Pakistan is going through a historic elections. May 11th 2013 is a day that many doubted would ever arrive. They cannot be blamed as this is the first ever democratic exchange of power in the country’s 66 years of existence.
As the nation cast votes (it is hoped to be one of the biggest turnout of the last six decades), the fate of the country hangs in a balance.
In a country ridden with inflation, corruption, lack of health and educational facilities and even electricity and clean drinking water, what every one considers to be the biggest evil, is the extremism that grips the country.
Terrorism and extremism hve not only clutched the country for decades, it is tightening its noose with every passing day.
Salman Taseer, was the ruling party’s governor in the province of Punjab and he was killed in the name of blasphemy. His crime? Taking a stance against the country’s ridiculous Blasphemy Laws. His murderer is hailed as a hero. Soon after the only minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti was killed in cold blood. A minister, belonging to an influential and educated family, and currently Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman is declared blasphemous for raising her voice against the blasphemy laws and taking a stance for the religious minorities of the country.
Late Salman Taseer’s son, Shahbaz Taseer was kidnapped no one could do anything.
As if to remind the people of a greater power at work, the son of an ex-Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani is kidnapped, his guards killed from a rally no less just two days before the elections. His fate is not yet clear as millions go out to vote for their next government. Link news
Even the election campaigning is plagued with terror and violence.
TTP, Tehreek-taliban-Pakistan ( the Pakistani Taliban, or the umbrella organization for religious extremists fighting the government for its support for U.S.-led military presence in Afghanistan) declared the elections un Islamic and voting illegal in the eyes of religion. Just last week, Pakistan’s extremist religious party Jamaat-i-Islami’s leader Maulana Munawwar Hassan during a rally in Karachi declared that Pakistan was not created for liberalism and the liberalism meant slavery of America.
He also blamed the liberal parties that ruled the country for unemployment, corruption, lawlessness and bloodshed of innocent people. Saying they had brought the country to the verge of destruction. He asked the people to come out of their homes and cast their vote against the liberal parties to get rid of the corrupt leaders once and for all.
Most of the people in Pakistan, having little interest in larger politics and international affairs, want peace in their lives, affordable everyday commodities and a better future for their young ones.
A dream with not a very bright promise of finding fulfillment.
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Yes, a democratic process is taking place, there will hopefully be a peaceful transfer of power but the two parties leading the polls at the moment, Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML_N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) are extremely right wing parties. Give reason why they’re right wing parties – just two lines about it.One wonders what turn things will take when either comes in power. As it is, the extremist elements have proven to be too hard to control by any government.
Alts Hussain, Chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) a mainly Karachi based political party recently said that religious extremists not only belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata but unfortunately those having similar thoughts were also among people of all ethnicities and backgrounds, who were trained and taught in the ways of extremism by Lashkare-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Taliban and even brainwashed.
Senator Raza Rabbani, a member of the country’s ruling party Pakistan People’s Party, says this is part of a bigger game plan and politico-religious parties and right-wing political groups are conniving with the establishment to damage and weaken left-wing parties.
He also feels these elements have international support. The West, especially the US will want a right-wing government which could serve their interests after the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan next year.
As for the two leading parties in these elections, PML-N, is extremely under the influence of Saudi Arabia, where as Imran Khan’s (PTI) affiliation and tolerance of the right wing elements as well as his cultural heritage is no secret.
The extremists who do not believe in a secular, democratic system of governance have a power that no one has been able to curtail so far.
Whereas everyone hopes for a better and more peaceful and liberal and moderate future for Pakistan, there seems to be little hope.