“More than Just a Vote” A Heartfelt letter of a youngster for her Generation and Kaptaan

Simmal NaseebFebruary 12, 2024
“More than Just a Vote” A Heartfelt letter of a youngster for her Generation and Kaptaan

“Walk Fast mama! I want to sit closest to the container! I want to see Kaptaan clearly!” fervently exclaimed my wee little 13-year-old self, pushing her way through an electrified crowd on the eve of historical Sit-in (Dharna) of 2014. Amidst the swarm of red and green flags, a cold breeze planted goosebumps on my skin, as the man who had taken the whole country by storm appeared right in front of my innocent eyes. Although my adolescent brain was too naive to possess any understanding of the complex political ideologies, historical intricacies, socio-economic discrepancies or the debates about rights and privileges yet, that night while first handedly experiencing his charming acumen and clever wisdom, gauging the monk like calmness and confidence of his demeanor and sensing the potential peace and prosperity that he had to offer, I knew I could trust him. Akin to a daughter trusting her father to not let her fall as she takes her first step, I knew that I could trust him with the leadership of my beloved motherland.

Mere Pakistanio” he eloquently uttered from the top of the container, the crowds and my heart went hypnotically silent. Somewhere within me, conviction whispered “One day, I will vote for him.”

……..

“Get dressed quickly Shehzaadi, the polling stations will be flooding post mid-day.” My mother’s voice shook me out of my nostalgia.  Adorned in green shalwar kameez and red shawl, I was staring at my vision in the mirror when for a fleeting moment, on the crossroads of unclear memories and uncertain possibilities, I came face to face with my 13 year old self. “Mera voter abhi chota hai, isse jawaan hone do.” Suddenly engulfed by the tenderness of Kaptaan’s words, I smiled proudly. Finally, a generation of impassioned kiddos who grew up facing undue mockery of being ‘Ill-informed, immature minors’ for supporting their Kaptaan, have now transformed into responsible 20 something year old young adults with a deep understanding of the complex political landscape of their country and the eligibility to exercise their right to vote.

The monumental partition, the constant fear of threats to survival, the tainted polarized foreign policy, the barely defended wars, the Martial laws, the 2 party politics, the heroic entry of a visionary leader, the momentary period of prosperity followed by foreign intervention, unstable economy, the abuse of state machinery and finally unfair electoral playground set to favor the power mongers- 76 years of deprivation of masses, 76 years of selfish power struggles and 76 years of enforced silences surrounded me on the way to the polling station, begging for justice and revenge.

In the past 10 years, myself and my generation has witnessed our charismatic leader go from the top of the container to the pits of prison, our young helpless souls have seen the international hypocrites and their local puppets replay the same script of handing-taking power as per their desire. Etched in our memories are the cries of Baloch mothers longing for their missing sons and buried in our hearts are the screams of girls raped by men in power, of jobless youth on the verge of suicide and of elderly patients as they die a slow rotting death due to the disease of poverty.

“Shh.., I whispered to my vailing heart, my vote will be the vengeance. My vote will be the change. Time to fight back.”

With untamed thoughts and a racing heart, I fanned the ballot paper in my hand. “Let the ink dry, do not be irresponsible with it. Each vote counts. Make no mistake.” I carefully folded the ballot paper 3 times as instructed on social media, recited ‘IYYAKA NA’ABUDU WA IYYAKA NASTAEEN’ 3 times, and diligently put the ballot paper in the box. My first vote had been casted.

In our country, standing up for what’s right and for your right can lead to oppression and imprisonment, casting a vote is a form of rebellion against this barbaric system. I wonder if the Quaid in jail and the Quaid in grave are beaming with pride because their youth has fulfilled their promise. They tried to burry our voice, we voted. They tried to bait us in with laptops and biryani, we voted. They tried to exert force on us, we voted. In a world where people my age in America or Europe would be worrying about what dress to wear on their first date or stressing over a crucial exam, me and my fellow Pakistani Gen-z citizens revolted against the narrative of ‘askariat over aksariat’ by exercising our democratic right to vote and appeared massively successful in our struggle until…

By Midnight of the elections day, the social media was dominated by videos of unprecedented rigging conducted by the veiled handlers of the state affairs who left no stone unturned to rewrite the same history of inducing fear among the masses and bending the electoral results.  But this time, the young blood chose to fight for their snatched right. Instead of being intimidated by their armed rivals, they made sure that the evildoings of the wrongdoers are exposed to the world through the power of social media. From Burnt ballot papers to state’s ‘security guards’ threatening the presiding officers, all acts of theft of our First Votes were put on display for the world. No longer will we let ‘them’ crush our self-respect and fundamental rights under their haunting black boots.

With fair election results initially pouring in, followed by broad daylight robbery of our mandate by the hands of uniformed goons, one unambiguous fact crystallized i.e. the hierarchy of power in Pakistan has changed, and a new establishment has been crowned- The Young People. The vote that they so vehemently tried to steal is not just a right or duty to us. Our vote is a poetic weapon against the US bought ammunition of the state within the state. Our vote is our conscious choice of a tiring path of struggle over a lifetime of slavery. Our vote is a bittersweet reminiscence of our journey from social media supporters to politically enlightened nation builders. Our vote is a reminder that despite decades of manic efforts to handicap democracy in our country, the civil supremacy has prevailed. Our vote is a debt that we payed to our brave ancestors who fought for our freedom.

We are the undeterred children of the colonized, the sense of deprivation that led to the formation of Pakistan will now lead to the transformation of Pakistan. Our Vote was the declaration that War of Independence 2.0 has been launched. My fellow ‘Youthias’- ALIGN.

Young blood against centuries old privileged status quo? Bus aapne Ghabrana nahi hai!

ALLAH U AKBAR!

 

 

About the Author:
Simmal is a young, Aspiring Clinical Psychologist with a deeply ingrained passion towards promoting psychological wellbeing and healthy conversations and debates around the subject of Mental Health and its Uplifting in Pakistan. Her Fervour towards the field led her to be appointed as the Director of Psychology Department of The International Leadership Training Institute (John C. Maxwell’s Institution Operating in Islamabad, Pakistan), at just 21 years of age. Her Chief Aim, professionally, is to bridge the gap between 3rd World Countries and psychological interventions and Therapy.

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Simmal Naseeb

Simmal is a young, Aspiring Clinical Psychologist with a deeply ingrained passion towards promoting psychological wellbeing and healthy conversations and debates around the subject of Mental Health and its Uplifting in Pakistan. Her Fervour towards the field led her to be appointed as the Director of Psychology Department of The International Leadership Training Institute (John C. Maxwell’s Institution Operating in Islamabad, Pakistan), at just 21 years of age. Her Chief Aim, professionally, is to bridge the gap between 3rd World Countries and psychological interventions and Therapy.

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