The revolution is finally upon us: it arrived with a surprising ‘boom’ which, even more surprisingly, many people completely failed to hear and, of those who did, few realise the import of an event they may even have participated in. But if the revolution is to continue and is to achieve its long overdue goal, not only is it imperative to recognise its arrival, steps must be taken, and taken right now, to ensure that it does not lose impetus. And, most importantly of all, it must be joined by each and every single person, who values incorruptible honesty and their right to democratic freedom of choice too.

The elections were, as a result of blatant mismanagement and outright rigging, farcical in the extreme and ‘celebrated’ as such the whole world over: Pakistan became a laughing stock and the Election Commission of Pakistan deserved all the flak it got and more.

What the elections achieved though - this quite irrespective of personal politics and whether or not those elected deserved to be - was, possibly for the first time in the country’s history, to bring very concerned, indeed outright horrified citizens and a goodly number of them, right out there on to the streets to peacefully, yet volubly, protest at the shocking state of affairs the shambolic voting system brought about. And also for the first time, the people literally forced the ‘authorities’ to both listen and, ultimately, to act.

This joining together of people under the banner of outrage and accountability was wonderful to see and yes - although some may dispute it - marked the beginning of a ‘revolution for change’ as people now know that by setting aside whatever differences they may have, and working together for a common cause, they can achieve the desired results if, that is and this is where the danger lies, they have the collective determination and patience to see things through to the end when, hopefully and if the authorities and government, central and provincial, exhibit the sense to accept that the people’s mandate is what, when it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, is what it is all about.

Objecting to rigged elections and, in some places, failure of voting to take place until way after the specified time, if at all, is – or rather should be -  if the ‘revolution’ is to continue without, as could very well happen, it fading away into the obscurity from which it so suddenly exploded, just the first step in the nation’s joint recognition that, together and only by standing together, it can stand up for what is, after all is said and done, its legal rights.

There is much which needs to change if this repeatedly tested, often beleaguered nation, is not only to survive, but also to provide everyone with even just the basics of life to which they are entitled. Access to clean drinking water for all is, for example, something that is repeatedly talked about without large-scale action, right across the board and totally irrespective of personal income levels, being the need of the hour along with sensible storage facilities for the same being arranged, or constructed, in even the smallest of villages and is something for which voices must, out of sheer necessity in the face of rapidly escalating climate change, be raised on an emergency basis with no backing down until the task is 100 percent complete.

Then there is the right to education that, whatever or however the ‘authorities’ claim, has never been seriously enforced and for which the people need to stand up, collectively of course, and not simply shout, but ensure is implemented along with access to medical facilities that, considering the number of doctors qualifying from countless institutions across the country each year, should not be a difficult proposition at all and would, especially if doctors qualifying from government operated medical colleges were routinely posted, even on a temporary basis, to where they are most needed instead of being allowed, after costing the country a fortune in educational fees, to immediately pack up and leave the country in search of pastures greener.

The two aforementioned ‘rights’ are, as everyone knows, only the tip of an extremely huge iceberg of inalienable rights that are either sadly lacking in implementation or that are completely ignored and which, until citizens, ethnicity aside, collectively make their demands known, are, no matter how much generosity of thought is involved, simply not going to happen.

There is absolutely no point, as the majority realised yet failed to act upon long ago, in expecting local authorities and government to provide, willy-nilly, everything the people both need and deserve without the nation, acting in unity, prodding them into action.

If - and the size of this ‘if’ remains to be seen - peaceful, with stress on ‘peaceful’, revolutionary change is to seriously get underway and continue, it can only be done ‘together’. The kind of revolution, which will, ultimately, be of benefit to all no matter in which part of this huge country they happen to reside and which, in time as it is important to remember that major changes are not achieved overnight, will act to remove the name ‘Pakistan’ from the top of the global list of countries to be avoided at all costs and will make it, instead, an economically sound, prosperous and peaceful country to be envied by those of less fortunate mien.

The writer is author of The Gun Tree:  One Woman’s War (Oxford University Press, 2001)     and lives in Bhurban.