Unfortunately, the last elections failed to follow a path that could have ensured acceptable results. The incumbent government, moreover, kept absolving itself of accusations of rigging, and chose to spend a lot of money on by elections. In light of this issue, therefore, this article will provide a method to reinstate political tranquility in the state, and will give measures we can adopt.Although the coming elections will be robust enough to confront any unfair practices, all of us have a civic duty to collaborate with our national institutions in ensuring transparent elections. First, we must be fully aware that voters can play a major role in ensuring democracy does not flop in Pakistan once again. The vote is a powerful bullet that can silence anti-democratic forces. We must also thoroughly examine ourselves and question what type of state-system we want, because it is important to carefully analyse our next steps before voting. We must ensure that we do not follow the opinions of others, but instead vote based on our own convictions.For instance, if you are a democratic person, and want the state to only be controlled by democratic forces, you should begin to protect yourself from the plethora of garish electoral advertisements, banners, signboards and other forms of propaganda. We must also work to match our ideologies with a democratic political manifesto to learn more about the potential political party or independent candidate we wish to vote for. There is a guideline to do all of this. Making up our minds to vote for someone is a critical and challenging decision, as it should be. Commonly, party leaders make a lot of political statements which cannot be taken seriously. On the other hand, their interviews by qualified journalists expose their ideologies and their political agendas, while some lay out their beliefs in books and articles. It is thus important to scrutinise these sources to gain a better understanding of these leaders’ theories and qualifications.We must be fully aware that voters can play a major role in ensuring democracy does not flop in Pakistan once again, since the vote is a powerful bullet that can silence anti-democratic forcesWe must also carefully ponder which systems works best in our state. Should the governing system be parliamentary or presidential? What should be honoured as the supreme power — the constitution or a group of rioters? We must also question essential contours of public policy such as fixing external weaknesses by having a more robust foreign policy, questioning what ought to be followed — humanity or our individual sects, and how much of the annual budget should go to education and healthcare. We must also seriously confront our most serious social challenges such as the imbalanced religious paradigm, and the oppression of minorities. We must also question if we value social equality and whether we want a state controlled by religious powers. We must also chalk out basic tenets of our ideology such as if we wish to see Parliament reign supreme in the country.There also exist no checks and balances to prevent political candidates from hijacking public opinion. Thus, we must protect ourselves from false electoral agendas before we cast our votes. It is also essential that we do not expedite this process, and instead carefully scrutinise whom we vote for.It is high time that we overcome the ossified democracy we currently suffer from. The general elections of 2018 will face a lot of different challenges. In order to defy rigging and to fight against the specter of hidden powers hovering ominously on the horizon, concerned political parties’ and responsible institutions’ first priority must be Pakistan.The writer is a freelance columnist and can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter @Raja_QuddusPublished in Daily Times, May 30th 2018.