Public gatherings and election campaigns in Pakistan, particularly in Punjab, are in top gear. Young and enthusiastic PTI supporters and those serious political crowds that support the PML-N are presenting a sharp contrast to Pakistani political eyes across the globe. Elections are the only topic Pakistani expats are talking about. This is thanks to modern telecommunications, which are giving expats second by second political updates on mercurial political moods in the motherland. It gives hope not only to Pakistanis in Pakistan but generates immense interest in expatriates who live in the developed world and actually feel the backwardness of their motherland a lot more than Pakistanis do inside Pakistan.

From an expat’s perspective, it looks as if the country is divided on the major issues and all three frontrunners — the PML-N, PTI and PPP — are appearing as regional parties instead of countrywide, mainstream parties. This situation is disturbing in a country that is already fractured on the lines of political and religious ideologies. The need of the day is a national consensus agenda in which political parties vie to secure as many seats as possible in parliament. This activity is positive in terms of politicising society but all parties must realise that, at the end of the day, they are all Pakistanis.

The welfare of the country must be the top priority. Politics is an art of possibilities. Political heads of competing parties are using harsh language in their campaigns apparently to gain or create political space; they must conduct themselves in a way that sets high political values of tolerance and acceptability. Criticism should be replaced with critical analysis of policies so that the best possible policies may be pursued for the betterment of society like in the developed world. Unfortunately, expatriates have been deprived of their right to vote primarily due to red tape procedure and confusion between the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the judiciary. The excitement and interest in the elections among expatriates is sky high amid feelings of fears and hope. Our resilience and faith in democracy can certainly give birth to a new political era in Pakistan.

MALIK ATIF MAHMOOD MAJOKA,

Australia, May 8.