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Rivals and revivals

The recent local government elections in Karachi are a testament to one undeniable fact: the city has had a change of heart and the Pakistan Peoples Party has emerged victorious.

Why, after ten years of an elected, democratic government of the PPP, does its victory seem indigestible and unfathomable for the esteemed political analysts of the country, is a question one might feel like asking. If the first tertiary cardiac care institute in South Asia (NICVD), an amount of Rs1,043,46.57 million spent on the construction and improvement of 5220 km of road network benefitting approximately 47,886,051 people living in the districts of Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan, Matiari, Tando Allahyar, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Mirpukhas, Umerkot, Tharparkar, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazirabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Karachi, Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Kambar Shahdadkot, Larkana, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Kandhkot, Nausharo Feroze, Shikarpur and a plethora of other projects are not enough, surely the restoration of the 1973 constitution and the 18th Amendment are purely expository pieces of irrefutable triumphs listed under the phoenix’s resume.

A psychological phenomenon that often shrouds the minds of humans is denial. Gerard Hendrik Hofstede was a psychologist and researcher hailing from the Netherlands, who introduced the concept of cross-cultural dimensions. According to Hofstede’s Insights, Pakistan has an estimated score of 70 on the Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI). What this essentially means is that we have a high tendency to avoid ambiguity, uncertain situations and we may even resist innovation. Why, despite such caution having been woven into the very fabric of our conduct as a society, do we still find ourselves entangled in the arms of vagueness and doubt? Why do we tend to prefer roaming the corridors of misinterpreted rules and partial verdicts, when we could opt for dialogue and mutual agreement?

The Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have both accused the Election Commission of Pakistan and the PPP of rigging the elections in collusion with each other. While this does not come as a shock, it does lead one to wonder why the idea of sportsmanship seems to take a backseat every time our country is at the crossroads of progress. According to the election commissioner of Sindh, the city of Karachi is home to 1230 constituencies and 4990 polling stations, with 246 union committees further branching into five categories. It is expected of seasoned political parties that have been contesting elections for decades to realize that ensuring a smooth electoral process is the responsibility of the ECP, which it fulfils in the administrative milieu of its capacity.

To protest is to exercise one’s constitutional right, which the ‘rivals’ can opt for if they feel wronged. However, to accuse without applying rational thought is as redundant of an act as overlooking the work that goes behind the preparation of Forms 11 and 12, only remembering to criticize the new delimitations when it is convenient and demanding immediate elections without taking into account one’s own lack of preparation and shortcomings.

While it is human nature to make predictions and go into elections or any other contest with certain expectations, it is just as imperative to realize that the probability of winning a competition is equal for all. It is rather amusing to see our community of analysts get carried away when it comes to just how passionately they seem to consider deviations from their expectations as genuine anomalies, to the extent of considering them ‘impossible’. Why should it be impossible for a political party that has performed consistently on a governmental level and continues to work on its organizational structure to win the support of the people?

Rising from the ashes is a hereditary trait of the phoenix, for in 1997, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had played a vibrant and effective role as the Opposition Leader with only 17 seats in the National Assembly. Maintaining a similar trajectory, it is expected that the phoenix has more surprises in store for us. What is worth looking out for is whether its rivals have enough accomplishments to muster up a portfolio worthy enough to compete its rise.

The debate is much larger than just being the bigger person, a quality that is often only revered highly and applied rarely. The future of millions of brothers and sisters residing in Karachi and consequently that of the entire country is at stake. It is also a matter of leaving a political legacy worth following for generations to come, having them understand just how vital it is to work unitedly for a bigger cause, looking beyond oneself and personal accomplishments to prioritize the people.

‘Karachi Hum Sab Ka’ is more than just a slogan, it is a proclamation of ownership and assuming responsibility. It is about time the spirit of the phrase is realized, for it is in the interest of the webbed marvel of roads, shores, lights and dreams that is Karachi, that we transcend all what divides us.

Michelle Fatima Syed, "Rivals and revivals," The News. 2023-01-23.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Political party , Political legacy , Democratic , Benazir Bhutto , Nausharo Feroze , Shikarpur , PPP , ECP , NICVD