Over 80 percent of our population will neither read nor understand the language in which this piece has been written, yet I feel it is important for me to write what I must.
They say that decisions, right or wrong, by the national leadership ultimately impact the lives of common people. Who are these common people? The 20-30 percent residing in our cities with access to all forms of media or the remaining 70-80 percent who have virtually no access to any mode of information that impacts their lives? Ironically, it is the latter who actually decide who occupies the high seats in Islamabad.
Over the last 70 years, the country has been ruled by two parties and three military rulers. Did they deliver their promises and fulfil the needs of common people despite you having repeatedly given them the opportunities? Who can you blame for this state of affairs? Would you, the majority, do some soul searching and identify your own role in the mess that you are in? Since your vote makes the ultimate difference, I intend to write your share in the mess.
First, regardless of the candidate’s true potential, you either sell your vote to him/her based on your preference for a particular sect, religion or ethnicity. Second, you cling to a party that has successively failed to deliver – fully cognisant of the reasons of its failures and with no hope to do well.
You also accept to be ruled by families in a system where you and your children can never dream to attain a leadership role despite your potential and honesty.
You make every attempt to hoodwink and cheat merit and force your elected leadership to do the same as long as it brings favours to you and your children.
Moreover, you allow yourself to be used as fodder by the cunning within you to elect incompetent people for considerations other than merit.
Furthermore, keen to make your ends meet, you have become highly insensitive to some very important national issues that warrant your focus in national policy formulations and implementation. Given this insensitivity, you and your children are perpetually destined to be led by the ordinary and the incompetent.
As a result of the role you play, willingly or unwillingly, in our election process and subsequent decision-making, I can conclude that suffer you must for the chaos that has been created.
If you want to reshape your children’s destiny and play your role in building a better country, you must first of all, make a pledge to yourself that you and your children will vote for the most deserving candidate regardless of party, religion and ethnicity. Why can’t a Christian, Hindu or Sikh represent you and me in the assembly if he or she happens to be the best candidate?
Make a pledge to yourself that you are not going to demand any favours from your representative that are not based on merit and fair play. This way you ensure that he or she does not cheat the system and society. You will have every reason to reject him if he or she fails to deliver.
Reawaken and rekindle the spirit that works for the larger interest of your country. This way you will be able to generate meaningful pressure on the leadership when it comes to issues affecting national honour and prestige.
Make a pledge to yourself that you will do everything within your means to educate your children even if you have the means to feed them only twice a day. Remember, only an educated person will have the ability to fight for the rights of people and the understanding to choose the right representative.
Furthermore, regardless of the prevalent challenges within our society, develop your ability and potential to lead politically. There are numerous examples where people with negligible resources but equipped with talent and motivation have made it to the corridors of power. Challenges are to be confronted with persistence and resilience in pursuit of the mission.
Lastly, Pakistan is an Islamic Republic. Make a pledge to yourself that you will do everything within your means to guard our values and way of life like other nations do. Let’s be ourselves unapologetically.
Instead of allowing yourself to be herded by the ordinary few, you have to awaken yourself to play a meaningful role for the country and your future generations or else suffer you must. The choice is entirely yours.
The writer is the director general of PICSS, an Islamabad based independent think tank.