Election 2013; Insight From an Outsider

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And so the elections in Pakistan come to an end, with slogans (read roars) of dekho dekho kawn aaya; sher aaya, sher aaya.. But is it not the same old Lion, that has graced the land with its presence and for years together, many a time before? And the lion comes yet again, perhaps to repeat exactly what it has been doing before. Lions roar; at whom does this lion roar? It has been one of the biggest fans of Aman ki Aasha-cum-Aman ka Tamasha. At whom do they roar then? I hope not at Pakistanis? I hope all the  aasha  the nation has associated with their Lion does not prove to be a similar tamasha?

I am not even Pakistani, and I don’t believe in democracy, and I dont understand much of politics, especially Pakistani politics. I don’t believe in democracy because the maximum it allows you to do is to choose your own persecutors. You can choose who should get the chance to loot the nation and fill their pockets and shameface the nation worldwide. This is what democracy is all about in the subcontinent. If the ruling party is being corrupt, well, let them do it for at least five more years. But don’t worry, you can kick them out after 5 years, and assign all their duties (including corruption) to someone else. But what if those others do the same? Well, let them, too, do all they can for another 5 years. The previous government also did it, after all, and democracy guarantees equal rights for all; remember?

So the one good thing about democracy is that you can punish your persecutors, though only after 5 complete years. And we, in India, do it. When the UPA disappoints us, we elect the NDA, NDA disappoints us more, back to UPA, and so on and so forth. At least we have never been weak and meek enough to be whipped with the same whip over and again. We at least give each one of them a break . Give me a break, you know though we know it too well that this break will never make them get a life!

But can we ever be out of this vicious circle? Hardly, because any new and promising political party is usually faced with the accusation of cutting votes. A leader of such a new party rightly replied, It is not us that is cutting the votes; it is the UPA and the NDA that are cutting the votes of the general public! Sadly but truly, the UPA and the NDA will continue doing that. So the only other alternative might perhaps be that someone truly popular all over the country, to the extent of being the heartthrob of all, irrespective of their political alliance, would come as an agent of change. Celebrities, be it from Bollywood or the world of Cricket, usually win in India, irrespective of political agenda or social work.

Pakistan was finally blessed with such a personality; a heartthrob who wanted to bring a change! I don’t know much about the political agenda of Imran Khan, but I have compared him at least twice with our own heartthrobs  Amitabh bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar. Imran Khan for Pakistan is perhaps what Sachin Tendulkar is for India, and I couldn’t help comparing the two when the former set up his Shaukat Khanam Memorial Cancer Hospital. I kept wondering what charitable work our cricketers or Bollywood celebrities have done for the nation. I couldn’t help comparing him, again, with the two greatest Indian heartthrobs of all time, when I learnt that Amitabh Bachchan did not even pay his taxes, when the Bachchans gifted a luxury car to their newborn daughter on her first birthday, when Sachin Tendulkar begged for a tax concession when Michael Schumacher gifted him a Ferrari, and most shockingly, when he claimed to be an actor instead of a cricketer just so that he could enjoy further concessions from his taxes! All this while being the highest-earning cricketer worldwide!

Back to elections, I would have always voted for any new party, be it only because they have not looted the nation before, or maybe even just to give them, too, a chance. Remember; Democracy preaches Equality! But there are problems much deeper than Democracy even. When some people voted for General Musharraf  in the referendum done years back to decide whether he should have continued in power  just because he gave much favours to their own family members, leaving behind all their ideological differences with the person they were voting for; when Karachiites praise the MQM because it made the voice of the Urdu speakers heard, or because Karachi owes him its lights; when others vote for PPP (or PPPP now) because one of their family members had a personal share in the nations wealth due to being a member; when people elect the PML-N, inspite of the name of the leader featured in the party name sounding very monarchic, for the said leader’s caste or creed, or just because both their son and daughter were given laptops by Mr. Shahbaz Shareef, and because the Metro Bus Station is not only an affordable means of travel but also raises the name of Pakistan high (really?); when all this happens in a modern democracy, the problem lies within. In other words, the Constitution of the country might claim to be democratic, but the people are not.

As an Indian, aware of the challenges faced by the Muslim community in India, and weary of the modern loyalties to land, colour, creed, etc., I have been admiring the people who built their nation in the name of their Lord and their Religion, those who sacrificed their lives in order to secure their religious freedom, those who are still facing worldwide hostilities for being the one and only nation belonging to a Religion and not any other modern atheistic values. I somehow gave the benefit of a long history of wars to those Pakistanis who discriminated against me for my nationality. But as I made friends with the historical enemies of our nation, to learn their version of the story, to understand their point of the view; it was a painful realisation that Pakistanis are not just Pakistanis. They are Punjabi, or Sindhi, or Muhaajir, or Baloch. They are Pathan or Shaikh, or Siddiqui or Rajput. Urdu-speakers cannot marry Punjabis because their culture is different! How far can our prejudices go? How far can they take us? Aren’t we Muslims, and therefore equals? Weren’t we given a complete system of Law, many many centuries before Democracy, that not only taught us to be equals, but also gave us the greatest living examples of this equality? If we have not yet learnt to be Muslims, not even in 14 centuries, can we learn Democracy so soon? Wouldn’t we be better off learning and implementing Islam first, and maybe leave Democracy for those who don’t have anything better? And most importantly, wouldn’t the sense of national unity and equality be much more beneficial than the war of weapons with the neighbours?

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is Masters in English, a passionate Indian Muslimah, searching for the higher truths.

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