Wavering from the boycott camp to the enthusiastic voter, I am in a fix as elections draw near. Isn’t this the same exercise that has been carried out so many times in this country. Has it in anyway made us a more democratic society. And I say all this not with the ignorance of an apolitical individual but with the confidence of a highly politicized citizen who like lots of others my age, managed to eke out a political existence for themselves in this extremely depoliticized environment. Boycott was a principle, meant to reject the few choices that we are offered for a “respectful” existence; to demand a lot more. Elections have always been used by dictators to present a democratic face to the world with little changing in substance on the ground. It was believed that by deciding not to get carried away by the election fever, probably focus could be fixed on the real issues. Constitutionalism, democracy, judiciary could be redeemed for once. That was however, not to be.
The only hope, it seems now is participating in the elections. Difficult times for the country, decisive juncture for politics. This country has matured over these eight years and should not find itself forced into choosing between petty politics and uniformed “guardians”, once again. It’s time for issues to be addressed. ’71 should have been enough to drive home some lessons.
Let’s pray elections prove to be an emollient for many who fled home in swat and waziristan, a balm for those hurt at the injustices meted out in Balochistan, a ray of hope for families who wait for their “missing” relatives, a resolve for BB’s fans, a realization of the state of the stranded judiciary, an adhesive for this fragmented country.
Let these elections unite us all in a silent prayer.