Pakistan Elections 2008: Awam Express Has Arrived

Posted on February 28, 2008
Filed Under >Deeda-e-Beena, Politics, Society
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Pakistan election 2008They were always there but nobody gave them any recognition. They waited patiently and long for their day and at long last when it arrived, they acted. Quietly they arrived in their millions, got their thumbs inked and had a line marked at the edge of their thumb-nails. They went into the privacy of the polling booths, stamped the symbol of their choice, performed their sacred duty and left as quietly as they had come. What each of them did as an individual, aggregated into a colossus.

The results we are now witnessing are not the result of any plan or a grand design. Simply put, they all thought like-mindedly and voted to that focus. By not giving any one party the run of the place, they have also created their own system of checks and balances – each keeping an eye on the other. With the maturity they have displayed this time; their message to their elected representatives and the political parties is loud and clear: “We will be watching.” Hopefully there will be a next time for them.

Carefully scrutinising the print media and TV coverages of people lining up to vote in the February 18th election revealed that a certain class of people were absent. Talking to scores of our “like-minded / looking” confirmed that many of them did not bother to vote. That is not to say that all of them were absent. This election their excuse was fear and security but for their preferred reasons they never vote any way. With a degree of pride, I have heard them also say that no one deserves their vote. Often enough they donot bother even to register as voters.

Amazingly the elite hiding behind euphemisms are now extolling what they as the so called “civil society” and the newly created category – “the stake-holders” – have accomplished. Who would like to stand for hours in long lines among all these Awam, await their turn and Vote in the cause of democracy so dear to us?

No one is giving credit to those, whom in a condescending if not disparaging manner we have been calling Awam. Yet it is these Awam who came out in multitudes and accomplished what we, the elite only talked or wrote about.

Another disappointment in the cause of democracy was very low showing in voting of the group of youth. The lowering of voting age to 18 years has not translated into enlarging the vote banks and the parties made little effort to encourage, reach out and include them. Add to that the miserable showing, even in some areas in the country, discouragement and banning of female voters. These factors must be added to the explanations being given for the low voter turn-out.

Let us look at these photos as a mirror and face the facts. Do we really see in these droves a reflection of ourselves?

What brought out the Awam in such numbers and a clear focus, that they could, in one fell sweep remodelled the entire dynamics of the system? When George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton It was said: “It is the economy stupid.” Who can imagine this complex and sophisticated economics would be so clearly simplified and acted upon by these Pakistani commoners. Several factors could be cited for reaching that clarity, to name just two. Firstly, they were hurting in their pockets for long but did not come out on the streets and waited. Secondly, the proliferation of TV media played a pivotal role in creating an awareness and understanding of the issues. Let us remember they may not be literate to benefit from the printed word like us but, they can watch and listen and God has given them a brain to comprehend.

In this and other forums, I have often asked who “the Awam?” is I have also asked here on this Blog “Am I an Awam” and no one has so far responded. Is Awam the same as “the People” in Urdu? If so, then “We the People” would translate into “We the Awam” OR “Hum Awam” By accepting that it would eliminate the virtual Caste system that we sub-consciously practice all the time and in all our inter-actions with “Them.” And do we really wish that to happen?.

20 responses to “Pakistan Elections 2008: Awam Express Has Arrived”

  1. Rafay Kashmiri says:

    @ Awam-un-naas and Khawaas,

    The Prophets of ” doom” are, often not heard, because it
    does not ‘ arrange’ the false Awami Prophets.
    Awam-e-Khaas, does not exist, only in imaginations of Mussawati Dugdugi-baz “self proclaimed Leaders “.

    Human history proves that only Khawaas changed the
    world, for good or bad, atleast as they always claimed.
    And when these Khawaas seems failling, they bring in
    the ” Awaam” instead of calmely accepting their failure,
    thus mixing donkeys and horses resulting in a total anarchy
    and destruction, just look around all the secu/marxists
    societies, or countries!! a total disaster, even when they
    “convert” to capitalism, the disaster multiplies.

    Dewarein Banata hay awam-un-naas hi
    Dhata bhi hay, phir, wohi awam-un-naas hi

    Ghurbaton ka bhi wasta dayta hay yeh
    usraton mein kabhi rulatah hay yeh

    Duhaiyan bhi, zulm ki deyta hay yeh
    Laletch ki chakki mein bhi, pista hay yeh

    Nasl-parasti, ko ujagar bhi karta hay yeh
    Lisaaniat ko banata hay ik fitnah bhi yeh

    Corruption kerta hay, aur karwata hay yeh
    Ujlat mein asani say phir, bhool jata hay yeh

    Qatl karta hay, maqtool bhi hota hay yeh
    Kehtein hein, taraqqi bhi chahtta hay yeh

    Kahein, Afghani-o-Felastini-o-Iraqi hay yeh
    Rafay, Kashmir banata hay awaam-un-naas hi

    Rafay Kashmiri

  2. Jamshed Nazar says:

    There are structural problems in the fedration of Pakistan.

    Punjab is too big and needs to be broken up in three provinces. Water, Gas, shipping, food resources need to be re allocated based on need and contribution of communities rather than Punjabi establishment in army and islamabad making all the decisions.
    We have too much of a useless army that keeps conquering its own lands. we have useless nukes that are only a security risk ot the country itself.
    we have a huge uneducated population with almost no social support system and poor skills. drive twenty kilometers outside any major city and you arrive in the nineteenth centuary.
    Energy and electricty is a major input for industrial development and we are short on both.

    The only economic competitive advantage we have in the global business world – plantations of raw cotton – is a gift of the british colonial empire from the nineteenth centuary.

    Ask Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari how much tax they have paid in the last 5, 10, 20 years? this is their contribution dowards social development.

    Social traditions, education system and media in the country portray a jehadi mentality that pushes the youth towards utopian conflifts of religious morality.

    Independent minded and educated middle classes, and not so many of these exist in pakistan, understand the problems of our banana republik. That is the reason why they stand for rule of law, social justice, and development goals.

    There are positive signs that have emerged from the elections. However, the problem is within the dynaistic political parties. New leadership cannot emerge if Nawaz Sharif or BB / Zardari fail and the Awam, as as smart as they are claimed to be in your post, keep voting for the same old people.

    I ask this simple question
    Would Asif Zardari give up his billions of foreign accounts and properties that he siphoned off the economy of pakistan?
    Even less than that, would he not repeat the same business dealings that have been the hallmark during his last two stints in the PM office?
    Would Nawaz Sharif start paying taxes and return the money his empire owes to the people of pakistan? or perhaps not take part in his business interest atleast till his he and his part hold public office?

    Why do the Awam tolerate all this and keep going for the same “solutions”?

  3. Sarmad says:

    Well done! Who says awam means idiots? The prophets of doom are nothing but a bunch of incureable narcissists, who think their borrowed logic is their own. Awam is opposite of Khawas, which is general and particular. If one doesn’t count one self in general, it simply implies he/she thinks to be particular. Interestingly, particular becomes particular when it gets general acceptance. With out that authority, one would be a self-proclaimed particular, apne mun mian mithoo!
    Visit Gujrat of Chaudhries and you shall see for yourself what they did for their constituency. And also ponder over why awam did what it did. It doesn’t require Socrates or Plato to figure out AWAM have grown sadder but wiser. If Sharif or Zardari fails to deliver, the next choice shall take care of everything. Those who are bent on seeing the half empty glass ought to wait a bit longer. In the mean time, it would be of immense benefit for pessimists if they learned a bit of empathy.

  4. Pantar says:

    There is an old saying “Once a politition is always be the politition”.Same senerio goes with the Pakistan’s politics,” once a corrupt politition is always be the corrupt polition”. So better wait and see and expect nothing from them.

  5. faraz says:

    It is nice article about NS. NS stand for judiciary seems to be more motivated by his personal vendata then his desire for true rule of law.

    Anyway, he is saying right thing about judiciary but thats not enough. Our leaders needs to be press about sharing of powers at different level of governments, provincial autonomy, their vision on war on terror and many other issues.

    We are just acting as “intellectual pressure group”.

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