So 11th May 2013 is finally over! It was the day we all expected to be the day of ‘Change’ and revolution. My spirits were high as I had been to a few PTI jalsas before, and just like any other enthusiastic Pakistani I was looking forward to a Naya Pakistan. Another special thing was that I had voted for the first time in my life and I wanted to make it a memorable one.
So, while everyone was glued to the television channels, I decided to go around Lahore and enjoy the election fever. Before leaving, my father discouraged me & said “Everybody will be lazy and clumsy; you won’t see much on the roads”. But, ignoring his advice, in a few moments I was wearing a PTI cap and roaming around the streets of Lahore. From Chauburji to Mall road, I was there to witness the political fervor of Pakistanis! I grabbed my camera while going for a ride, just to capture any extraordinary sight I might encounter on my way.
I stopped by at a shop in Gawalmandi to grab some snacks and a cute 13/14 year old waiter ran towards my car. Before I could place any order, he said ‘Baji, abhi aya’. He ran away and came back with a PTI badge.He quickly placed it on his shirt and tried to rub away the dirt while giving a pose for my camera. His eyes were filled with exhilaration and anticipation. Despite of the fact that he was underprivileged, illiterate and life had been very hard on him, he was still optimistic about these elections. He wasn’t familiar with words like ‘rigging’ and ‘corruption’ but he had faced much more atrocities than what we had stumbled upon in our lives. If this boy could be sanguine about a better Pakistan, what’s stopping us from actually working for it? This thought actually moved me!
Before leaving this boy said “Baji!” and I thought he was going to ask for some money. But astonishingly he requested me to give him a cap of Imran Khan with Balla (bat). While, handing it over him, I felt pity for my own materialistic approach and yet was amazed by the gusto with which he was celebrating these elections.
Around 3:00 p.m. a lot of bikes, cars and people on foot started marching around these areas. These groups were chanting names of their leaders and I could sense their optimism for a better Pakistan. Their eyes gleaming with passion, each one of them wanted to revive the spirit of Quaid.
As I passed through Jain Mandir, I saw a Sitta-wala hawker with a flag of a political party. I stopped my car, stepped down to take his picture. He was a 25-30 year old man, all sweaty, sun burnt and skin of his palms almost burnt due to repeated exposure to fire. I went to him and inquired “Apne yeh jhanda kyun lagaya?”. He looked at me with some
surprise initially and then a dazzling smile took over those expressions. “Pakistan ke liye lagaya!” he said. I was so moved by these words that it actually gave me goosebumps. I quickly took a shot and went back, but my mind was stuck there. I was living an extravagant life and enjoying every possible luxury and yet I was disappointed. While, these individuals were facing excruciating pains to earn a full meal and still expected something out of these elections.
The moment I reached mall road, I was surprised to see that it was full of life. Kids, boys, men and women wearing PTI & PML-N souvenirs were all around. It seemed that the scorching heat and the corrupt leadership couldn’t mar their zest to come out and work for their parties. As I took out my camera to take a snap, they all started chanting their slogans and gave their best smiles even in those sweaty t shirts. This was exhilarating and quite different from the gloomy picture my father had painted from his past memories.
This was my last stop and I went home after that. Shortly, results started coming out and my friends were texting me and cursing the election commission of Pakistan. But I wasn’t concerned about the results anymore; I was already stirred by the vigor and zest I had just witnessed.
When after enduring pains and sorrows, illiteracy and despair, if these people out there can hope for a better Pakistan then we have no right to complain. We can’t whine about rigging and corruption until we give in our honest contribution for a better Pakistan. We all need to work for the revival of Pakistan, a country created for prosperity and now marred by terrorism and bloodshed. If we all grow out of our petty issues and vouch for betterment, only then we can have a better Pakistan. I’ve decided to play my part genuinely for a better Pakistan; no flamboyant heroic claims rather candid conduct with a tinge of patriotism & love amalgamated with progressiveness. Let’s do it and make a better Pakistan together, for us and for everyone out there! A better Pakistan where there will be equality & peace!