One party can’t address Pakistan’s challenges, says veteran Karachi candidate

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Pakistan is heading toward a hung assembly as no single party will be in a position to form the government in its forthcoming elections, a veteran of Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), and a candidate from the country’s biggest city Karachi, has said.

Dost Mohammed Faizi said this will also be an opportunity for the country’s political parties to come together and work collectively for its future.

“I think in the time of crisis that Pakistan is facing, it is in the interest of all political parties to work together. We need everybody’s contributions,” said Faizi, who is PML’s official candidate from NA-256 constituency in Karachi.

“The country needs a broader vision that embraces all political voices. This is the only path to progress”, Faizi told Al Arabiya English in an exclusive interview.

Dost Mohammed Faizi, who first contested an election in 1977, has served as minister. He was also a member of the national assembly and has been advisor to the prime minister and the governor.

The constituency he is contesting from is the most educated across the country. “Around 57-58 percent people here are highly educated. “I feel privileged that I am in contention to represent this educated class,” he said.

Aware voters

According to Faizi, awareness among voters is very high this time around. “People are getting increasingly enlightened about politics and credit goes to electronic and social media,” he says.

He says young voters like questioning and challenging and literacy rates are getting better. “Earlier nobody remembered political manifesto and agenda based on which
government lasted five years,” he says.

“It shows that democracy and democratic institutions have strengthened over years. This change will also reflect the election result this time,” says Faizi.

Social media

Faizi, however, says he cannot deny the importance of social media. “When 48 percent voters in our country is under the age of 30, one cannot ignore the power of social media while engaging them. It has becoming a necessary evil,” he says.

“Even though I am a traditional politician I don’t feel satisfied unless I meet my voters, shake hands with them and meet them in person,” he says.

Faizi, however said, that he wont be surprised that in few years, entire election campaigns will run virtually. Things are changing very fast, he said.

Young and independent faces

For Faizi it is heartening to see lots of young candidates contesting the elections. “Their level of commitment and enthusiasm is very inspiring. Our young generation believes in electoral process and want to bring change in the country through parliament,” he says.

He, however, said they sometimes lack clarity of vision. “Perhaps they haven’t read books and are not aware of the dynamics around them. Google search cannot replace books. That is why they get influenced easily. We should have a mix of both senior and young politicians in the parliament.”

City of migrants

Besides being the commercial capital of the country, Karachi has also been home to millions of migrants, especially from Afghanistan. Faizi sees this as a crucial factor, which gives it political maturity.

“Karachi is home to people from all parts of the country. That is why this city’s political dynamics is much more mature than other parts of the country,” he said adding that regardless of whether you live in slum or in elite part of the city, everyone in Karachi has struggled, which brings political maturity.

According to him, that is why Karachi elections are very crucial. “Whether we are talking about upcoming elections or the previous ones, Karachi is of utmost significance. It reflects the country’s political future. Karachi’s decision is the decision of the country”, he said.

Go out and vote

With the rising political awareness, Faizi is expecting good voter turnout. “It is the responsibility of each countryman to cast vote. If we cannot give one day to cast vote then how can we expect our parliament representatives to give five years to us? It is our national responsibility,” says Faizi.