Teen Talwar protests: We are not 'sore losers'

Voting is our right. Even if rigging cost any one party 15-30 seats, it has had a huge impact on the balance of power.

Noman Ansari May 13, 2013
Yesterday evening, at Teen Talwar Karachi, thousands of protestors showed up, making their presence felt for what was at least five colorful hours of dancing and chanting, and calling for reelections over alleged vote rigging.

Not only were there a sea of PTI flags, but national flags, as well as flags proudly bearing the stag symbol of popular independent candidate, Mohammad Jibran Nasir were also seen at the protest. Also, there was PTI candidate DrAlvi, who while chanting from the top of a van scored many cheers with his clever pun, “Is Hal-kay ko halka nahee layna!” (Don’t take this locality lightly – ‘lightly’ and ‘locality’ are similar sound words in Urdu)

Sadly, late into the night, na maloom afraad (unknown people) came to the rally with weapons, using aerial firing tactics to intimidate the peaceful protestors. It was a pity to see this at an energetic rally packed with families, including women and children.

Why certain sections are resorting to violence over peaceful protests is quite confusing, (unless you watched a certain TV address last night) but what is more bothersome is how voters of other parties also seem quite threatened by these protests.

Certain people in authority have accused displeased voters of not accepting defeat in good grace. These comments are quite perplexing, especially with an overload of evidence that rigging may have actually occurred. Perhaps these people in authority are taking things personally, because for them to acknowledge some of the overwhelming evidence would be to admit a failure of ‘free and fair’ elections.

As a PTI supporter, I would like to congratulate Nawaz Sharif sincerely. I don’t believe (at this moment in time) that rigging affected the ultimate outcome of the elections.

But why are we being asked to stay quiet, especially by other citizens? It almost seems like some Pakistanis have become so accustomed to the corrupt elements in the system, that denying them disturbs a basic element of their psyche. Others seem to comically think that because the wave has started in the affluent sectors of Pakistan, the protests hold no legitimacy.

Perhaps the affluent in Pakistan are the freest. Consider the farmers and bonded laborers in Pakistan, who are so victimised, they will sell a vote for merely Rs100. These are the people who continue to give old political parties a respectable number of votes, even after such parties have utterly failed during the past five years. Some of these people are little better than modern slaves, and are the folk who free and fair elections should have actually freed.

After the election results, many, including members of PTI, raced to social media to say that we should accept the election results gracefully. What grace is there in accepting unfairness? Correctly identifying a wrong doesn’t make one a ‘sore loser’.

Voting is our basic right. Even if rigging cost any one party 15-30 seats, it has had a huge impact on the balance of power.

‘Free & Fair Election Network’ is pointing out that in NA 242, there was a 186% turnout. Considering that most places had a 60% turnout, where did all these extra votes come from? Were new voters suddenly born after voter registration?

Here are opinions of two respectable Pakistani journalists:

Here is a link to 15 rigging videos. Considering that it is abnormal for someone to have caught even 10% on camera, one can imagine how many actual cases there are:

Well, one has to stop imagining.

According to The Express Tribune, out of 3,500 polling stations checked so far, nearly 700 reported irregularities.

Let’s let that sink in.

700 so far reported irregularities. That’s 20%. Let’s also keep in mind that these are only the numbers reported. Who knows how deep the rabbit hole goes.

If 20% have reported irregularities, how ‘free and fair’ were these elections? Even if one polling station was rigged we need to investigate these irregularities for the integrity of the democratic process in Pakistan. If people don’t believe in the democratic process, then democracy is dead before it starts. Everyone should feel outraged if the alleged rigging took place, not as members of any one affiliation, but as Pakistani citizens.

I have personally had many first-hand accounts of domestic helpers from countless families, who have claimed that they weren’t allowed to vote the way they wanted by force (by na maloom afraad!).

My request to all Pakistanis is that you wake up for this nation. Saying that rigging didn’t take place is to live in denial. It doesn’t matter with which leader your loyalties lie, because in the end your loyalties should be with Pakistan. It doesn’t matter what party you support, or even if your party won, because you should be fighting for your countrymen’s basic constitutional right to vote without being under duress. Free yourself of party alliances and fight for the basic rights of your fellow Pakistanis.

For the people of Karachi, there is a fresh protest tonight at 6:30pm on Shahra-e-Faisal at the Nursery. Another protest is apparently taking place at Do-Talwar.

At Laik Chowk, Lahore, protests will continue today. Meanwhile, at D-Chowk, Islamabad, protests are taking place as a show of solidarity. Now, there are rumors of protests happening at embassies overseas by international Pakistanis.

Naya Pakistan is an ideal that starts only when we want it to. This land will always remain the same. We, the citizens, are the ones who need to change. We must become Naya Pakistan.

Our leaders have done their job. Let’s take it from here. Let’s show them that we can be free citizens of this great nation.

Read more by Noman here or follow him on Twitter @Pugnate 

Correction: This blog earlier had screenshots of fabricated tweets. They have been removed. The error is regretted.
Noman Ansari The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


np | 11 years ago | Reply @Hardliner: SOrry India is not your jagir that you can ask anyone to go there. You asked for a country based on religion. You got it. Most Indian Muslims within boundaries of present day India actually chose to stay in India. They are as Indian as anyone else. But for those that they left - well that's what they chose. It was a one way ticket. Waapasi ka rassta khula nahi hai.
Citizen | 11 years ago | Reply @AQ You explain it so well. I wonder if any of these new kids on the block have the depth and patience to read through the whole post and understand the mechanics of the election process. If not they, at least their local leaders like Alvi etc should be telling them not to make fool out of themselves.
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