetting our own principles.

Whatever we may expect from this alleged “Inqilaab”  (Revolution), may not be realistic but we can hope that maybe tomorrow, our ballot will have some actual power, maybe tomorrow, there will be a sense of accountability within this system maybe tomorrow will be the first step towards a brighter future.

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