LAHORE: A group of 18 to 20 people turned out at the Liberty Roundabout on Saturday holding placards urging people to exercise their right to vote in the next election.
The event advertised as Freeze Mob was organised to spread awareness about citizens’ responsibility to vote in elections, organiser Mehreen Rana said.
She said it was arranged simultaneously in three cities – in Lahore and Islamabad by Origami and in Karachi by Act One.
Rana, the Origami chief executive officer, said they had hoped to bring out 75 to 100 people. “It’s difficult for people to leave their houses over the weekend, especially with the winter and Christmas break,” she said. In any case, she said, numbers were not important, “what is important is that we managed to get our message across.”
She said it was high time someone started an awareness raising campaign, motivating people to participate in the electoral process ‘to bring change’.
The group gathered at the roundabout at 5pm, holding placards that read, “I will vote, will you?” The participants stood motionless for up to 100 seconds and then blocked traffic for a few moments “to attract attention”.
Omair Arshad, a sales professional who participated in the activity, said they had blocked traffic with permission from the wardens deployed at the roundabout. He said inspired by the idea one of the wardens had also picked up a placard and stood with them. “We are not affiliated with any political party,” he said.
The group was also joined by Sultan Mehmood, a 34-year-old flower vendor at the roundabout. “I know it’s important to cast my vote even if I haven’t seen any improvement in my life ever since I have been voting in elections,” he said. “Politicians make huge promises before elections but once in power they forget all promises,” he said.
He said he would still cast his vote at future elections. “I will vote for a decent man,” he said.
Amna Burki, a banker, said she was delighted to be a part of the event. She said youngsters taking interest in the country’s politics boded well for the country’s future.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2011.