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Blog: My first election

Voting is the only option left to change Karachi: a young voter
Updated 15 Jan, 2023 08:06pm

On Sunday morning, I woke up in a rush to get to the polling station before heading to work. My mother drove me to our polling station, a nearby boys secondary school to cast my vote for the first time. As I slid my ballot papers into the box and the polling agent marked my left thumb, I wondered how other people my age felt about the local government elections, and how many of them were voting for a first time like me today.

So I decided to ask some of my friends, all in their early twenties, what was on their minds as Karachi moved towards electing a new mayor. (We have had an unelected administrator for the last few years).

Out of a group of 32 of us, 11 people said they cast their vote, 21 people said they didn’t. Out of these 21 people, five said they didn’t have time to vote, two are fellow journalists. Six people said they wanted to vote but could not because they were registered to vote in other cities or in Karachi cantonment.

A confused citizen, Adil Aziz Khanzada, said that he was registered to vote in Hyderabad. Even though he wasn’t born or raised there. Two people said that they couldn’t vote because they were not feeling well. A few people couldn’t vote because their polling station were too far from home.

“Figuring out where our station was a little confusing because the location given wasn’t on Google maps,” Sanya Khan shared. “The 8300 SMS thing wasn’t working for anyone in my family. It worked for my cousin so she sent mine and my mother’s location and silsila numbers to us.”

I wanted to know why Karachi’s young people thought their vote mattered. “My vote matters because it is the only power I have and that is what I choose to believe in. Even if it’s just one vote it should be of what’s right,” said photographer Tauseeq Alam.

“I’m not sure if it matters but that’s the only way I can have my say in the system,” said Osama Altaf, a fellow journalist.

“I honestly don’t trust the voting method because I feel it is too impersonal and generic and creates a lot of boundaries between me as an individual voter and my candidate. I only went so that no one rigs my vote,” said writer Aliza Nadeem.

Razi Wani, a third-year student at KU, said that every vote counts, especially at the grass roots level.

Medical student Sanya Khan said that the future of the country depends on young voters. “We’re the ones who will make the future, we have an important say in what that looks like. I personally still need to educate myself more on politics, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from voting.”

News editor Nimra Sohail said that voting was every citizen’s right. She hopes that voting for the right candidate will fix Karachi’s issues, including infrastructure, water and gas.

Student Syeda Eman Fatima had a similar answer: “Voting fulfills my responsibility as a citizen. If I waste my vote, then that would mean that it could be misused by anyone or even be considered as an extra.”

“Keeping the current situation of the city in mind, voting is the only option left to change its conditions and voting for the right person can make a huge difference,” said Fatima Zehra.

Marium Rahim said that as a citizen, it was her legal responsibility to vote. “If I don’t play my part, then I can’t criticize [the system].”

Actor Muhammad Ibrahim Malik felt change started from within. “If you don’t change yourself and refuse to vote, how can you expect the systems to change?”

Upon asking if they saw any other young voters at their polling stations, Razi Wani said he saw more more youngsters than middle-aged people. “They all very keen to vote for JI,” he speculated.

Syeda Eman Fatima also saw many young voters. “They were pretty excited and hopeful with this election. Most of them were the supporters of the Jamat or PTI.”

Muhammad Ibrahim said he saw hope in the eyes of the young people he saw.

I asked everyone the burning question: Are you hopeful that Karachi will change after this election?

“I think people are aware that voting is their right and they’re hopeful to see their city changing if the right government is elected,” Fatima Zehra said.

Razi Wani said that he thinks the situation won’t change drastically, but it’ll take a new direction.

“Yes, I’m hopeful that if a new face is elected and given a chance, Karachi’s situation will get better,” Osama Altaf shared.

Syeda Eman Fatima wasn’t so sure: “Fifty-fifty, as previously also there was sabotage or the situation got worse but this time people see hope in it so let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

“I’m not sure. And I think no one is. Karachi is a realm, full of differences and power, anyone and everyone can do anything but today we believe that Karachi’s situation will improve and be better for our future,” Tauseeq Alam said.

Some interesting, however, odd stories have so far been reported during the voting process of the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad.

The Karachi-Hyderabad local body elections took place in Karachi on January 15.

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karachi

local government

karachi lg polls

Sindh local bodies polls

Comments are closed on this story.

Hassan Raza Jan 15, 2023 09:51pm
A good blog though....
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