With the elections coming near, each party has rigorously started campaigning in their relevant constituencies to convince voters to vote in their favour. While this activity is an inherent part of the election campaign, it must also be kept in mind that canvassing not only involves addressing large groups of people but to also be able to answer the questions of those whom these leaders are trying to convince. Each constituency has its own problems and it is expected from the leaders that they are well versed in these problems, provide plausible solutions, and also have space and understanding to answer the questions if people try to point out inaction of their representatives during the last tenure.

Recently a video has surfaced online in which we can see Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) leader Saad Rafique addressing a corner meeting in Chungi Amar Sadhu in Lahore. While a concerned individual tries to question him about the water crisis in Pakistan and their plans to deal with it, he not only choose to ignore the question but also asks the people around to shut off their cameras. His supporters then allegedly manhandle these individuals, lock them up in a room and threaten to beat them up. All of this merely because they wanted a question asked.

Leaders in this day and age need to understand that when they go out to vote, it is the voter’s right to ask them questions about their work, their presence in their constituency, and their plans for the upcoming tenure. The point is not just to provide them the space to make flamboyant speeches in which they themselves make tall claims about their accomplishments - rather it is also about allowing the voter to interact and discuss ideas that deeply affect him. And no one can take away this right from a voter because this is the premise of voter-representative interaction. And those who terrorise this interaction need to be dealt with harshly.

Another problematic aspect here is that this group also allegedly asked all the women in the gathering to just leave after the situation got tense. Sidelining women and asking them to leave gatherings is not a sign of political maturity. This goes to show that each political party is still not ready to accommodate women into political spheres and understand that hiding them away is not the solution. The solution maybe lies in understanding these issues and then creating a safe for women.