Pakistani voter’s competence to bring change

ByUzair Ali

He is in the finance sector


July 19, 2023

Pakistani voter’s competence

Uzair Ali casts a glance at the typical Pakistani voter

Pakistani Voter’s Competence – It is repeated ad nauseum that vote is a sacred trust and it should be used conscientiously. What is required is actually to educate the voter about the pros and cons of exercising his right to vote. The majority of Pakistani voters consist of simple people who are pulled in different directions by wily political elements. They are mostly used as pawns in the run for obtaining power and then grossly neglected. Like any other merchandise their vote is a commodity procured to be used for the purpose of exercising state power.

The entire exercise of democracy becomes suspect in countries like Pakistan and the argument that everybody is equally affected by the laws made by the representatives and therefore should have a right to elect their lawmakers runs hollow when the actual competence of Pakistani voter is taken into account. The current adult franchise in Pakistan is weighted in favour of an ignorant electorate that has failed again and again to justify the democratic ideal it has made out to be. The low literacy rate in Pakistan disables a vast majority of the electorate to distinguish right from wrong. Moreover, its cumulative existence is made to eke out a living and is not able to think about anything else at all.

The concept that adult suffrage is aimed at imparting political education to the people encouraging them to take interest in the government they are creating has also fallen flat in Pakistan where the majority of voters is considered ‘captive’ in nature. The complexity of state governance emphasises that the people who vote for elected representatives should be in consonance with the mental agility required for it but Pakistani scenario is dangerously devoid of it. The result is that an uninformed voter always votes for the contestant whom he knows and is impressed by his influence rather than on the basis of the policies of his affiliated party. The most damning prospect is that a rich contestant person can purchase the votes from the poor people turning the entire democratic process into a mockery. Unfortunately both these factors are predominantly prevalent in Pakistan.

The voter of Pakistan is singularly uninformed as had been proved by many electoral exercises the country has experienced. He is unable to distinguish the finer points of an election manifesto that propels the political leadership to entice him with hollow slogans like roti, kapra and makaan. The voter will never be able to grasp the reality of the fantastic first 100-days agenda given by PTI. No voter is able to judge the real cost of a project shown to be undertaken for the benefit of his area. He will never be able to calculate the sustainability of such projects. He is blissfully ignorant of the fact that subsidised projects end up being paid by him through indirect taxes and galloping inflation.

The voter in Pakistan has not been made alive to the consequences of the opportunity provided for him to enable people to reach highest decision making avenues in the country. It is still a horde of unguided missiles taking direction from experienced opportunists. Sometime it is painful to observe that the fate of the country is given in the hand of the typical unaware Pakistani voter who does not know the basics of democratic responsibility placed on him. Efforts are always made to portray the Pakistani voter as a wily species who is conscious enough to change a given scenario but time and again he has proved himself to be more of a collaborator of the status quo than change.

The operators involved in the process may be multifarious in nature but the onus of responsibility of the outcome of this nation-wide poll rests firmly at the voter. The common, unadulterated voter who may not he even educated is expected to add his weight in determining the course of political governance for a rather long period of five years. Never an election in Pakistan is fought on an organised set of campaign manifesto though political elements tried to dazzle the voter through a series of glittering promises. The wider national issues were never presented to him in a logical manner asking him to offer his opinion through casting his vote.

It is often noted that adherence to copy-cat democratic rituals such endless elections, unqualified leaders, uninformed voters and short-term thinking are impeding the economic growth. The real sense of a working democracy is dependent upon its delivering socio-economic dividends but in Pakistan the case is just the opposite. The current voter of Pakistan is devoid of the necessary criteria considered essential for a democratic process to succeed. The voting system should be weighted in favour of voters who fulfill desired requirement of an adult franchise that brings to power worthy political figures. Until the Pakistani voter is brought to par with such requirements he will churn out self-serving governance dispensations. Pakistani voter is the obvious weak link in the exercise of democracy in Pakistan. The Weekender


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