I voted for the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) in 2013. I campaigned for them in both my constituencies of Islamabad, NA 48 and NA 49. A lot has changed in the PTI since then, and little has changed for Pakistan. A little wiser a little older as the saying goes, but progress we must, for there is no other way out of the situation the country is in today. Therefore, I will be supporting and voting Awami Workers Party in 2018 and their progressive candidates Ammar Rashid in NA53 Islamabad (re numbered constituencies), and Ismat Shahjahan in NA54.I am secular and progressive in my politics and hopefully not a hypocrite. I never joined PTI formally because I was uncomfortable with their pandering to religious sentiments and even worse, selectively and emotionally using faith and scripture politically. We have been manipulated enough for 70 years and I found it disconcerting that a Naya party was following these dated and exploitative footsteps. But naïve and hopeful as I was, I did give ‘them a chance’. That argument as Babar Sattar so brilliantly summarised in his recent piece is the current narrative, but is over and done with-for me. AWP is a progressive secular and principled political party. It is small and focused. It is fielding two dozen candidates across Pakistan and thankfully in the capital where I am registered. It is small because anything which builds from the grassroots organically takes time to germinate. There is no quick fix here. This is going to be a struggle, but a welcome one. We need cleanliness in our body politic just as we need it in our minds and our environment. Destructive forces can be mitigated if we put in the hard work required. In my opinion, voting for the AWP is planting that seed in Pakistan.I believe AWP prioritises the people, and that means all of us. Not just the poor or the rich or the Punjabi or the Baloch. Not just the Muslims and not just the men — all of us equally, as citizens of one country. This isn’t just rhetoric, they have actively shown these principles in the seven years since they established themselves as a political party. In how they work and what they prioritise as central to political development. They fielded in our local body elections and three candidates won. AWP politics and actions have shown they care about those members of our society who are most vulnerable. In other words, those that government should be helping but does not, will not or cannot. Thus, I want them to perform well in the upcoming elections.Lest we forget, if thieves, murderers, bigots and violent rabble rousers come into power, it is our faultWhy would I vote for them? After all, I don’t belong to the most vulnerable socio-economic class of Pakistanis. I will vote for them because what I cannot do, or don’t want to do, they are willing to do. This is a responsibility they have promised to take off my shoulders. Looking after the most vulnerable segments of society should by something I prioritise as a Muslim, as well as a humanist. How can I not support such an effort? I will vote for AWP because I am tired of rich people becoming richer at the expense of impoverished Pakistanis. I am tired of the scandals which seem to have become the norm. I want representatives in Parliament and in government to be able, capable, progressive and equal irrespective of caste, creed, class or gender. Child abuse and malnutrition have become rampant yet it seems like no action has been taken. This is no future. More of the same will bring more of the same. A political party that gives importance to the well-being and freedom of the citizens is the party to vote for, and currently the AWP seems like the only such party.Politics do not have to be based on compromises. Why should they have to be? After all we are talking about representation of our interests. Are our interests exploitative and violent and dangerous? I hope not because I don’t want to sanction such actions in my name. If thieves, murderers, bigots and violent rabble rousers come into power it is our fault. We must stand up and canvass politically for candidates who represent our interests and our interests collectively as Pakistanis.On a personal note Ammar Rashid is an extremely hard working, bright, kind person. I have had the privilege of working with him and was thrilled to see him stand as our representative for Islamabad. I encourage all of you to give AWP a chance to represent our interests in 2018 Elections. What can you possibly lose?The writer is a human rights activist with a public policy backgroundPublished in Daily Times, June 27th 2018.