Siding with any faction, any group, and any political party implies that not only does said group represent you but that also they represent you for a reason. Bestowing, for it is an honour, the right to be represented upon somebody else is quite an undertaking and responsibility for both parties because this means that individuals are resting their voice with a representative or leader and the representatives themselves earning this right and safe guarding it. Of course, such a relationship between people and their representatives as above may appear idyllic, and it is, and in real world terms, the relationship is often converse, with people aligning to a certain school of thought, a certain leadership, a certain political group to represent them.
But before this can be done, the responsibility of establishing such a relationship falls upon the individual to learn and understand just what they and their parties are all about.
In democracies all over the world, the right to information and access is a given and states are often created formed around the concepts of perestroika and glasnost, of openness and transparency so that the citizenry may be able to know all that there is about their government and indeed all that there is to know about those that represent them. This is why during elections in all the major democracies, the party line, their policies, their beliefs are often given in explicit detail to inform those that are going to vote for them about their political views and stance to see if this suits them best.
Of course if such information is available, it is the responsibility of individuals to seek out this information, to study it and at the end, determine if the political party they are affiliated with truly represents them. Elections in the United States for example, often entail an abundance of ways by which the public is informed about political parties from manifestos, to TV spots to televised debates. Each instance is meant to provide the public with enough information so that they can make an informed decision come Election Day.
With the upcoming 2013 elections in Pakistan, the need for the general populace to truly understand their candidates and their political parties has never been greater. While established political parties are contending amongst each other, this election sees a new entrants which the former players will have to contend with for the first time. In such an event, the status quo has been challenged, and such a near-bipartisan system has been overturned to presents voters with new options. Voters, who in the past would ordinarily vote for a certain party out of a sense of loyalty or familial reasons, not knowing what exactly their party stood for will now have to rethink the way they approach the election and their vote.
Preference for any political party remains an individual’s choice but it is this choice that must be unassailable; the voter’s must know what their respective parties stand for and whether or not this is in line with their own thinking. If this is not the case, the vote that they may give is done so in ignorance and for voters to act in such way is an injustice to not only themselves but to others.