Do We Have A Choice?
A state where one has to be skeptical about what will happen next?
In the next four days, approximately 106 million Pakistanis will be up against a ballot box. The practice will be conventional enough for some, voting for the same caste, clan, tribe or god knows what. The rest may be confused about their political preference while others won’t bother enough for an early wake-up call on a public holiday.
The question isn’t about who will be the next person to lead a motorcade into the constitutional avenue with a graceful sherwani. It’s on what grounds will the people of Pakistan vote. We haven’t had a delightful share of democracy as opposed to our neighbors or arch rivals as one may perceive them to be.
So what do we have here?
- A cricketer turned politician with a strong anti-corruption narrative, Imran Khan.
- A successful administrator in the past with a development narrative although his brother tagged along with democratic buzz words, Shahbaz Sharif.
- A young descendant who has been tasked to carry the legacy of someone as legendary as ZA Bhutto followed by his slain daughter, Benazir. Bilawal has been campaigning for an “Awaami” democracy, in other words, people friendly.
W[/caption]Well, we do have two Oxford graduates to work with. I have had an opportunity to discuss our political choices as a nation with intellectuals like career diplomats, professionals and those who have been seeing prime ministers taking oath since the days of Liaquat Ali Khan.
What did I get from them is nothing similar to what the modern day Pakistanis are thinking about. Our twitter and facebook timelines are flooded with a customized political spectrum, one wishes to be secular enough while other wants to proclaim a socialist narrative with a bit of religious touch. How on earth is that possible? Well at the end of the day, its Pakistan so everything is possible.
Who could have thought back in the 80`s, the charming playboy will enter something as dirty as Pakistani Politics? The cricketer turned politician who wasn’t able to secure much political space at the beginning of his career is finally a candidate to lead the country. As a politician, Imran was considered naive enough and the pundits had bestowed him with a classic failure label. From a single seat in 2002 to forming the provincial government in Pakistan`s North Western Province, Imran and his party has certainly achieved a lot in a state of affairs where they were the underdogs not long ago.
Imran wants to incorporate judicial, health and educational reforms across the country while he benchmarks the PTI led coalition government in KPK for the same. With as ambitious as Imran his, he needs a clear majority to undertake such measures. One may term Imran honest enough but its Imran`s stubbornness and arrogant attitude that can cause him a lot of political capital. On administrative grounds, Imran`s PTI is still considered weak and distant from rural Pakistan.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
Roti, Kapra or Makaan, Ilm, Sehat, Sab ko Kaam.
Wow, too many commas to start with. The slogan can be traced back to the likes of ZA Bhutto with a few additions may be. Whatever Bilawal is advocating for is rather consisting of PPP`s ideology where Bhutto envisioned a people-friendly democracy but there’s a twist here. There’s a man behind Bilawal, Mr. Z, perhaps the only reason people don’t take Bilawal seriously enough.
The former president who has been appreciated for his witty political skills, Zardari is not your usual Pakistani politician. Political ideology, a direction, parliamentary politics is something Mr. Z isn’t interested in. It’s the entire power corridor, Mr. Z aspires for.
Though Bilawal is still considered an amateur in Pakistani politics. If he seems to spend enough time within the system he may lead Pakistan someday but the next election its Mr. Zardari with his pawns.
Performance & Promise
As an administrator, one of the most credible political personalities one may think off. Lately, Mr. Sharif has been forced to step into his brother`s shoes, now that’s, not an easy task. The duo always went along with defiance and development, and now it’s hard for the younger Sharif to self-impose defiance over development.
Shahbaz has certainly delivered in Punjab but can he handle national political pressures is something we need to wait for. Its been ten straight years with Shahbaz leading Pakistan`s Punjab province but the opposition still highlights his bias with Northern Punjab particularly Lahore. Clearly, the Sharifs are more interested in infrastructure and development while they seem to lack the street power, PPP once possessed back in the days of Bhutto or his daughter.
PMLN is a rather “Karobari Tabqa” party, business-friendly in other words and suddenly after Sharif`s conviction, they have been forced to undergo a narrative shift.
Even if PMLN bags more than eighty national seats, with the N of PMLN residing in Adiala Jail, it`ll be a victory for the Sharifs.
One can not be certain enough about the next government but we do have a choice, a choice to improve our future, a choice to elect someone who can represent us and finally a choice to perform our foremost obligation as a citizen.
(Thumbnail Image Link: https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/323857-pakistan-singer-to-contest-election-against-imran-bilawal-shahbaz)