The poor voter
The poor voter is once again becoming the centre of attention. Numerous new methods are being thought up to “convince” the voter to vote for them. Politicians spent the last four and a half years ignoring the voter, not taking any notice of them, spending their time in power proudly flaunting the ballot paper that the voter gave them and having “fun” with it. In return for the vote, the big shots in power get their demands met by their partners in power and make things a little easier for themselves but immensely difficult for the voters, eventually ending up at the same point where they started off from.
What a long journey they have performed that even they cannot believe it. They surpassed all kinds of difficulties, kept saving their seat by giving and taking. But the public, by whose votes they actually attained all of these “luxuries of power”, has been pushed so far behind that now the rulers require ladders to be found in order to reach out to the public. Time is running and all we have now is a single, scheming mastermind to run the entire game by keeping everyone happy and “united”. Now everyone is worried about themselves. They all know that every penny they earned has now been spent and it is time for them to do something new so that they are able to stand beside the public and “humbly” request their votes. So now they are all busy thinking up new ways for this purpose.
New developmental projects evolve and funds are released for those projects just two to three months before every new budget is released. All those “new” projects that had been closed for the last eight months suddenly set in motion. Roads start getting dug everywhere; electricity poles are erected. New bills are being passed in the assemblies. Areas are being divided up entirely for personal convenience; the hearts and minds have been divided to suit each others’ convenience. But this time the big shots have something big planned for the voters, as they need the votes to be divided this time. This time whatever they’re cooking up, is bound to draw in some large queues.
These poor innocents mustn’t be blamed for not being able to do any work for the last four and a half years. You know how the establishment and the courts hardly let these poor souls breathe while in power, how could they do the work they were supposed to do? In addition, their own expenditures are hardly met, how can they be expected to spend on the public? The first and foremost priority is their allies who must be kept pleased no matter how difficult it gets. Everyday, there were new wishes and demands that needed to be dealt with, so how could it have been possible for them keep the nation happy as well simultaneously? Despite everything, according to them, the public’s vote is apparently still in their pockets.
The Sharif brothers, who were the activists of the “Jaag Punjabi jag” slogan, have now merged into the supporters of the confederation. The nationalists of Sindh, whose speeches used to start and end on Punjab, and the Kalabagh Dam that was supposed to be constructed upon their corpses, have now allied themselves with the Sharif brothers in the hope that now they will help them reach the chambers of power. The ANP who was the supporter of the progressive ideology and had lost its members in the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda, now has its ministers announcing bounties in the favour of their old enemies and the ANP is sitting quiet on the sidelines as if it never heard anything at all.
The Q league that used to be called the Qatil league is now being called the Qabil league and will be asking for votes hand in hand with the PPP. Even Khan Sahab is busy in the addition and subtraction, as Sheeda Tulli joins his ranks and the Lahore rally further increases the numbers of his followers. Let us see how auspicious the Waziristan march proves to be for Khan Sahab.
The PML-F and PML-J have always used their allies to remain in power. They enjoyed being in power for the 10 years of Musharraf’s rule along with Bhai Sahab and have been in power in Sindh for the last four and a half years. Today, they wear the cloak of opposition and sit with the nationalists in the opposition, who now consider them their heroes.
The two “friends” here, who actually are two bodies but they appear as one to our eyes. They engage in a cat-and-mouse chase, with one of them gaining dominance sometimes over the other and vice versa. But it seems that this time they are dividing up everything amongst themselves in such a way that the one who would normally be the dominant is going to sustain losses. And the one who is in profit right now has always remained in profit and will continue to remain in profit. His Creator has given him such a great ability that nobody can come into power without his help, neither Mian Sahab, nor Khan Sahab or even the nationalists. All roads to power must pass through London and Rawalpindi.
And anyway Bhai Sahab is the jack of all trades who can make you cry and laugh simultaneously. Whenever he wants, he becomes Pakistani, or holds a rally to get his Afia “sister” released. He is nationalist, progressive, liberal as well as secular and sometimes Shia and sometimes Sunni. Whether it is women’s rights or human rights, everything is present in his pockets. The thing whose time is determined, they release the same thing at the same moment.
Here, the religious parties may have numerous conflicts amongst them but they surpass all their disagreements and manage to form an alliance with each other. All they need is one signal that shall move the thread into activity and all of them will be seen standing together. The parties have no program or charter but are merely on a march towards March. Some are taking out a peace march, whereas the rest are taking out a Waziristan march. Religious parties will remain marching in order to express their Ishq-e-Rasool until they get another issue to march upon. The voter has always given his or her vote by force and rigging. It doesn’t matter whether the voter lives in the city or a village. There is a wadera in the village and another urban wadera in the city. All that is required is a single order.
By the way, the vote will be given on the basis of nationalism, community, tribe or sect. New slogans are being invented but they don’t mention inflation, poverty, unemployment, education and health at all. Those in power have already started making the divisions by making the masses thirsty for each other’s blood. Let’s see where these “protectors of the masses” take us. Will they fire the gun from the shoulders of the voter or do they plan on firing it themselves?
The author has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. He is currently working for DAWN as an illustrator.