Why I cancelled my vote

Voting was like praying,I didn't know how to ask for what I wanted, I assumed He already knew. I just couldn't do it.

Natasha Raheel May 30, 2013
You know that awkward personal moment right after offering your prayers, when you are supposed to say a dua, ask for something and you really can’t come up with anything. So you say, “Allah Mian, you know what I need”, before wrapping up the janemaz.

My voting experience could not have been any different from this; it was pretty much like saying my Namaz. Until that awkward moment arrived.

Suddenly the most attractive box on the ballot papers was the last one filled with horizontal and vertical lines. I thought “well isn’t this representing how I feel? Aren’t we a nation caught in between white noise for too long?” None of the signs, the names of the candidates seemed appropriate, they just didn’t represent me.

Like I would conclude my prayers with “Allah Mian, you know what I need”, I thought, maybe putting the stamp on any name should make sense, all of these political parties and candidates who chose to nominate themselves as the next caretakers of the country should know their duties too. They should know what citizens need.

But the pessimist in me just suppressed these thoughts and I cancelled my vote.

I can be judged for doing so, for not using my right and not making up my mind on the lesser evil. Socially too, I felt the divide, right among my friends, where I was probably labelled as less intellectual than them, mostly for not choosing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI.)

I couldn’t have been more discreet in my choice.

Two weeks into the elections, all I can see and hear on TV and roads are dharnas and more dharnas from the major political parties in Karachi, reaffirming my view that the leaders are still immature.

Despite the results of the elections, rigged or not, they can’t put the people first. For now it’s more about trolling and bashing anyone you find holding a different opinion than yours.

I learnt in university that a bad democracy was better than the best dictatorship. The good thing maybe is that the elections exposed us as a nation.

I’m more concerned about the general intolerance among the liberals, conservatives and the moderates. However, we fail to see as a nation that democracy is not an option anymore. It’s the necessity for all the players involved.

If I can track why I chose to cancel my vote, there will be more than a hundred questions in my mind, as to why I reacted that way and there is no right answer.

Read more by Natasha here.
Natasha Raheel Designation: Sub-Editor Department: Sports Type: Head
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Haseeb Talal Khan | 9 years ago | Reply Democracy, in my opinion, is the worst system of Governance, where 100 idiots decide to make another idiot their representative, while opposite lesser number of educated, qualified and knowledgeable would be deprived of their say in the system. The country where, Democracy, can only bring injustice, lawlessness, illiteracy etc etc., this mode of government can only be applicable to the countries, where, people have equal say at one point, and they have equally centric educated from the same mode of education for all...The international establishments with the help of capitalism, have given democracy a rule to the masses by attracting poor, third world countries like Pakistan, by giving money in the name of development, to sell their weapons, and constantly top up the laons from well known capitalist institutions, like IMF & World bank. just to make them more poor and under previledged.... we had seen the repercussions of Socialism, in Bhutto's rule of Govt., and we had gone through a tough lean patch since the departure of him in the name of Democracy. The solution is only Communism has to be tested..Keeping fingers crossed....
Faraz | 9 years ago | Reply @Emjay: Yes, if you look at the behavior of the public in general, I don't think we deserve democracy at all. We are the public without any vision. We start walking in any direction we are turned to. I don't know about you, but at least I think that the current leaders of our nation are not the right representatives of the country, so definitely democracy is not for us, and in the case when you don't know who the correct leader for you is, it is better to cancel your vote than to vote for some crook.
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