Dear Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s supporters,
This is something that I’ve wanted to write about for long.
I’m not a supporter of PTI but I am miffed at many of you who are, and no, this is not another in the long list of posts written by victims of the trolls. This is about the general, average PTI supporter that I have come across. (Now, now. You may say these are just a handful, but what matters is, they are still there).
With the rise of PTI there has been inevitable and palpable rise in your numbers; its supporters, their visibility and their displays of support to the party.
There is nothing at fault with this, it is only vital to the cultivation of a democratic culture of political choice, participation and support in a developing democracy like Pakistan.
Talking of democracy, and this is where my problem with you appears.
Urban PTI supporters, by their sheer force of numbers and assertions of party support, have created, consciously or unconsciously, an environment of fear, uneasiness and reluctance for others to openly declare or admit their differing political choice of another party.
This reluctance and uneasiness lies in your attitude, which may exist in segments of other parties too, but I have personally found it to be greater in prevalence in PTI’s supporters.
There is an air of self-righteousness about many of you, which seems to stem from your support for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Here is a revelation: every single citizen of Pakistan has the prosperity and progress of Pakistan in both his heart and mind when chosing a political party to support. Supporting a different party does not make him to be a Pakistani who wants it any less than the supporter of another party, which in your case, is PTI. It does not make him an unintelligent individual who must, and must, be voting for the other party on the basis of ignorance, ethnicity, religion, sect or biraderi.
Nor do you, by the virtue of being a PTI supporter, become a better, more patriotic or a more wise Pakistani than others.
Another realization knock: change is a very subjective word. What may constitute change for you, may not constitute change for me. Imran Khan is the torch-bearer of change for you, and with all due respect and my admiration for him as a cricketer and a philanthropist, I do not subscribe to his political ideology. And if I state this as a reason for ‘not supporting the change’, it is best that you accept it.
And in contrast to what many of you tend to turn to as a course, it gives you absolutely no right to corner, mock, intimidate or question another party’s supporter for having a political choice dissimilar to your’s.
No voter is accountable to any other voter for his own political choices; he is neither bound to justify those to him nor is he obliged to feel awkward or uncomfortable for having a political party that seems to have lowered in mainstream popularity or in your/his eyes.
As supporters of PTI, you have been at the forefront of canvassing for your party’s candidates and convincing others to vote PTI. What you must realize is that there is a difference between convincing and forceful political proselytizing.
If I haven’t asked to be ‘convinced‘, and don’t push you to support my party and have already made up my mind, kindly cease the over-assertive attempts at my conversion from your high horse.
Everyone has the provision of a single privilege, by which he exercises his prerogative of a voter’ one person has only one vote; and to you, your vote, to me, mine.
I wholeheartedly respect your political pick, you respect mine.
At the end of the day, you must realize that you are not doing anyone a favor by this attitude which you have adopted. Especially not your own party.
What you must realize is that difference of political opinion and choice is a natural composition of the political landscape of any country wishing to espouse democracy, and as we inch towards its establishment, it will be the sooner the better that we all come to accept and adapt to it with tolerance and respect.
Here’s wishing these elections help and heal Pakistan, and we begin to mature ourselves as citizens, party supporters, voter and above all, Pakistanis.
Another party’s voter,