In the era of Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan, there is a greater need than ever before that every citizen remains fully aware of and committed to their role in creating a fair and just society. There are many things every Pakistani should be doing, regardless of where they stand in the political spectrum, but seven of these especially stand out.
A democracy means keeping an eye on a country’s leaders and their policies. This is especially important in the event that you voted for the current ruling party, because their actions and policies are an indirect result of your vote. If you fail to hold them accountable, and avoid constructively criticizing them or taking it to the streets when necessary, then you are doing a disservice to the rights promised to you as citizen of a democratic nation.
Holding your leaders accountable is only one part of a democracy. The other is electing your leaders. Pakistan is a nation rife with disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the political process, definitely. But this process simply cannot change until every citizen fulfils their responsibility and goes out to vote when elections occur.
If dissatisfaction with mainstream political parties discourages you from voting for them, that is perfectly fine because there are countless other independent candidates who are just as frustrated as you are and are running to see if they can bring about some kind of change. Support them if you do not want to support mainstream political parties.
Too many Pakistanis are trapped inside echo chambers wherein the only dialogue they hear is from like-minded people. This goes against the root nature of a democratic society which involves the exchange of opinions and ideas and an active effort not to validate your belief, but instead to find the truth. Every Pakistani should be making an active effort to step outside their echo chamber in order to politely and respectfully engage with ideas they find foul and wrong. It is only through constant mutual engagement and discussion that Pakistan can progress forward.
Pakistanis often complain of artistic and economic woes. Poor art and low-quality goods have been accepted as the norm as far as Pakistan itself is considered. But, in an ideal Naya Pakistan, local artists and businesses would find that the bulk of their support comes from their closest circles. And this support would come not by demanding freebies but by actually purchasing people’s art and products.
The rampant economic and social inequality in Pakistan should ideally be tackled by the government itself, but no matter which world we live in, citizens will always have to play their role. The people of Naya Pakistan should, to whatever degree their financial circumstances allow them, support local activists and charities that are working to curb the many problems plaguing the country – be it illiteracy, hunger, animal-rights or any other relevant issue.
Even when told they’re wrong and their solution to a problem is a blueprint for failure, the citizens of Naya Pakistan should hold their heads high and, if their ideas make sense to them, continue pursuing originality and innovation even at the threat of alienation. This is as true for the arts as it is for science and entrepreneurship.
The most basic thing the people of Naya Pakistan can do is try their best to develop empathy for each other and remember that when they talk to someone or write a comment, it is an actual human that receives their message and the feelings attached to it. Rather than endlessly putting each other down and judging their fellow citizens to be less than them due to differences between them, the people of Naya Pakistan should celebrate differences in people and focus on improving themselves rather than finding faults in everybody around them.