A democratic right 


KARACHI: Pakistanis went to the polls on July 25. We have come a long way from 1947, oscillating between military and civilian rule and so it was a pleasure to witness the third democratic transition take place. Notwithstanding the sporadic episodes of violence and relatively-muted allegations of electoral rigging, the general elections can be deemed successful. However I feel on an individual level, many of us are yet to embrace the concept of democracy wholly. As someone who voted for the PTI candidate for National Assembly and the PPP candidate for the Sindh assembly, I felt the disbelief of people after I told them who my vote went to. Whereas for the PTI, majority of them showed pleasure, their reaction ranged from disbelief to downright disgust when I mentioned the PPP. None of them asked me the reason why I voted in the said manner and it was only after explaining myself did I manage to convince quite a few of the merit of my argument.

The point here is simple — democracy is a political spectrum on which reside many ideologies and political narratives. Underpinning democracy are the fundamental tenets of acceptance, tolerance and the right to exercise your vote. Pakistanis may have exercised their right to vote but when it comes to a healthy dialogue and listening to people’s opinion, they still have a long way to go. We need to accept that no one entity can be perfect and the beauty of a vibrant liberal democracy entails an exchange of ideas and thoughts. We need to listen more and judge less.

Sana Tariq

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2018.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1769201/6-a-democratic-right/