Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia hope to see a 'Naya Pakistan'

Published: May 10, 2013
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Many young Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia hope to see Imran Khan come to power. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Many young Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia hope to see Imran Khan come to power. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, the oil rich country with an estimated population of 16 million people, has around 9 million registered expatriates, 1.5 million of which are Pakistanis who are anxious about which way the elections swing on May 11.

Expats are fed up with the situation in their native land and are looking forward to the forthcoming elections. Hope is finally in the air. Despite the bomb blasts shaking the nation, people are anticipating a positive change after the elections.

The Pakistani diaspora across the globe was disappointed on April 29 when the Election Commission informed the apex court that overseas Pakistanis could not vote this time around. Some say it is a deliberate move to deter those who wanted to vote for the charismatic Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Manzur, who runs a small transport company, said that many of his Pakistani students have informed him that their parents are travelling to Pakistan simply to vote. He regrets that he had to come back before May 11 or he would have certainly given his vote to the PTI.

Malik, a taxi driver and a staunch supporter of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has changed his opinion about the Sharif brothers after the power shortages in Punjab.

Similarly, another Malik, married and settled here with his family, confided that he has converted at least three PML-N supporters into PTI adherents.

In the same vein, Zahra, a young house wife residing in Riyadh said that her vote would definitely have gone to Imran, has she been allowed to vote from overseas.

Seemingly, all candidates and old political horses know that this year the voters’ attitude is different. People are more aware of their problems and might cast their ballot in a different way. With the power outages, lack of law and order and inflation, empty rhetoric may fall short this time around.

“Now, with Musharraf out of the race, I want Imran Khan to become the prime minister,” remarked Mehreen, a housewife living in Dammam.

However, Ali Abbasi, another resident of KSA, expressed some apprehension. How can there be change when 70% of the votes are controlled votes, coming from villages and tribes, where there is only the law of the feudal lord, he asked. He remained uncertain whether Imran had done enough to convince this large stratum of society.

And yet, Pakistani teenagers who have grown up away from home are unhesitatingly excited and vocal.

They share their thoughts on social media, they blog zealously, and they sing songs of change.  These young Pakistanis remain positive that the time has come for their countrymen to rise and bring about change.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Uzair Khan
    May 10, 2013 - 7:06PM

    yes all of us in Australia cant wait to see a naya pakistan!

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  • Final Solution
    May 10, 2013 - 7:43PM

    Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia should pray for naya Saudi Arabia too free from religious extremism.

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  • Syed A. Mateen
    May 10, 2013 - 8:13PM

    It is very unfortunate that Overseas Pakistanis would not be able to cast their votes, as the President had signed the letter in this regard, just two days ahead from Election Day.

    I know how concerned Overseas Pakistanis are while they are away from Pakistan.

    Had Overseas Pakistanis would have been allowed to participate in the general election, the results of the election would have been very different then what would be coming by the end of May 12th midnight.

    I don’t want to elaborate more on this now and will talk later on this subject, but I will just give a hint that it was a conspiracy to avoid one if the rising and most popular political party’s from winning the general election of 2013.

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  • Ahs
    May 10, 2013 - 8:41PM

    yeah we were hoping we would be able to vote but….
    anyways everyone there go and vote for IK!!

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  • Mahar, KSA
    May 10, 2013 - 8:56PM

    @Final Solution:
    First correct yourself then think about others……..be positive

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  • Aamir - Toronto
    May 10, 2013 - 9:00PM

    It breaks my heart to see that so many NRPs were deprived from participating in the upcoming elections…….I wish ECP had envisaged this and acted well in advance.

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  • Final Solution
    May 10, 2013 - 10:23PM

    @Mahar, KSA:
    Ironic how your comment applies to youself in the light of the news heading

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  • NS
    May 10, 2013 - 11:06PM

    Proud to be a Pakistani living in SaudiArabia…

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  • Ali
    May 11, 2013 - 12:14AM

    @Syed A Mubeen…what do mean by saying that the results would be something else??? Are you trying to say that overseas Pakistanis are more intelligent than People living in Pakistan??? I really don’t know what you mean but you shouldn’t have said this. Are you in favor of those who leave their motherland just to earn some money???

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  • shahgee
    May 12, 2013 - 10:18AM

    I feel sorry for Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia, you could not pay me enough to live there. I would rather starve in Pakistan.

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