The vote, in Omar’s opinion, is not simply a right; it is a privilege. 

Talk of revolutions, elections, tsunamis, voting and rejections hangs over the heads of our beleaguered people like a cloying pandemic; one that we are not immune to nor can we be cured of it. Most unfortunately democracy has no cure.

We are heartlessly given the right to choose our leaders; we who are sometimes unable to fulfill our nutritional requirements on a daily basis, we who are sometimes unable to purchase and consume potable, disease-free water, we who are sometimes unable to secure gainful employment, we who might not, on occasion have a tertiary, or a secondary, or, all holy God forbid, a primary education.

We are given said right; to select rulers, statesmen and leaders, given all our faculties, our capacities and our reservations. We are expected to succeed at making a cogent decision concerning the futures of a whole people while cloudedby a haze of poverty, hunger and decrepitude. It’s no surprise that people and not statesmen apologize for the governments that failed them.

So why even bother to vote; it’s not as simple as the fact that we can and therefore we should. It has more to do with the sense that we are capable of subverting the stratagems of lady Luck, who incidentally happens to be in bed with the landed gentry. We vote not out of a sense of nationalism, because with eight different languages based on six to seven distinct cultures, nationalism is as much a pipe dream today as it was 65 years ago.

We vote because, short of large-scale vigilantism and Megacity 1’s version of adjudication and execution, we are incapable of changing our destiny as a people and securing for ourselves, food, water and shelter from a storm of bullets and indebtedness. That is why we choose the people that we can relate to most easily, not because they espouse the same ideals as we do, but because they are the same as us; they grew up like us, they look like us, they speak like us and therefore they are our closest representatives who are willing to put themselves on a pedestal to talk, to convince, to be shouted at and shot at.

Karachi, no matter what you say about it, will accept you. It won’t matter where you are from, you will find someone as twisted and/or battered as yourself in this city. It is a city that shelters migrants; feeds them and clothes them and then asks for nothing in return as its denizens, short of burning to it the ground, do to it, all manner of inexplicable things. That is why Karachiites will vote in the migrants, the united migrants that is, as these are a people who have realized that they have as many similarities as they have differences.

The one common ideal that unites them is that they share the same breathing space and it would be better for all parties concerned that to ensure that the aforementioned breathing space remains peaceful. Without a shadow of a doubt this city produces unmatched bloodshed, unhindered vitriol and unfettered sadness, but with that it also provides for half the nation’s revenue. MQM before anything has this city’s best interests; this might seem untrue as charges have been levelled against them about protection money and racketeering.

Yet in a city where police officers can be bought and paid for with a hundred rupees and where the city does not receive half the revenue it generates and fails to tax the stinking rich, generating revenue in this unorthodox fashion is not the worst idea that can be had.