Vote For Pakistan is a non-political non-partisan citizen initiative launched by Zimmedar Shehri and Concerned Citizens of Pakistan to generate voter awareness, undertake community-based voter education, and ultimately engage with marginalized citizens to facilitate voter registration in Pakistan. It does not differentiate between class or creed, and aims to inculcate a sense of responsibility as well as a sense of pride in being a Pakistani. Whether you are rich or poor, Muslim or non-Muslim, whether you live in an urban area or a rural area, you have an identity. You are a Pakistani citizen. You are a constituent of your community. When you turn 18, you have the right to determine, along with your fellow countrymen, the destiny of your country. But do you…?
Do you exercise that power? Do you fulfill your responsibility? Or do you leave it to the status quo for five years?
The Government is corrupt – Whose fault is it?
46% of the votes cast in 2008 were bogus – Well, that probably just means you didn’t cast yours.
I just have one vote, it won’t change anything – That’s where you’re wrong.
I’m not the problem, its the illiterate masses that follow these evil politicians – What’s stopping you from helping them become aware?
If I try to educate voters, the powerful politicians will harm me – The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Our legislators – who are supposed to be our representatives and public servants – do not feel answerable to us – the voters, constituents and citizens – because we do not take them to account even after every five years.
How can we be responsible for ourselves and our homes if we are not responsible for our own country?
How can we claim to be a democracy when we do not even give our legislators and representatives the power to rule over us?
How can we become a functional democracy unless and until we fulfill our national obligations?
We are Pakistanis. Pakistan is our country.
It is time we exercised our power, all of us, together as one nation.
It is time we educated ourselves not just about our rights, but also about our responsibilities.
It is time we brought peaceful and meaningful change through ballot not bullet.
It is time that we learn from the past and prepare for the future.
Lets make sure that the 2013 general elections are not just another holiday…
Our mission is to educate ourselves, our peers and our compatriots about their most basic right: their vote. We want to help people understand the power of their voice and to encourage them to utilize their ideas and opinions in the best possible way; to motivate and mobilize them so they not only take affirmative action, but engage fellow Pakistanis to do the same.
We, as a nation, have countless problems and no magic wand to fix them all. The critics, cynics, and naysayers must understand two fundamentals:
1) There is no quick fix to our problems. Our problems have accumulated over the span of a couple of decades and fixing them will require an equal period of struggle and commensurate dedication and determination at the least.
2) We must start small, but think big. The enormous task of solving all our problems at once will lead to self-doubt, helplessness, and obstacles that will cripple our spirits even before we take the first step.
Not everything can be solved, not immediately anyway, but yes, we can start solving our problems by making the smallest changes; by thinking big; by being responsible for not only your house, but your community; by thinking about not only your family, but your compatriots and fellow citizens as well. Hope will only multiply (God willing) if we give ourselves reason to hope; which leads to another important factor/endowment/perception shared by all of us Pakistanis: We should not only think of our problems, or be responsible by only thinking of our problems. This only perpetuates despair and cynicism, and those who are able are automatically disabled from changing society, bringing positivity, and actually helping the community develop. Doing something positive and bringing meaningful change to your society or community is equally crucial to acquiring responsibility, which is not solely contained in argumentation, criticism, inaction and instrumental apathy. There is no quick fix: that is precisely why each and every single one of us need to commence ourselves and initiate others around us.
It is also incumbent upon us to understand our rights as a citizen of Pakistan; to help ourselves understand the responsibilities that those rights are contingent upon. we have to fix our problems, and cease to excessively depend on an insensitive state that has time again proven ineffective and obsolete. We have to take ownership of our environment and surroundings because it is the responsibility of Pakistan’s citizens to correct the failings of the state, and in fact, help the state become more effective, more responsible, more transparent. We cannot expect positive change in society if we only ask for it and not engage in things that will actually bring about meaningful governance, effective civic representation in the legislatures, and lawmaking that helps the country and its people prosper.
You, a citizen of Pakistan, have seen your beloved country slip from within your hands. Every time you tune in to the news – you’re very brave if you still do – or step out into the street, you can tangibly feel the dream that was Pakistan sink into confusion and chaos.
There is something you can do about it. Or there is nothing you can do about it.
So before you become a naysayer, critic, detractor, cynic,
Give your country, your countrymen, your hopes, and above all, yourself, another chance.
This country needs heroes. A good 170 million of them.
Be one of them.
VOTE FOR HOPE
VOTE FOR CHANGE