The bright ray of sunshine.

 Even after all this time

The Sun never says to the Earth, You owe me.
Look what happens with a love like that, It lights the whole sky.

Hafiz

I held my breath today, praying, hoping for a miracle. The International Relations student in me knew, that rationally speaking, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had a slim chance for a sweep. But I believed in our Kaptaan, and his “extraordinary gift for hope,” was infectious. For PTI supporters like myself, it meant a Naya Pakistan.

Photo: True.

Miles and miles away from home,I followed election results dejectedly; I listened to triumphant PML-N speeches; heard scorn for social media victories of Khan’s “burger supporters”;

Yet in all the “jazbaati” reaction, I forgot to fully appreciate the heroes of Pakistan: the brave men and women who voted. I heard so many inspiring stories today: frail women in crutches going to the polling stations to cast their vote; families getting up in the early hours of the morning, dressed in white and green, and then patiently waiting for hours in lines to cast their votes; men and women assisting other voters, even if they disagreed with their politics.

For those of us abroad, it felt like we were missing out on Eid mornings. The air was fraught with excitement, celebration, and there was a strong sense of hope.

Imran Khan turned hundreds of non-voters into voters. With a more than 60% election turnout, Pakistan’s elections were historic. It’s tragic to not see the guy you rooted for win. But the actual change is grassroots. Pakistanis the world over were glued to television screens, following the elections with more excitement than they do when they’re watching cricket matches – and that’s saying something. Turning elections into a national past-time with everyone participating is a huge achievement, and Imran Khan’s partially responsible for this.

Change is a process…but one that seems to have started in Pakistan. There will be mistakes; there will be disappointments. But I am so proud of my brave nation. The one that flocked to polling stations despite threats and violence. We are a resilient people, and I believe that we all believe that change will happen. It won’t happen overnight. But our patriotism and dreams for a new nation will begin at the grassroots level.

Today I saw love. Love for a nation. Love for a land. Love for a people. This love will  light the whole sky. I know that.

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