May 11 – Time for Pakistan to decide

May 11 – Time for Pakistan to decide

I am writing these lines immediately after casting my ballot in favor of a corruption-free and educated Pakistan where rule of law prevails and dreams come true.

Unlike my daily routine, I woke up way early today (May 11), at 8:30 AM, to perform my national responsibility – to participate in the country’s historic ballot exercise.

As we – me, my better half and my daughter – prepared to head out at around 9:00 AM, I was in no doubt that we would be the first to knock at the doors of the polling station located at a walking distance from our residence in Gulistan-e-Jauhar. But, what I saw filled me with both surprise and a sense of overwhelming gratification. Hundreds of electorate including male and female voters of all ages, some with their kids, waited right under the scorching sun in separate queues that stretched out in great lengths for their turn to fulfill their national obligation.

Seeing this, a wave of thrill and excitement ran through me because it reinforced my belief that people of Pakistan are not complacent with how the country’s affairs are being run. They have had enough and now they want change.

I overheard two middle-aged men waiting behind me in the queue, saying they felt compelled to come out of their houses because of the repeated and convincing calls of the media. Being associated with press and media myself, it felt like sugar and honey to my ears. If nothing else, the media and judiciary has at least sensitized the citizens of Pakistan that in fact it is them who are the actual agents of change.

According to the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan, Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, if 60 percent voters come out today, the fate of Pakistan will change. I believe at least 50 percent voter turnout will be achieved if not more by the end of the polling across the country.

Regrettably, the way the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) made arrangements for holding polls in most of the constituencies in Karachi – the biggest city of Pakistan – could simply be termed as pathetic.

Polling staff mysteriously remained missing at a number of polling stations across Karachi and as a result polling could not be started even after a lapse of 5 hours since the scheduled time, 8:00 AM.

Reports poured in from different parts of the metropolis of polling staff’s harassment, hijacking/snatching of ballot papers and other material and massive rigging that forced Jamat-e-Islami (JI) to announce a total boycott of the ballot exercise in Karachi and two-seats in Hyderabad.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf demanded re-election across the metropolis while a few complaints also came from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

The situation has put a huge question mark on the credibility of polls conducted across Karachi – the commercial hub of Pakistan.

Mazhar Bughio can be followed on Twitter @mazharbughio

Mazhar Bughio

Web journalist/ writer associated with Geo News/ The News International.

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  • Anum Mushatq

    i also voted for a better and prosperous Pakland :) ALHAMDULLILLIAH !! i have performed ma duty being a citizen :)

  • Danish

    2 out of 4 members of my family got pre stamped ballet papers. my wife and mother.. its in G johar – shaheen public..dont ask which one was stamped….

    • SAAD

      jo marzi ho jaye MQM har dafa dhandli krte ha,sub ko pta ha magar koi bhe nai rokta.whats all this? why nobody stops them?????where was law enforcing agencies??????????/

    • ASH

      no need to say who did, every one knows the blackmailers.

  • SHK

    I was happy to see that this time the voter turn out was more than expected,I congratulate all the voters .I hope that this election brings betterment in Pakistan…..Pakistan Zindabad

  • sraza

    Jaag Punjabi jaag
    jaag punjabi jaag
    60% population hai teri ab to jaag nahi to main har jaonga
    N. Sharif (leader of family limited party)

    we all congratulate the greatest hypo crate and son of zia ul haque on his historic win and historic loss of Pakistan.

    • Mazhar Hussain

      You are such a low-life, biased & should be the supporter of terrorist MQM..right ?

    • M.Saeed

      But, I thought it was “Jaag Muhajir Jaag szara ab khud kuch karna hoga”?

  • Mazhar Hussain

    Dhandli ho nahi rahi – Dhandli ho chuki hai (by MQM terrorists) ..Altaf Hussain

  • Taj Ahmad

    New set-up in Islamabad after election would be as follows….
    Nawaz Sharif next Prime Miister
    Imran Khan next foreign Minister
    Dr.Farooq Sattar next President

  • M.Saeed

    Going by the rush, I was at a loss to get a tilt to decide from a knife-edge balance between Mr. Sharif and Khan. But, IK’s abominable bad mouthing against Mr. Sharif just a day before his fateful fall and very sensible and humane reaction from his adversary, gave that deciding feather of tilt. It could be a divine indicative-spark for those carried away by the Khan’s much hyped tsunami.

  • Tash

    The worst elections witnessed in Pakistan’s history. Heavy rigging in Sindh and Punjab. We as a Nation are fools and have been mislead by the political parties in both Sindh and Punjab. Bhutto is dead but people still vote for as if he is going to come out of his grave to solve their issues. PPPs pathetic performance didn’t teach them anything in the past 5 years and earlier too. PML (N) led the stupidest people in the world, the Punjabis, on a pipe dream of Bullet Trains and highways and loans. I fail to understand how will we run bullet trains when we cannot run the existing Railways and without electricity, loans from where? more printing of money, more loans from IMF and World Bank, Highways? we don’t need new ones, just fix the old ones. But then how will they make money? they have to give contracts to make money. Recent cases of corruption in METRO bus, sasti roti, laptops at Government expense went unnoticed, rigging of elections with the help of Punjab police starts a new era of corruption and we will suffer from ZAR & SHAR for another prolonged period. My God, when will we learn.
    The less said the better it would be for the terrorist organization called MQM, bloody scoundrels. Act innocent and cheat that was the motto of both PML and MQM.

    • M.Saeed

      This is a clear back-lash of tsunami!

  • Ashraf

    Lets not forget that what happened in Karachi is due to our ignorance for last 25 years and all round support by same city many times to BHAI LOG. Now if we feel that they are terrorist or cheaters or what so ever, is what we offered them, fed them to become besides knowing for many years their reality. Lets first curse ourselves.

    Lets not curse the upcoming government and pray and wish for betterment of country. If runner ups perform well, they will surely have chance to be in lead in next term. Support the right and lets not impressed by might. We have to fight jointly to flush out MQM, PPP and PMLn like minded and strive for fair governance in Pakistan and for Islam


    MQM- the most organized and most disciplined party of the world. No matter what filty language you use againts MQM, they dont care. They are advancing and advancing and advancing. I have heard allegations against MQM mostly by punjabis and Jamatis since 1984. These are like these 1. MQM is agent of India. 2. MQM wants to break Pakistan 3. MQM wants punjabis out of karachi 4. MQM is an american agenT. 5. MQM riggs elections 6. MQM makes money from extortion 7. MQM has kidnapped whole city( that means 2 1/2 crore souls). 8. MQM this MQM Tthat,,bla bla bla. In all thes 28 MQM has been always on the advance from 11 seats in Karachi in 1988 to 25 IN 2008. I beleive if you take out the googles of prejudice and bigotism, you all adversaries can see things more clearly. MQM is a phenomeno, the only phenomenon who has roots all over the pakistan. Its because its the party of the FOUNDERS AND MAKERS OF PAKISTAN AND IS RUN AND LED BY SONS OF PAKISTAN FROM ALL CORNERS OF PAKISTAN. Take care rgds KASHIF

    • M.Saeed

      Look at your chameleon-in-chief of ever changing statements!

      It is in news today. First his bombasts he was not issuing threats to anyone. Then warns the Election Commission to reach a decision with honesty or else they will not be able to find any shelter. Adding further venom in his talk, he dares all who oppose him, to come with evidence (like evidence wanted in Dr. Imran Farooq case) and threatened if his opposition was not stopped, he would free his operatives from his control to act on their own, meaning to do what he had been doing before.

    • Siraj

      Yeah right, we have seen how you get your mandate, Rename your party to Thappa Stamp Party… this time the entire nation has witnessed it

    • Anonymous

      Just because a party wins some seats over aay 20 years, dies not mean they assume those seats to be their right in a democracy – Farooq Sattar’s similar argument seems infantile coming from an educated man as in democracy people can change their minds or PPP/PML should never be out if government too. As for founders and makers of Pakistan, the majority left in 1971- the prominent chant of ‘Jiye Mohajir’ in MQM rallies, after 65 years in Pakistan is as disgusting as the TTP threat.

  • Shehzad Azam

    For the first time in my life, I am really embarrassed to be a Punjabi…. Salute to KPK public for their wise decision…

  • Mahra Al Shehhi

    i have been brought up in this environment where these parties took turn to loot the country so we hoped this time may be we are freed from the claws of isi and cia but we cant now there is no hope for pakistan zardari have already looted this country now rest will be looted by nawaz league and we will never get back on our feet so there is no future for pakistan any more we are a finished nation

  • S Nasrullah

    People of Pakistan have spoken and a record participation of 60% who exercised their right of Franchise have given a VERDICT. PPP who falsely claimed itself as the Party of the Federation has been cut down to its proper size – is now reduced as a party of Sindh. The left handed compliment the absconding accused, MQM Boss, gave to Nawaz Sharif indicates the vicious sentiments he nurses in his heart against Punjab.

    IK gave a very sensible statement from his Hospital bed that the unprecedented participation of the youth and their mobilization to insure that the people cast their votes to bring in a positive change, is itself a great achievement. The fervor exhibited by the Ladies and their brave efforts to stand up and be counted is a total departure from the practices of the past. PTI, under the dynamic Leadership of IK took part in the General Elections for the First time and their current standing at Second only to PML(N) is itself a splendid showing. People of Pakistan were motivated for Change, but in the end, we find that they opted to play safe with the tried and the tested NS, than a leap into the unknown and the untried PTI.

    PTI may or may not be able to form a government in KPK, yet it is clear that their majority would always presage the political scenario there. It would be inconceivable to find PTI bracketed with PPP-MQM combine in the Opposition benches in the National Assembly and with IK personally participating in the proceedings, it is impossible for him to compromise with his principles and sing along with people he has no affinity for. PPP-MQM combine would obviously have numerical superiority and as such would promote and position a Leader of the Opposition from among them and IK would never play second fiddle to his adversaries.

    PML(N) with 135 Seats in the NA and with possible complement of reserved seats may enhance their tally to 150-160, just falling short of the safe number of 172 and may require the support of some other party/Independents to form a strong and stable government in the Center. Next 72 hours would unfold the sequence of actions crucial to the peace, prosperity and progress of Pakistan.

  • Mazhar Hussain

    MQM is comprised of bunch of terrorists gang in karachi, they always rig the polls, this time caught upfront b/c of new generation PTI …Altaf should be arrested by interpol and jailed/hanged for his atroicities in karachi via target killing and extortions of poor …he is blamed to be the murderer of thousands of people of pakhtoon living in karachi and now igniting people by issuing statements of dividing pakistan. Shame on MQM and people who supports this terrorist party MQM.

  • Arshad Malik

    There has been no rigging in Punjab. PTI lost in most of the NA
    seats elections by Thousands of votes. PTI must accept it’s defeat in Punjab
    & Imran Khan must respect that the majority of People of Punjab has great
    love for Nawaz Sharif. I never voted before but I voted this time because I
    don’t like the way Imran Khan talk with no respect for anyone. There are many
    many youngsters like me who voted for PMLN. PMLN performance has been much
    better than all other provinces and we have given him the credit of that. We
    don’t want New Pakistan but a leader who can build Pakistan & who has
    developed maturity to make Pakistan come out of this crisis.

    In Karachi what has happened is as usual. We all know that and it is time show our anger to MQM to make them realize. However, instead of beating the drums of rigging we want to see how PTI performs in KP. Remember that this is usual in KP to bring such change because the one they selected before had never performed. If PTI don’t perform than Insha ALLAH the next turn will be of PMLN.

  • rabi prasad sharma

    I congratulate the courageous people and election commission of pakistan on the successful completion of general elections for national assembly.

    the results show that the pakistani people voted for a change and i expect the coming days will be very peaceful and progressive pakistan.

    Rabi Prasad Sharma
    deputy director(news)
    Radio Nepal, the national broadcaster

    cell phone 9840063918

    mail [email protected]

    facebook rabi adhikari

  • Lyla.S

    All the political parties and election commission was trying so hard to convince the people to get out of their homes and cast vote but after what happened specially in Karachi,we shouldn’t blame the people if they don’t vote.They risked their lives, standing in lines for hours and this what they get harassment,their votes were destroyed and fake votes were cast. If they can’t conduct free & fair elections,they can’t do anything.

  • Anonymous

    It was indeed heartening to see the masses out to vote – even more so sighting the classes who don’t usually participate. However it it sad to see the whole election being tainted because of irregularities in some places and the reactionary firces in play too. Yes the arrangements in Karachi were abominable but can be rectified rapidily. EC can hold reekections across the biard again and if MQM has clean gands, it will get its seats again but in the mean time the lady does protest too much – even with nearly 5 votes a second in favour of some of its candidates! That is fast…

    The political leaders’ post election messages should be remembered when voting next time. The most graceful was Bilour’s after losing to IK and the most disgusting was London Thug’s to NS – ironic coming from the leader of a party restricted to Karachi with chants if ‘Jiye Mohajir’ in his public gatherings. Even more digusting was the threat to sever Karachi from Pakistan in a later address. IK’s video message with mixed signsls, praising the large turnout and his commitment to sitting in opposition along with allegations of righing, were not very statesman like with tempers of voters beginning to run high (his language and personal attacks against Sharifs, if late were highly disappointing as Saeed Sb points out in his post). NS atleast acted mire statesman like in his speech but who he choses as his cabinet and whether it eill be family corporation cabinet or not, will decide his and Pakistan’s future. Hopefully NS will have the grace and sagacity to aid PTI in forming KPK government and support it too above petty partisan politics and slso not be held hostage by the false Santa Claus. Hopefully Blochistan government with the progressive nationalists, brings stability there and PPP forms a government without MQM until they truly reform too.

  • rabi prasad sharma

    I congratulate the courageous people and the election commission of pakistan on the completion of the general elections for the national assembly.

    The results show the pakistani people voted for a change that, i hope, will lead to a very peaceful and progressive pakistan.

    rabi prasad sharma
    deputy director(news)

    Radio Nepal , the national broadcaster

    cell phone 9840063918

    mail [email protected]

    face book Rabi Adhikari

  • M.Saeed

    People whole heartedly acted on Zardari’s sharp and shrewd advice but it equally bounced back on him. He said “Democracy is the best revenge” and people proved that it indeed was the best revenge.

  • M.Saeed

    How and why PTI fell into PIT-FALL?

  • M.Saeed

    Disadvantage: It would not be a secret ballot. Voterswould be exposed to revengeful attacks.