I will not be voting on February 18th. Mostly, because I am a victim of the Election Commission’s failure at providing me with the voter registration forms to update the voter lists, that were part of a USAID-funded program. Not only was our house skipped by the EC, but all those who I’ve questioned residing in my area never received any forms from the EC in 2006, when the survey was reportedly carried out in Karachi. But for the many I have spoken to, it is not just a distrust of the political parties that keeps them away from the polling booths, but also a deep-rooted distrust of the electoral process itself. Allegations of rigging may resonate in every election and are treated at times with skepticism and derision, but there is irrefutable evidence that rigging has taken place in all but one election held in Pakistan. It is ironic, that the only fair elections that were ever held in 1970 resulted in dividing the country, but to counter that argument, one could say that the creation of Bangladesh was on the cards since Partition.
There is no doubt that this election will be one of the most crucial elections ever held in Pakistan, for reasons one too many. Optimist souls, rare as they are, say that elections should be held, and citizens must exercise their right to vote. The question, my dear Watsons is, will YOU be voting in the upcoming elections? And if so, for who and why?