Do you think yourself fortunate for living in a state where you have the right to vote for the future of your country? Do you realize what this one vote you have stands for? This vote embodies your rights: the right to participate directly in the political process of Pakistan, the right to be heard as a citizen of this State, the right to decide what is best for the country, the right to hold those accountable who did not perform while in power and the right to hold your elected officials liable for not doing their job. This right, however, is also a responsibility and a duty that you, as a Pakistani, owe your country.
If you do not intend to cast your vote in these elections, not only are you foregoing your constitutional right but more significantly you are denying the responsibility that you have towards the future and fate of Pakistan. By staying back home on the election day and merely criticizing the situation of this country, you aren’t actually helping anyone, not even yourself.
We’ve all heard the arguments against voting: “There is not a single good candidate”, “The elected officials don’t care about the mandate, all they want is money and power”, “A single vote won’t make a world of difference”, “I would not stand all day long in long queues just so that another guy gets his chance to rob Pakistan even more”, “I can’t stand in the sun for that long” et cetera. Ask yourself whether these excuses actually justify not exercising the right to vote.
Do you imagine one has the right to complain about everything wrong that is going on in Pakistan if he/she did not even so much as cast a vote to express who he/she thinks can do good for Pakistan? What is unfortunate still is that there is quite a significant number of people who think this way. They leave the country in the hands of those they do not trust to run it. By not casting their vote, they let wrong people win because whether the non-voters realize it or not, their silence only amplifies the noise of those who are not worthy of being elected into the government. By not voting, they allow the diehards’ votes to be twice as strong.
In that event does a non-voter, no matter how sincere he thinks he is to Pakistan, has no right to complain. He cannot talk about those who are pushing Pakistan to its doom when he did not himself do anything to stop them. He can not possibly criticize the system when he did not himself vote for those who can rectify it. He should not be allowed to whine about the flaws in the government for the next five years because he chose to be silent on the election day. He may argue that one vote could not have made much difference but then again he forgets that there are many others like him who waste their vote.
If you must express yourself out loud, there is no time better than the elections. You can speak your mind in the wake of the elections but it won’t make any difference, those will just be words that would be said, heard and then forgotten. Let your vote be your voice. Speak when it truly matters.