Why I Voted PML-N and the Expectations Now

*Originally posted on Express Tribune Blog, posting the whole version here.


So the people of Pakistan have finally spoken!

And their votes have surged the PML-N to power once again.

PML-N’s supporters and voters are immeasurably elated, they may not have been as expressive in declarations of their support but they certainly have been expressive and assertive of their support through the ballot box.

I voted for PML-N because I felt it satisfactorily addressed the list of pressing matters that I personally prioritize for Pakistan:

nawaz_1_670-600x3501. The acute civil-military imbalance that characterizes Pakistan’s power disequilibrium is an issue that I view to be not only pressing but whose offshoots are several other troubles in the country. It demands a rectification, and the PML-N has shown the clearest stance in this regard: upholding the rule of civilians; respect for the mandate of elected-representatives; autonomy from the military establishment, its ventures, adventures, forays into the political and policy-making arena. Picking and sticking to such a stance, in my opinion, is the first right step in the direction of its redressing.

2. Their economic and infrastructural focus has always been palpable, and their track record is a testament to that.

M2_Pakistan_3From the M2, setting up of NADRA, dams and power plants, PML-N has delivered in the past in the little time they were given in contrast to their mandate of a total of 10 years in separate stints at the federal government. The Metro Bus system has also been a noteworthy project that can not be denied as not having benefited countless people, regardless of other criticism.

3. It has proven its seriousness towards education. Apart from establishing the outstanding Danish Schools, the Punjab Government’s effective implementation of education reforms all over Punjab, although criminally underreported in Pakistan, yielded remarkable results. 

4.  A specific characteristic that struck me about the party, had been its sense of political maturity and responsibility.  I believe the PML-N displayed judiciousness by allowing the last government to complete its term and not bestowing a crown of political martyrdom and victim hood on its head.

If the PML-N’s role is seen in this regard and context, then it also gets the credit for contributing to the milestone of the first term completion of a democratically-elected government in Pakistan and thus, facilitating the transfer of power from one democratically-elected government to another which these elections were.

Tahir-ul-Qadri4In its continuous display of political sagacity, the PML-N also brought together all opposition parties against the “circus” that Tahir-ul-Qadri put up in Islamabad; a reiteration of the party’s pledge to stand by democratic principles.

PML-N’s leaders also did not reciprocate the mudslinging and potshot-taking initiated by Imran Khan.

5. It is a party that has acknowledged its mistakes regarding Balochistan in the past and is making efforts to rectify those; it has reached out to Baloch leaders and called upon them to contest in the elections.

mengal-sharifBack in September 2012, the PML-N announced its backing to the six-point proposals of Akhtar Mengal in removing the deprivation of the people of Balochistan.

6. One can gauge the interest and dedication of the party for cultural revival by the initiation of projects for the restoration of famous cultural and historical sites and places in Punjab, particularly in Lahore, that many citizens are well-aware of. The beautification of the provincial capital and the opening of the New Lahore Food Street only add more weight to this measure.

7. From Sartaj Aziz, Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Asif to Ahsan Iqbal, PML-N hosts a competent and capable team of veterans that will certainly assist in the implementation of its vision.

8. Lastly, the PML-N is an alternative for me to PPP and PTI, parties that I do not support for a number of reasons.

I was and am conscious and critical of PML-N’s flaws and wrongs, and know that the party I chose for these elections may not be the best. I also know that the aforementioned points I have penned as my reasons to support it may even be or are found in other party’s stances, manifestos and works but the collective existence of all of these in a single party, constituted a reason enough for me to cast my vote for them.


Now that they have been elected as the government, PML-N will understandably under the pressure of its mandate to fulfill its duties and expectations of the nation. It is required that they actualize the roadmap they presented in their manifesto: from economic revival and growth, curbing of terrorism and maintenance of law and order in the country especially in areas where the government’s writ has been blown into smithereens and that are routinely aflame; dealing with the energy crisis; reintegration of FATA into the political and national mainstream; the country-wide implementation of their education reforms of Punjab to promises such as the depoliticizing of sports boards.

PML-N can also rid the influence of the undemocratic forces in Pakistan by assertive democratization of the country which can largely be established through good governance.

Keeping aside the emergence of rigging allegations and controversies surrounding the elections for a moment, there is little doubt that these elections have been a historic one for Pakistan. Being the first transfer of power from one civilian democratically-elected government to another with the highest voter turnout to date; they have been more a victory for democracy than any party in the country.

The single sentiment that has simultaneously surged with the results of the elections has been of hopefulness.

Even if the PML-N was not the pick of a segments of some people, these elections and this government are hoped to be the opening of a new chapter in Pakistan’s tumultuous journey that sees the beginning of every Pakistani basically wants: a better, prosperous and progressive Pakistan.

~ Hafsa Khawaja

25 comments on “Why I Voted PML-N and the Expectations Now

  1. Ali Rasheed says:

    Outstanding! Can’t agree more this is what I want to speak out to people the all reasons you gave I wrote it in my last post! He is a great leader and yes he will deliver he learned from his past and now he is a mature person. I see bright future of Pakistan. Cheers 🙂

    • Thank you for reading Ali!
      Happy to hear that our views and votes match. 🙂
      Indeed he is, what alot of people fail to understand today is that the Nawaz Sharif of today is not the Nawaz Sharif of the 90s

      • Ali Rasheed says:

        Exactly, he is totally changed! I am observing him for the last one year his speeches are more pure and flows into heart. I tell you it happens only when a person is speaking from the core of his heart with a positive intension. May Allah bless him.

  2. Habeel says:

    Thats great piece Keep on Moving With Great pieces in future Thumbs Up

  3. nabeeljafri says:

    Lol I was having a discussion yesterday and concluded that while I didn’t like NS and neither did my friend, the difference between us was I accepted NS as the majority’s preferred candidate while my friend reiterated rigging/illiterate voter base/unfair election over and over again.

    it got tiresome after a while.

  4. ahmad says:

    in a sea of PTI trolls, you are a beacon of light. Hafsah i am so pleased to read this article.

    • Thank you for reading Ahmad, and the kind words.

    • Rehan says:

      I voted for PTI and totally agree with the “PTI trolls” term. PTI voters just can’t stand others. I criticize PTI *because* I voted for it, however 🙂

      • And that’s how it should be!
        Those who vote for a party should consider it to be more accountable to them, then anyone else. We should be critical in our thinking. In Pakistan, the discourse dictates such polarisation; for if you voted for a party or support one, you are supposed to support it blindly; uncritically. And if you oppose an idea, a party; you are expected and supposed to oppose every single aspect of it, good or bad.
        Nuance is deficient in our discourse.

  5. Dr. Zawar Shah says:

    Could not agree more. Thank you Hafsa for this excellent article.

  6. Cav. says:

    Your beloved prime minister thinks talking to Taliban is the “best option available” – now that is vision, good luck with that!

    – from a strictly nonpartisan citizen that has spent one year fighting in the hell that FATA is.

  7. Usman Yousaf says:

    Firstly, Congratulations on winning Pml-n as you supported them.
    Secondly, they have been in government in Punjab particularly, for more than 15 years during last 25 years of Pakistan. There is no difference in Punjab and other provinces. Don’t start telling me about motorway and blah blah.. I am talking about the education system, justice system, economy, school, universities, hospitals.

    Lastly, will you criticize your party if they won’t fulfill what they said in their manifesto??? especially for

    drone attacks? they said there will be no drone attacks.
    bullet train? they will give a gift to Pakistan a bullet train
    load shedding? they will remove power outrage in 6 months time

    Ask these questions after 1 year and try to write something about it.

  8. malik iqbal says:

    I am sad b coz i am working out of my country and u know we not allowed use our vote but we r happy on victory of pml.n. we know he is only leader who put my country on right way based on track record..inshaallah mejority of oversease peoples like mian nawaz sharif…

  9. MuhammadBilalSaad says:

    Hafsa your blog was amazing i liked it very much and people have gave two third majority to PMLN and the time has that PAKISTAN will become Asian Tiger again….

  10. Old habits die hard. “Punjab’s decision was wise, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s emotional (fools), Sindh’s traditional and Balochistan, a tribal province, voted for the PML-N,” said today’s Nawaz Sharif who is not the Nawaz Sharif of the 90s. In another news victimization begins in Punjab as Dr Zafar Altaf pays price for refusing to fall in line before Shahbaz Sharif and Khawaja Saad Rafique. http://www.dunya.com.pk/index.php/author/rauf-kalsra/2013-05-29/3065/28094435#.UaV94diiEdU

    P.S: I am not a PTI troll/voter.

  11. Tallatbeg says:

    proud of you HAFSA on your vision

  12. lalarukh1 says:

    You have mentioned some very good points. I myself is a PTI supporter but I appreciate your views…. I love you writing 🙂

  13. Ahad Kashif says:

    I recall how Imran Khan’s vociferous rant for a “Tsunami” was seen as a bellwether of change and the formation of a “Naya Pakistan” by most of us but in all honesty those rants were as ineffective as Raja Rentals false promises for a “Load shedding free” Pakistan. Don’t get me wrong , I’m as patriotic and green as the flag that we so dearly adore. I mean last year I was on the phone with my mom saying “Amma please PTI ko vote dey kr aana” haha now that is what you call change. We were all deluded into thinking that PTI actually had a chance while we completely rescinded the fact that PML-N is a monolith of Pakistan’s democratic system and their popularity in the rural areas was far greater than PTI’s. I agree that it’s just been a year since PML-N came into power but Hafsa the truth is that Pakistan is not suited for a democratic system. Even the current government is dictatorship in the garbs of democracy. But lets just hope for the best. btw brilliantly written !! 🙂

  14. rehanud1975 says:

    I think it is the “Jiyaala” mentality that is causing more and more intolerance . I have become really disillusioned after the chaos caused by PTI and PAT “dharnas” in the past 2 weeks. I don’t go to these “dharnas” and so I get comments like “It is easy to sit at home and criticize ; go into the sit-in and raise your voice for change!” Is this the “Naya Pakistan” we are headed towards ? A Pakistan where anyone not agreeing with IK is looked down upon? If that’s the case , please let me have the “Old” Pakistan !!

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