There is a popular saying in Pakistan that a people will get a leader that reflects them.
In Pakistani politics, the worst people seem to be the most successful. But if these politicians are voted into power, surely the question is: who votes them into power again and again?
FAFEN’s general secretary Sarwar Bari said that it was wrong to lay it all at the doorstep of the people. Pakistan is one of the four countries in the world with the lowest voter turnout. About 60% of Pakistanis do not vote. “The 40% who do vote are those who are carted in on wagons and trolleys to vote,” he said.
They have pressure, of the biradari, some greed. This is a time when people know that a candidate who is spending millions is capable of giving them 5,000 rupees a vote or so and this is a good time, if they have seven people in the family, to make a few bucks. This also ends their ability to ever question that candidate.
Murder, attempted murder, plundering the public exchequer, twisting the rules in you favour. These are just some of the main accusations politicians face. Add to this loan write-offs, fake degrees, fake nikkah namas, to even fake children. But these accusations hardly put a dent in their popularity.
Oddly enough, if a candidate is booked on serious charges, their chances of being chosen go up 25%. This means that the bigger the sin the greater the chance of success at the ballot box. It is three times more likely, says a survey by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
But conversely it is also true that the bigger you are as a politician, the more accusations you face.
So the question is: Are the people to blame for the state of government?
Are the people not responsible for making them MPAs and MNAs? We all want honest politicians and leaders, people say. But we end up choosing criminals.