Voting in the Face of Danger May 27, 2013

Big changes are coming to Pakistan and for the first time in its 66-year state history, a democratically-elected Pakistani government has replaced another without military intervention. On Saturday May the 11th, Pakistani citizens, notably the youth, were flocking to polling stations, despite grave danger, to vote for the next Prime Minister.

The 2013 election has been called the most violent election in the history of Pakistan. The Taliban have already claimed the lives of over 100 people in the last few weeks, most of them political workers. The Taliban rebels also attempted to disrupt Election Day. Eleven people were killed during a bombing in the southern port-city of Karachi and many more have been killed in the violence-torn province of Baluchistan. 

However, even in the face of opposition the Pakistani people have remained strong. Their resilience and hope for change is evidenced by the long lines that were present at polling stations.

The election saw the greatest voter turnout in Pakistani history in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh, showing the importance of this election. It will be a complete game-changer in Pakistani politics and life for the next five years.

The winner of the election, Nawaz Sharif, has risen to popularity on the basis of his anti-American stance and his heavy focus on economic salvation. His official opposition, Imran Khan, is also in favour of anti-American policies.

The next five years are likely to see tensions arising between the two nations. The two politicians are also in favour of negotiating with the Taliban elements that exist in the nation. Although they stand on the same side in this aspect, they have different reasons.

Nawaz Sharif simply wants to remain alive and free from being targeted by the Taliban and is using the anti-American policy to gain support.

Imran Khan, on the other hand, stands on the belief that by rejecting American aid and forbidding the American military passage through the country, the Pakistani Taliban, having no cause to fight for, will stop targeting the citizens and eventually disintegrate.

Pakistanis hope that the next five years will be full of the change they so desire.

By: Danyal Ahmed

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