Voters hoping for change, democracy, development

LAHORE: People had hopes over General Elections 2018 and saw Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) as the major players.

The elections of Tuesday were seen as the most-anticipated polls in the history of the country.

Ghulam Fareed, who works for a newly-established private dental college in Bahawalpur, said the youth were taking more interest in politics and wanted to play their role in shaping the future of the country.

“My father used to tell me that we would be living a better life soon. However, we are still living in the same misery. I have seen nothing but tall claims and broken promises,” he said. “Now the youth of Pakistan is more aware and educated over the political issues of the country. Thanks to social media, people living even in remote areas of the province are also more informed. We need more educated people.” He was of the view that only a sincere and energetic leadership would be able to bring prosperity and development to the country.

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“PTI is the harbinger of real change. It will ultimately change the course of politics in Pakistan. I am quite hopeful that something new will emerge in the political scenario of the country,” he said.

Muhammad Aslam, a teacher by trade, said religio-political parties would play an important role in the polls. “I believe religious parties have a larger vote bank in rural areas. Also, people are forced not to vote for a candidate of any other caste. “These people are woven in the caste system.

Real change will not come until they start thinking above this caste and baradari system,” he said. He added the alliance of religious parties would greatly dent the vote bank of PML-N as the previous government faced a number of controversies. He said the outgoing ruling party failed to come to terms with powerful movements which triggered protests across the country.

Muhammad Rizwan, a salesman at a cloth store in Faisalabad, admitted that PTI would give a tough time to PML-N in the elections. “I am a staunch supporter of PML-N and I will cast my vote for the party. However, I can see that that PTI has become very popular in Faisalabad in a short span time,” he said.

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“The business community in the city supports PML-N due to its business-friendly policies while the youth and educated class support PTI. Traders believe that PTI knows little about trade and commerce, while PML-N has a very experienced team. Their policies have given a boost to trade in the country,” he remarked.

Tahir Umar, an IT expert at a public sector university in Sargodha, said political awareness in Pakistan was growing fast which, according to him, was a good omen for the nation. “I believe Pakistan is moving in the right direction and democracy is taking its roots in the country,” he said while expressing his optimism in the process of election. “A complete change in political scenario and thought and will take time. It may be several years. Now educated people should be given a chance to lead the country.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2018.

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