At 2:00am past midnight as the GE Results were being announced, I sat in my room watching a video clip of a group of people of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) discussing the gains made and lessons learnt during the electioneering process and how could that help the party shape its future political itinerary. Earlier in the evening, I had a discussion with a friend about the prospect of more youthful, progressive and sane voices contesting the elections as a way to contribute something substantial towards the betterment of their respective societies. Inevitably, our reference points were people like Mohsin Dawar, Ali Wazir, Ismat Raza Shahjahan, Jibran Nasir, Ammar Rashid and the like. But, questions also arose as to why more young people don’t stand up to the task in their constituencies. What popped up as one of the biggest hurdles in the way was careerism. It is very difficult for a middleclass Pakistani youth to imagine a career in politics. There could be various reasons for that but the most important one is the uncertainty of the political process. That means one cannot see or predict even with an ounce of surety as to where will one or one’s ideals end up if one opts for politics. Besides, the parent-child equation usually works as an investment-return cycle. Parents assume that whatever investment they are making on the upbringing and education of a child today has to yield results in the form of a wage-earning professional tomorrow. Very few youngsters manage to escape this narrow picture of the world that their parents offer them. The result is a political spectrum dotted with leaders obsolete in their vision and unbending in their approach towards public welfare and betterment. A chronic hopelessness with change through the constitutional and political route also factors in here. Many a times in our history and even now, due to the unaccommodating nature of civilian governments and others that get to choose and decide, the intentions of reformist and progressive factions have been scrutinised through the lens of doubt and mischief. That makes the young lot shudder even at the mere thought of shouting something new and progressive amidst the rotten and old-fashioned slogans of change. Similarly, scores of youth also quote the inefficacy and powerlessness of civilian representatives in the face of other mighty powers that be. Consequently, assemblies and elections are not the way to bring about any good, they can be heard stating in classrooms, drawing rooms, cafes, city squares etc. As far as solutions to problems like housing, water scarcity and job insecurity is concerned, more and more aspirants need to come forward and amass people’s mandate through practicable action-plans like those of Ammar Rashid or Ismat Raza Sahejahan. Enough of tall and hollow declamation from ill-informed and myopic politicians; well thought out and reasoned debates on issues of public interest need to be the hallmark of election campaigns In addition, political parties ensure that the youth doesn’t opt for the parliamentary way-out of their socio-economic misfortunes. In the case of almost every single major party, the seasoned ticket nominees or electables are eternally fixed in place. The rule of the Chaudhrys, Waderas, Sardars, and Lalas and their progeny makes the political equation substantially impervious and unwelcoming for freshers to experiment with. But that has all got to change sooner or later. Fresh blood has to come forward, take the bull of parliamentary politics by the horns and dare to embark upon promising adventures of popular welfare. If for nothing else, and as we saw in the cases named in the beginning above, these new representatives oftentimes have actual workable plans of action and campaign manifestoes on the basis of which they seek to reach the legislature. As against the old guard of Pakistani political landscape, these new faces like Mohsin Dawar and Jibran Nasir oftentimes have a true appreciation of the lot of minorities and fringe voters. Having had enough of right-wing, politico-religious and ideological fanaticism, hate speeches and hunt-downs, it’s about time election contenders in Pakistan breathe empathy and love in the manner of these two rather than fire and revulsion. As far as solutions to problems like housing, water scarcity, job insecurity is concerned, more and more aspirants need to come forward and amass people’s mandate through practicable action-plans like those of Ammar Rashid or Ismat Raza Sahejahan. Enough of tall and hollow declamation from ill-informed and myopic politicians; well thought out and reasoned debates on issues of public interest need to be the hallmark of election campaigns. For that, ordinary but sincere social and political activists from the bottom of the process of political socialization as well as compassionate and well-informed university graduates need to have a go at elections and parliamentary politics. That is why for General elections 2023 we need to encourage more and more Jibrans, Mohsins and Ammars, will we? The writer holds an MA from the University of Warwick Published in Daily Times, July 30th 2018.