It’s Election Day 2013 in Pakistan, and I’m nervous and excited to watch it unfold. Hundreds have already been killed in the violence, candidates have been injured and murdered, voters and supporters have been kidnapped and intimidated, rumors of bribery are rampant, and women have been told they won’t be permitted to vote in many areas. Add to this the fact that voters will be standing for hours in 100+ degree heat, and are advised to know where the nearest hospital or clinic is, and to expect violence. Yet Pakistanis by the hundreds of thousands will–despite all of this–turn out to vote for Pakistan’s future. Could there be any more reason to cheer them on?
This is the first transition from one elected government to another in Pakistan’s history. This is an accomplishment in and of itself. And to see that the Taliban would rather resort to the mass murder of innocents than have citizens choose their own representatives proves how they cannot and will not ever win public support, nor do they offer any solutions for the public beyond the primitive brutality for which they are known. Vote on, Pakistan!
You’re welcome to read more of my thoughts on Pakistan, including my past experiences along the Pakistan-Afghan border and more recently hearing a talk by Pakistan’s foreign minister in NYC, in “Pakistan on the Brink.”
Here are some links to how I’ll be following along with the elections:
- Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel
- Dawn.com’s Election 2013 coverage
- Al Jazeera’s Pakistan Elections Interactive Dashboard
- Election Commission of Pakistan’s website
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Pakistan page
- Twitter – hashtags #Election2013 and #PakVotes
Are you following, too? Are you in Pakistan? What are your thoughts, news, or comments? Please share below!