Pakistan Elections 2008: Why the lull this Time?

Posted on February 13, 2008
Filed Under >Syed Ahsan Ali, Politics, Society
16 Comments
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Syed Ahsan Ali

I have witnessed few elections since 1990. It has always been a fun witnessing elections in your mohalla in the hustle bustle of Karachi.

Pakistan Elections 2008Pakistan Elections 2008Pakistan Elections 2008Pakistan Elections 2008

Motorbike riders running around on their bikes flashing flags of parties of their preference. This is considered by some to be a nuisance but they play a vital role in adding color to the whole ambiance of elections. I still remember vividly that passionate girls and boys of my area lighting the oil lamps on the order of their leader.

At that time, I was not having any like and dislikes regarding parties. We brothers and sisters just enjoyed the festivities of the occasion. Going to the election offices with our father to take a look at the voting list to make sure that names of our family members are there or not was one enthralling experience. My mother was an enthusiastic voter.

Different parties arranged conveyance for the voters to take them to the polling stations. Party workers running after us with polite smiles gave all of us giggles because on that day public, general public becomes the real power. Every political worker knows the significance of making voters happy on the day of elections and that made all of our families felt empowered at least for the couple of days when voting has to be held.

And the biggest and best part of entire election occasion was PTV-run marathon transmission to give the results at the earliest. Watching Naeem Bukhari sitting in his neatly clad suits churning out joke after joke in his usual Punjabi-Urdu-English mixed lingo with decent and ever-alert Qurat-ul-Ain Haider, sister of well-known anchor Tauseeq Haider, in the studios waiting for first results to filter in were the moments I cherished.

There have been many other respected anchors especially the likes of Laeeq Ahmed, Mustansar Hussain Tarar and Kanwal Naseer. They were there in the hot seats where they found the first pieces of news from every region of Pakistan to keep us informed with reliable information. Listening to the experts sitting on the other side of the panel discussing the chances of PPP and PML in their strongholds late in the night while eating snacks was an enjoyment of its own kind.

Another thing that kept us glued to our screens were the skits and sitcoms during the transmission written by Anwar Maqsood, Atta-ul-haq Qasmi, and several other prominent playwrights with the cast of Moin Akhter, Bushra Ansari, Habib-ullah Anjum and Ismaeel Tara woke us from our slumber.

But this time, in the 2008 elections, things are lot more tense and uncertain.

Fewer people seem willing to cast their vote.

Everyone is asking to each other what is going to happen after elections? The biggest concern is the law and order situation.

What kind of terror can be felt when arms and ammunition remain on display. How can we feel the ‘thrill’ of elections when confronted with the possibility of suicide attacks?

Even today, there are polling offices, elections songs, voters’ lists, motorbike-riders in almost every union council in Karachi. But what is missing is the eagerness to cast ones vote. We are not clear that we will be safe if we do so. Nor are we clear that it will make a difference. And votes is what this whole hullabaloo is all about.

I pray that we all get out of this peacefully and we move towards peaceful transition.

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16 responses to “Pakistan Elections 2008: Why the lull this Time?”

  1. Aik Aur Dewana says:

    Attorney General thinks elections will be massively rigged;

    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/02/14/pakist18069 .htm

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