Its okay to be in politics: An interview with Ayesha Haleem
We are weeks away to elect our leaders yet again while our country turns ten in its democratic history.
You don’t expect a political person to entertain you in times like these, after all running an election campaign is not everybody’s piece of cake. Our news channels aka entertainment channels can’t wait to get on board with the likes of Imran Khan, someone from the Sharif family maybe or any other notable politician. What these channels tend to ignore is the struggle of a political worker who spends innumerable hours for a cause much greater than one may perceive.
One of my seniors at college was back in Pakistan for her summer break from UCLA and her business here in Karachi was quite different from a typical overseas student. Ayesha Haleem, a political science student at UCLA is back to run her dad`s election campaign, she was welcoming enough to accommodate us for an interview. Ayesha`s father, Mr. Haleem Adil is running on Pakistan Tehreek – e – Insaf`s ticket for a provincial assembly seat here in Karachi.
The interview was divided into two phases where the first phase was about Ayesha`s personal achievements and the second phase was a discussion on the political landscape of Pakistan.
Background of the first question: Ayesha had recently won an Undergraduate Student Association Council General Representative seat so we asked her whether she plans to pursue politics on a greater level.
Do you wish to pursue politics in the near future?
Well, I am not hundred percent sure whether I’ll pursue politics or not. As a student in the States, I need to weigh my opportunities accordingly, right? I do want to but I am still uncertain about it.
Why is it important for people your age, referring here to the educated youth to participate in the political process?
I think there is a culture of being willingly oblivious to a lot of facts in Pakistan, people here are too reluctant to get out of their comfort zones. If we refer to the privileged class, they just think whatever the political circumstances may be, they won’t be affected at all. I think the day we start thinking about others, the world is going to change.
Since you`re at UCLA, you must have interacted with students from all over the world, do they have any misconceptions about Pakistan?
I don’t think there is a negative perception about the people of Pakistan but the government of Pakistan, people aren’t happy with them. The way people in general or professors in classes talk about our country, its because of the incumbent government and their policies.
What would you prefer, Politics or Social work?
Politics, the kind of impact you’re able to create while being in a position of power is rather successful compared to when you’re starting from the scratch. it helps you to work through the system and leap over the red tapes. Even if you’re in politics and your intentions are right about pursuing something, you’re good to go. We have these preconceived notions about politics and power that whoever climbs that ladder has a demon inside but that’s not the case. Even if I pursue politics in the near future, the ultimate goal is serving the people.
What makes PTI different from other political parties in Pakistan?
I think the whole accountability process within the party is way more transparent than what one finds in PPP, PML N or any other party. If we talk about education and experience, we have the likes of Asad Umar to seasoned politicians like Mr. Qureshi. PTI has been very open to criticism, Imran Khan has the courtesy and the audacity to come up and accept his mistakes on public forums time and again.
The reason no one in PMLN and PPP protested for tickets was that they know it’s not going to work. You only protest if you wish it can change things and it did for PTI workers. The whole process of awarding tickets was so rigorous where each and every concern was accounted for. It`s the culture of debate within the party that differentiates it from others.
The recent influx of electables, if they secure enough seats and IK is in power. Do you think he has the ability to handle the pressure?
Electables and alliances are a completely different thing. Khan has realized that he cant run a solo flight and there is an ideological foundation behind the influx as well as alliances are concerned. If you see the people he has been with, the wavelength is quite similar.
You need to be in power to enact change and if you’re a part of PTI there is this filter which cant guarantee an angel but still, better on a relative scale. It’s the ideology of the better of two evils.
How do you plan on to tackle bhuttoism in Sindh?
It’s hard. We all know Bhutto is a reality but we need to make them realize that it has been decades since Bhutto was voted into power, the world has changed and their lives are still the same. We need to mobilize them on a local level, trying to make them kill the instilled fear factor of what will happen if they don’t vote for Bhutto. We will just show them the mirror and it will work hopefully.
Editor & Interviewer: Shehryar Ejaz
Interviewee: Ayesha Haleem