Elections are just a day away, and if you’re a student in Pakistan your role in these elections can potentially help form a new government. The question arises for many of us, why should a student vote? What is the value of our vote? Let’s start with the basics:
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE?
- You must be a citizen of Pakistan.
- You must be 18+ years of age at the time of voter registration, if you’ve not registered your vote yet you can’t vote this time.
- You must have a valid CNIC
- You are “not declared by a competent court to be of unsound mind” Ouch! And,
- are “deemed under section 27 to be resident in the electoral area”. Send your CNIC Number to 8300 to find out where’s your poling station.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE STUDENT VOTERS?
The first student political movement of our land, which can even be credited with helping in the formation of Pakistan, was Muslim Student Federation (MSF), the student wing of the original Muslim League. Later, student organizations like NSF, IJT (Famously known as Jamiat), PSF, MSF, and very recently, ISF (Insaf Student Federation) were born, which are sometimes regarded as the backbone of a political party. As a country with more than 65% of its population below the age of 30, it’s a no brainer that any party who wins the student majority, may rightly win the elections.
WHO SHOULD I VOTE FOR?
- Don’t vote for a party or a politician who promises to build roads, bridges and gutters. Spend 30 minutes on the internet and look up your candidate’s manifesto. Read it thoroughly, and extract key information regarding their educational policies, employment creation, entrepreneurship support, energy generation, environmental protection policies, waste management policies, etc. Guard your vote with intellect and give it to someone who fulfills your intellectual criteria.
- Even if you’re affiliated or closely related to a politician, it’s your moral duty to ask about their party’s policies, and how they plan to execute the points written in their manifestos. Remember, execution trumps idea every time!
- When you’re judging a party leader, don’t just vote for them based on your patriotic sentiment or because you want to give them a chance. Instead, vote for a leader after reading briefly about their wealth, past scandals, party conduct, parliamentary sessions they had attended, the resolutions they had voted for and blocked, and whether or not they’ve been convicted for corruption or any other serious public crime. You want a leader who makes you feel confident and proud the next time you see him on the tv with POTUS!
STILL NOT CONVINCED?
- If you think your vote won’t make a difference, or the “Khalayi Makhlooq” or other forces will make your contribution null & void, do it for yourself! Take it as an experience of going among people whom you don’t normally hang out with, talking to them, getting their perspective on things, and trying to understanding how an under privileged Pakistani Citizen is impacted by who sits in the government.
- After voting, gather your friends and head to one of many cafes offering free food and drinks by showing your inked thumb. Enjoy some MUFTA and watch a new government take control of your country for the next 5 years!
Whatever you do, whoever you do it for, and however you do it, you owe this great country at least one day in 5 years. Whether you got the free laptop, a health card, a bus ride, or even a fake message from BISP, you owe it to the people of Pakistan who are counting on you to get out of your comfort zone and be a responsible student of your country!