Having recently filed his nomination papers and declaring his assets unflinchingly this early on, is proof that he is all for transparency and committed in every way. PHOTO: Mahwish Rizvi Photography

I am one of the 'entitled millennials' whose conscience got pricked by Mohammad Jibran Nasir

The idea of someone having the audacity to take that step, with no political background or ‘family dynasty’,...

Afrah D Musa June 18, 2018
There was a post making its rounds on Facebook that caught my attention, which said,
“If you were to meet your eight-year-old self today, what advice would you give?”

And then a slightly more chilling question,
“What would your eight-year-old self say about you?”

I remember myself at eight, naïve and highly impressionable, living in a world of make-believe, convinced that life was as simple as being one of the good guys and standing up against all forces of evil.

But with time and growth came the realisation that things aren’t so simple.

This is a blog I may perhaps be better off not writing. I should turn my back on this. I tell myself ‘this’ does not concern me. Politics is not my field. I have very little understanding of it.

But that’s the thing; it absolutely does concern me.

Because, I am tired of my life being crippled by the savage kind of privilege that makes you believe that something doesn’t matter because it does not affect you personally.

I am one of the entitled millennials, living a life of privilege. I have lived quietly in this city, keeping my head down. I am one of those people, who if they were to get an off for ‘some protest or another’, they would simply be happy with the prospect of a holiday and not bother about discovering any more.

But I can trace the beginning of my social awareness to one event. The time in 2013 when Mohammad Jibran Nasir announced he was going to run as an independent candidate for the elections.

I have never met him. But the idea of someone having the audacity to take that step, with no political background or ‘family dynasty’ backing him up, threw me. For the first time, I was forced to wonder, am I living in an all too blissful comfort-zone?

I have followed him throughout the years on social media and heard him speak and act uprightly. I remember his videos from 2013. The guy who reached out to the people then was young, passionate and vibrant.

But the man who recently announced his independent candidacy looked haggard, as if time had weighed heavily on him. And indeed, it has. Since the campaign against Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid, he has faced numerous death threats and eviction, and given the reactive and intolerant natures of us Pakistanis, continues to face abuse daily on social media for his outspoken critique.

However, I began to notice how whenever he would post about a cause, the movement would spread like wildfire on social media. This is the same social media that was available to us long before Nasir was known to so many. However, there were few individuals who were rallying for a cause as fervently and giving others the opportunity to rally behind them.

These would make perhaps the most profound reasons to vote for him: he is someone who makes the best of the resources he has, and proves that you don’t necessarily need ‘power’ to help people. He gives a voice to the voiceless, without any security escort by his side. He doesn’t shy away from talking about issues that are less than popular including enforced disappearances, minority rights, child abuse and so on.

The support he offers his fellow citizens is widespread: from campaigning for justice to setting up heatstroke shelters. Moreover, having recently filed his nomination papers and declaring his assets unflinchingly this early on, is not only proof that he is all for transparency but totally committed in every way.

A friend who lives abroad once told me that when faced with an issue regarding community development, she didn’t hesitate to write to her local MP. I cant imagine doing that here. I simply wouldn’t be comfortable. But that may change if someone like Nasir were to be the MP.

There are many achievements that speak in his favour not least of all, the case of the murder of Shahzeb Khan and attempted murder of Khadija Siddiqi. But for me, it were more subtle things I noticed that convinced me; if there is one man who cares about others more than his own ego, it is him.

It is him not shying from duties that most would consider ‘lowly’ and actively participating in cleaning drives of government hospitals. It is him refusing to attack other people’s personal lives (even though it’s something we and our politicians engage in daily), and even walking out of a live TV show because another interviewee’s personality was being attacked.

The focus so far has been one man but that is solely because through his initiative, I have gained insight into a lot of the issues the country is facing. However, I must emphasise that this blog is not about glorifying any individual. Glory belongs only to the Creator. All the creation can do is try.

This is a man who is trying.

I would tell my eight-year-old self to side with him and to use my right to vote well and cast it in his favour. I would tell my eight-year-old self that sometimes, it’s about trying to recognise the one who is doing good and is on the side of good.
Afrah D Musa
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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Hashim Hasan | 2 years ago | Reply | Recommend Let us use NOTA power against LOTAs With Election Commission introducing NOTA option in the ballot paper, it is time that the voters who become powerful and lay down conditions to vote. No vote for any Lotas for the simple reason that they are habitual and power hungry politicians who have failed to deliver in the past. It is time to think what we need for our respective constituencies for instance for Karachi where I come from, we can lay down the following conditions and vote for only those candidates who agree to fulfill our basic requirements. For instance Karachiites should ask for water even if it is rationed but we must know our individual quota, cleanliness of the city, a local contact office within the constituency where the candidate must visit once in 3 months and it should be open 9 to 5 manned by someone who can take complaints and fix them too. We should also get an Affidavit designed which must restrict the candidate from nepotism, taking bribes, raising our issues in the assembly, in case of death or ineligibility the best person to replace and not a relative and must represent our constituency’s issues when the session is in progress. Those who sign it and do not deliver, we should have the power to go to a court provide evidence and de-seat the individual. This is the only way where voters can retain their power throughout the tenure of the candidate. If Pakistanis can run a social media campaign to stop visiting Murree, I am sure we can do this too. Hashim Hasan Karachi
HeyAow | 2 years ago | Reply | Recommend Good luck to him :)
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