The elections are a time of great scrutiny for any country. These days Pakistan is under a microscope on various levels. The Election Commission of Pakistan scrutinizes the political parties and their candidates, The political parties in turn, incessantly scrutinize the opposing candidates, the public scrutinizes the candidates and their manifestos, the media scrutinizes every aspect of the elections in order to finds a good story and the whole world carefully scrutinizes the transparency and legitimacy of the entire electoral process of the country where the elections are being held.
Pakistan has always been under the watchful eye of the world for numerous reasons; her resources, being the first Muslim state with a nuclear weapon, the political tug-of-war, democracy & dictatorship, terrorism and extremism to name just a few. This incessant global attention stems from the strategic role that Pakistan has played in the history and will continue to do so. In a country that already gets enough attention as it is, the acts of electoral violence will bring out worse yet into the spotlight. This harsh reality of our political situation can really put a question mark on the credibility of the elections and the elected government. These elections are suppose to be about giving every man the right to choose his leader in peace.
If one were to look into the reasons behind the electoral violence only two answers come to light; one: some contestants are willing to do anything to win, by hook or by crook. more often than not, in Pakistan it ends up being crook or in this case violence. and the second: there are forces working against this country who don’t want a change in the status quo of Pakistan.
Then we look at the two types of electoral violence. One form is when militant and extremist groups use violence to deter the public from showing up to vote at all. The other form is when workers and supporters of one political party use violence against workers and supporters of other parties. Of the two, the latter is the worse from because in this case the victims are the innocent people with hope in their eyes. The criminals here are these people who plan to come into power through rigging these elections. If they cannot respect the essence of democracy when they truly need the votes, they will surely disregard the very idea of democracy when elected and sitting in parliament. While little can be done about the militants and extremists before the elections, the supporters of the political parties could certainly refrain from their unethical attempts to strip people of their right to vote.
Nothing positive can ever be achieved through violence. Lives are lost, families ruined, the infrastructure greatly damage, the financial losses incurred, the youth scarred and hope lost but this isn’t even the worst part. The worst thing of all is that no one raises their voice against it, just sit by and watch it happen, hoping that it would end on its own or someone else would do something about it. Their silence makes them a part of the wrong, their inaction accentuates it further.
As Pakistanis, our actions have great repercussions on how the world views us. The world will always keep a sharp eye on Pakistan, hence, it is important to put our best foot forward in face of the external entities and minimize the opportunity for them to believe of us as terrorists.