Right to vote is our legal right. However, casting a vote is a formal indication of choice between two or more candidates or courses of action, expressed typically through a ballot on the ballot paper. Pakistan is also one of the countries that are governed by a document known as Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973. This constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 is a codified document that mainly lists state policies. It contains chapter 1 consisting of articles (8-28) which is about the fundamental rights, which we usually refer to our Bill of Rights still the term “vote” has not been included. Now, my question is that how would a citizen of the state know about his or her right to vote or take part in the establishment of the government?

Our 1973’s constitution highlights several rights for the citizen of Pakistan. But, I want to focus more on the “freedom of expression”. I agree on the point that there are a number of different ways to convey our ideas, thoughts and expression. Like in Article 19, which is about the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 states, “Every citizen shall have freedom of speech and opinion”. The law is clear on the definition of freedom of expression. As a citizen of Pakistan, we also have a right to express our opinion by voting in the general elections, and all citizens have a right to vote for a candidate who they think is liable and also able to work tirelessly for the welfare and prosperity for the people of Pakistan. One of the famous American drama critic and magazine editor named Nathan Jean Nathan once noted, “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.” In this way, as a citizen of Pakistan, it is our moral duty to cast a vote and voice our opinions because it is for the sake of our future.

What will happen if people don’t vote? All of us should aware that how much valuable our vote can be for those people who are living in deprivation and trying their best to get their fundamental rights. Being a responsible citizen one must take a look on this wisely and entirely, rather than singly. One of the most notable and well known female American women right activist, Susan B. Anthony famously said, “Men, their rights, and nothing more: women their rights, and nothing less”. This means that the state provides equal rights to its citizens and an equal opportunity to vote. Well, the right to vote is not merely a right as well but, also a liability that lies on the shoulders of individuals who are citizens of the state. Voting is a right that must be exercised. Politics are politics. There are numerous things in that which you disagree with, but in the end, it is our moral responsibility to let our voices to be heard and vote righty.

Voting creates a very pivotal role while choosing correct and honest leaders who will do things that are crucial for the country and its inhabitants. No one can force the citizen to vote. But many citizens do vote because voting lets them tell the government what they want it to do. It also prevents a minority from dictating the policies of a minority and they observe that a particular former politician refrains from delivering on his/her promises (electoral manifestoes). An electoral manifesto is a published verbal declaration of their intentions, future motives, or views of the issuer. It either is in the form of individual, groups, political parties or by the government.

While the right to vote is part of the democracy that is made by the people and for the people, citizens have a right and a duty to vote to opt their political leader. When you have a duty, there’s a sense of moral obligation attached to it. Well, it would be a decisive action if people genuinely love their country. Both rights and duties do interconnect at some point, which becomes relevant when you look at your conduct as a citizen of the country. Your right to vote is recognized as a voluntary action that you as a citizen may choose to undertake via adult suffrage, once you have attained majority age, i.e. that’s 18 years. If the right to vote was absent, statesman had been chosen according to their wealth, power, and not their talent. Moreover, in a nutshell, voting isn’t merely a right but a duty as well. It is our allegiance toward our government.

Muhammad Zaman Butt

The writer is a freelance columnist.