Friday, October 1, 2010


I don't know anybody my age who has ever had faith in Pakistani democracy. It's a sad but true fact that those of us born post-Zia, having grown up watching the Benazir-Nawaz Sharif-Musharraf merry go round, can place little faith in concrete change. At any rate, things to seem to be getting progressively worse. It is rare to find a country where children are born to parents who remember a more liberal and tolerant society, but we are living in one of them and are used to our elders' reminisces about What Used To Be. Why do I find myself looking forward to the 2013 elections then-if they ever happen?

For someone who came out of the womb feeling cynical about our leaders, I am excited at the thought that I might be able to exercise my vote to throw a government out. Whether or not this happens remains to be seen, but the prospect is exciting. The last time the country held elections and made the tragic mistake of bringing the current regime into power, I couldn't have cared less. I was newly eligible to vote and couldn't find a single contender I wanted to see in office. This might be the case again. I'm just curious to see whether anything new comes up in the next three years. I'm curious to see whether our collective national frustration will be exercised in the voting booth rather than on the streets with bombs strapped to chests. I wonder if this is what people in real democracies feel like-do they look forward to exercising their right to try and kick someone out, rather than bringing someone in?

Sure, it might not work. Sure, the next guy might be worse, who knows. Something tells me though that Pakistanis have had enough, and no matter how hard we try, we can't ever as a nation seem to give up our obsession with politics. Bring on the elections; I think more of us might want to vote this time. We might actually have Zardari to thank for something after all-he's inspiring us to have hope in democracy long enough to see his sorry ass leave.

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