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“I Will Not Berate You” – Shehzad Ghias Tells it Like it Is

“I Will Not Berate You” – Shehzad Ghias Tells it Like it Is

Saniya Rashid

Comedian Shehzad Ghias said the following about Election Day today. His following words are certainly pondering over no matter the results today:

Go out and vote tomorrow everyone. Personally, I’d prefer you vote for people like Jibran Nasir, Ammar Rashid NA-53 or Ismat Raza Shahjahan NA-54 Islamabad but it is your right, go and exercise it.

If you are a PTI supporter, I will not berate you. I was one 5 years ago too. I feel PTI is something you just need to do once and get it out of your system. Part of me hopes PTI comes into power because I genuinely believe Imran Khan co-opted what could have been a legitimate grassroots movement for change. Once PTI turns out to be more of the same status quo I hope people will realize they cannot rely on a messiah and they have to mobilize themselves, build communities and bring about change themselves. The amount of actually independent candidates this time around is encouraging so hopefully we will see a surge in the number of Jibran Nasirs. Also kudos to you for popularizing politics.

If you are a PPP supporter, I will not berate you. Honestly, out of the mainstream politicians I feel Bilawal is the best hope we have. I have agreed with him on every position for the past couple of years. PPP is probably the party most of my friends will allign the closest to ideologically. It is a shame that the party is allegedly corrupt, much like every other institution of the country, including the one seemingly most beloved. Also kudos to you for never standing against democracy.

If you are a PML-N supporter, I will not berate you, trust me I would have done 5 years ago but not this time around. Selective justice is not justice. The meddling of the deep state in other institutions does not bring about justice, it destroys justice. I find the Sharifs and people like Rana Sanaullah and Hanif Abbasi absolutely despicable but they have the moral high ground this election and principally I have to stand with them. Even though none of them have ever stood for the rights they are crying out for today. Also kudos to you for not backing down this time.

If you are a MQM supporter, I will not berate you. I see it. Your political reality was created out of nothing and you were robbed of that political space when the utility of your leaders seized to be of much use. Time and time again you have been targeted ethnically so it makes sense to go back to your ethnic roots, even if they have been politicized for personal gains. Also kudos to your organizational skills and non-discrimination on the basis of religion.

If you support a far right religious supporter, I still want to engage with you. Has the state failed you so much that you want to burn everything and start afresh? Ask yourself, are most of your demands economic? Can your selected leaders provide you the economic relief you seek? Do you want to burn down the houses of others to bring some light in your house? Wouldn’t you rather that everyone has the basic rights you crave? Still, it is your vote and it is your choice. As long as your leaders agree to co-exist with ours.

This is the beauty of Pakistan. That we all co-exist in the same space. That we will have a Parliament where potentially Jibran Nasir could be sitting next to Maulana Fazlur Rahman, where Bilawal Bhutto would be negotiating with Sarfaraz Bugti, where Shahbaz Sharif and Imran Khan would need to compromise.

The need to compromise and find the best solution is not the failure of democracy, it is the beauty of it. The tragedy of our politics has been that every party leader has wanted to be democratically (some unanimously) elected as a dictator. The system will always be stronger than the man. Empower the institution, not the man. For all of PPP’s flaws, the 18th amendment is a shining jewel. Takes brave leadership to give power rather than to seize it.

So before you think the supporters of any other party or ideology are idiots, think again. You won’t just be representing the people who voted for you when you sit in that Parliament. You will need to keep all of our interests at stake. You won’t be a party parliamentarian, you will be a Pakistani parliamentarian.

A Pakistan with no ghadhay, no patwaris, no youthiyas, no bhookay nangay, no paan khanay walay, no jiyalas. A Pakistan with just Pakistanis.

Hope you keep that in mind the next time you ask for our votes. For now, good luck. May the best people win tomorrow and once everyone is down burning each other down, hope they will have it in them to build each other up after the fight.

P.S. If you are a Shaikh Rasheed supporter, I will berate you.

He addresses the different types of political supporters and highlights why there is such diversity in the parties being supported. With about 105.96 million registered voters, it is impossible that each one will resonate with the same cause or politician. The only thing to be mindful of is the greater picture i.e. the prosperity of Pakistan and all the citizens within. And, to that end, we must keep our differences aside and maintain respect for each other. Let’s be exemplary citizens before we seek the perfect leader for ourselves. Afterall, they will only cater to what we demand of them through our own practice and behaviors.


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