May 11, 2013, is going to be a significant day in the history of Pakistan. Pakistani political parties are beating drums, playing electoral songs in an attempt to prepare ordinary Pakistanis to finally go to the polling stations to cast their votes in their favour. Manifestos are being unveiled in crowded press conferences, dreams are being sold, religion, philanthropy, political sacrifices whatever tactic may work to lure masses are employed.

Alliances are being formed; seat adjustments are underway purely on political expediency. The most interesting aspect of this grim situation is that the people of Pakistan are not being educated on the fundamentals of politics. No political party, electronic media, print media or any section of mass communication is educating commoners on the very ideological foundations of political philosophy. For example, many who vote for the ANP are religious and by voting this party they understand that if they are voted into power they would service Islam. Similarly, some secular minded people are planning to vote for some faction of the PML as if it would bring in a fair system of governance based on secular ideology. Some media anchors or columnists use the term of right and left superficially but avoid explaining the terms for the common man to comprehend its true meanings.

This is confusing the voters; secular minded voters end up voting religious parties and vice versa. Our educational system is totally devoid of the text that may remove political ambiguities and produce responsible and politically aware citizens. Fifty percent of the population is illiterate; the rest comprises so-called literates, who act like vote casting dummies, particularly in the urban areas.

Such people never demonstrate any real care to ensure that the fundamentals of a democratic dispensation like local governments are established; rather get carried away by metro buses or other infrastructure projects. To them, democracy means getting home quickly from work. To some democracy means getting a job in PIA and to others, getting brother transferred back to home station is democracy. If the people are not clear about what democracy in actual spirit stands for, we will see a continuation of the bogus democracy, which has spelled ruin for Pakistan in the last five years.

Now it’s everyone’s responsibility to educate the masses on the fundamentals of political beliefs and ideologies; mainly, the Election Commission of Pakistan can take this up with the help of media to improve the level of political awareness; for, only politically aware masses can choose the right candidate.

MALIK ATIF MAHMOOD MAJOKA,

Australia, April 14.