The day of the elections is a poignant day in the life of a voter because on that day we have the power to decide the fate of the country for the next five years. It is a time at which the voter is given the utmost attention and respect because that is perhaps the beauty of a democratic setup that it brings the candidates right in front of the voters to be answerable for the policies that affect them every day. The last five years have been of extreme significance for the Pakistani voter because a huge chunk of the apolitical masses is now concerned about the direction the polity takes after this election day.

It is our duty as citizens to contribute to the election process because the result is the accumulation of our votes and it represents the sentiments of the masses. The tension which has built up in the last couple of years especially with the emergence of a third political party in a traditional two-party system has allowed the space for several new political opinions to take birth. It has given us voters the opportunity to scrutinise to the best of our abilities and assess which candidates we see fit for governance.

At the same time, there are three overarching narratives competing for the voters’ support. We have witnessed the emergence of the ultra-right in the system, which has been intelligently but not so subtly done by ‘mainstreamed’ radical elements. There is also the anti-corruption brigade, which chants slogans of accountability and promises a model with accountability and transparency. The third narrative is the anti-engineering narrative, which talks about external political actors meddling in the election process to ensure the victory of a particular party. This narrative emphasises the need to respect the voter’s own choice of candidates.

The competition is close and the stakes are high but the end result will be determined by us voters. Let us not allow our biases to accept principally corrupt stances, report any wrongdoings, go out and vote for the candidates who not only will be beneficial for us but the country as well. Remember that Pakistan is on its path towards establishing a strong democratic government and if we do not voice our opinions through our votes, the stakeholders will be left to manoeuvre the process in any manner possible.