PROFESSOR ALI SUKHANVER
The General Elections 2013 shall give a new colour to the history of Pakistan. Now-a-days one could feel a great hustle and bustle among all political sections of society in Pakistan because it is the very first time that a politically elected democratic government successfully completed its tenure. The results of the upcoming elections would show, up to what level, the previous government succeeded in fulfilling the expectations of the people of Pakistan. Elections do not mean just stamping a piece of paper and thrusting it into the ballot box; elections mean far more. Since very after the creation of Pakistan, the politicians have been raising a great hue and cry that military dictators never let them do their work independently that is why they had never been able to deliver what was expected from them. But in the last five years the situation remained altogether different. The army remained all aloof from the political affairs and the political parties remained at liberty throughout the tenure. Some people say that the credit goes to the Army Chief General Kiyani while others are of the opinion that army as an institution was not in favour of repeating the experience of derailing the train of democracy ; though during all those five years, it happened so many times that ‘democracy stricken’ people gave SOS signal to the army. Now the ball is in the court of the people of Pakistan. The 11th of May, 2013 would be a day when they would be free to paint their tomorrow with the colours of their own choice. Two things are very important in this regard; the first one is that on the Election Day, we must not limit ourselves to our homes; in the larger interest of the country, we will have to come out and go to the polling stations. Second important thing is the right choice of the candidate we vote for. If we cast our vote in favour of someone who had been involved in any kind of moral or financial corruption in the past, it means we are supporting, favouring and sheltering his corruption. The use of vote is a very sacred national responsibility and any careless approach and nonsense behaviour regarding this responsibility would result in a severe national loss.
For the promotion of democracy the fair, free and transparent election is compulsory in every democratic society and same must be the case with Pakistan. But unfortunately in Pakistan, most of the people are not aware of the importance of vote. According to a survey, in spite of the facility of casting their votes through postal ballot system, most of the government servants who are deputed at the polling stations as presiding and polling officers on the Election Day, do not use their right of vote. Sixty percent of the people from the urban areas simply stay at home and enjoy the election process in the manner they enjoy a one-day cricket match. It is only the rural areas where the politicians succeed in dragging the voters out of their homes but these voters are never independent in use of their precious right of vote. They are always under the pressure of the feudal lords, their tribal heads and of the landowners whose lands they are cultivating. It is the responsibility of the media, the teachers and the religious scholars to educate them and make them understand the impact of their votes on the future of Pakistan. People must be conveyed the idea that vote is a national obligation and it should be cast sensibly only in favour of the political parties which surely and purely belong to Pakistan and aspire to work only in the interest of the country.
The people of Pakistan are lucky enough that under the guidance and command of Mr. Fakhruddin.G.Ibrahim, the Election Commission of Pakistan is making all possible rigorous efforts to hold fair, free and transparent elections. More fortunate is the fact that the Pakistan Army is providing resolute support for the completion of the electoral process. The provincial care-taker governments are also doing all their best possible to keep the electoral process above board. The impartiality of the Election Commission of Pakistan, the provincial care-taker governments and that of the Pakistan Army would pave the way to fair and transparent elections but all these efforts would go waste if the voters do not realize their responsibility.
It has also been in the media that some of the terrorist elements have threatened to disrupt the electoral process in Pakistan. According to a recent report published in various newspapers, a militant organization in North Waziristan Agency has distributed a hand-bill among the local people. This hand-bill has tried to convince them to reject the democratic process in FATA. The solitary aim of this propaganda seems to censure the process of elections in FATA and promote an atmosphere of mayhem and chaos. It seems that the leaders of the militant organizations are frightened of democratically elected people who would become a challenge and threat to their authority and supremacy. Moreover some of the foreign diplomats are also trying to influence this process of election by paying regular visits to the hi-ups of various political parties. Such foreign diplomats are constantly in contact with the political leaders who have authority of allocating party-tickets to different candidates. We as a nation must be aware of all such conspirators who are doing all their possible efforts to mar the election process and intend to create problems for us in the near future. Democracy is the only solution to the problem of extremism and terrorism. We will have to join hands together to crush the forces which are eager to derail the process of democracy in Pakistan. The most important thing to be remembered is that our silence on the Election Day would not be less than a severe crime.