Thursday, December 6, 2012

No Sir; You judged the Tsunami wrong - in response to Adnan Khalid Rasul's Tribune blog

No Sir; You judged the Tsunami wrong
By Shah Zalmay Khan
By Elections: PMLN looks like the party to beat. The link to this Tribune blog (by Adnan Khalid Rasool) on Twitter instantly got my attention and expecting some balanced analysis of exactly how PMLN looks the party to beat, I clicked it. However, having gone through the blog, I seriously got the feeling that the writer could have done a lot better. Though a good attempt was visible, at posing it as an unbiased analysis, the attempt was a failure (sadly). The love for 'Noon' was all too evident and so was the hate for the 'Fan Club' (the choice of terminology for PTI betrayed the writer's loss of objectivity). This made me feel like replying to clear some of the points raised and also to add something to the discussion.
First lets come to the points raised (I would counter those raised w.r.t PTI only).
1) "PTI’s popularity is tanking"
I checked the link given by Mr Adnan as proof of PTI's declining popularity (Imran Khan losing support) and guess what I found? A DAWN newspaper report from Aug 29 2012 about some 'Raja Sana' of Chakwal leaving PTI and joining PPP (Raja Sana = elder brother of PM Raja Pervaz Ashraf's son-in-law). How many of us ever heard of this 'Raja Sana'? With his brother's father-in-law being sworn in as PM, isn't the reason for his switching party all too evident. What has this to do with popularity of PTI? I rest my case.
2) "Even the youth fan club is losing its members with the same intensity as they came together back in November last year."
The writer failed to offer any source for this BIG NEWS about youth. I, however, have some interesting poll stats that suggest PTI's power-base i.e. its popularity among the youth is intact. (While some may say such Facebook/Twitter stats are not representative of Pakistani population, they do represent the educated youth, who are the biggest group of internet users).'s Facebook poll (Imran Khan=466,000 and Nawaz Sharif = 170,000)
Sana Bucha's Facebook poll (PTI = 50,500 and PMLN = 18,900)
Kamran Khan's Facebook poll  (PTI = 6600 and PMLN = 1950)
Talat Hussain's Facebook poll (PTI = 8500 and PMLN = 1900)
Dunya TV's Facebook poll (PTI = 7600 and PMLN = 1200)
Shahzeb Khanzada's Facebook poll (PTI = 6600 and PMLN = 750)
Javed Chaudhry's Facebook poll (PTI = 6400 and Against = 2600)
Completely Random Youth Page's Facebook poll (Imran Khan = 108,600 and Nawaz Sharif = 13200 )
Lets discuss some other figures about the educated youth:
PTI's 3 main official facebook pages ( , , have nearly 1.5 million Likes collectively (far more than the total Likes of official pages of all other major political parties combined). Similarly Imran Khan's Twitter account has more than 435,000 followers (more than double of the combined total of leaders of all other parties). These numbers don't include the literally thousands of unofficial PTI pages made by volunteers from all over Pakistan (who are active day and night for Insaf's cause without any PTI official recognition or support).
So unless someone has such solid figures about youth political affiliation contradicting PTI's claim over youth popularity; he/she shouldn't come up with sweeping qualitative statements as 'PTI is fast losing youth support' et al.
3) "Yesterday’s NA-162 Sahiwal by-poll was another blow, in the series of recent blows that have broken the fan club’s momentum".
Are you really serious Mr Adnan? Don't you think an independent candidate bagging 65000 votes (without any campaign support whatsoever from PTI) in a by-election against the candidate of Punjab's ruling party (with full govt machinery at disposal) is instead a cause of concern for PMLN? To be frank, this by-election was not even discussed among PTI ranks - let alone mobilizing PTI's hardcore strength i.e. the youth. Now, for the sake of argument, imagine the situation with Imran Khan’s campaigning for the same candidate in the general elections when PMLN won't have state machinery to use/misuse and people of the constituency won't have the psychological incumbency barrier (everybody knows by-elections go to sitting rulers).
3) "Add to this the defection of the Hoti family in Mardan and it’s easy to see that the PTI has had a rough week".
Seriously? The popularity/worth of Mr Hoti can be judged from a very simple but ironic fact. When Hoti joined PTI last December, he did so in a PTI Jalsa of 60-70 thousand people (historical Jalsa in Mardan's history - due to Imran Khan's charisma). However, when he joined PMLN, he did so in a Press Conference with Nawaz Sharif at Mardan although PTI folks dared him to repeat the Dec 2011 show with Nawaz, if he thought he was popular in Mardan. He didn't take the dare, for obvious reasons :). Why he left PTI? Well that has been answered umpteenth times. He couldn't secure a ticket for himself, his son and nephew as they didn't want to cross the barrier of party election for the same. BTW it would be interesting to know how Siddiq-al-Farooq and Hanif Abbasi feel having Mr. Hoti in PMLN ranks when some months back both declared him (Hoti) a big HEROINE SMUGGLER?
4) "At least two senior PTI leaders who had defected from PML-N are trying to negotiate their way back but are being refused entry back into the party. Similarly, a senior leader from south Punjab is holding back channel talks with the PPP and PML-F for a possible move close to the elections."
Such whispers have been doing the rounds for a good one year now but seriously guys, grow up now. Everybody knows PTI's constituency is youth and that every ticket will be decided through party election so why worry about someone's "Aaniya Jaaniya?.
5) "The tsunami is not coming; neither is a hurricane or a typhoon. At best, given this current status, a light breeze might come and that too will hardly be one to stir a few leaves".
LOL tell that to Mr Shahbaz Sharif and Mr Nawaz Sharif so that they can get some sleep finally (having lost sleeping appetite since 30 Oct 2011). BTW if no Tsunami is coming and only a light breeze is expected, why the Sharifs are continuously squandering taxpayer's money on image-building political gimmicks like Laptops, Peeli Taxis (latest is Youth Solar Lamps LOL). Also if the light breeze is that insignificant, why suddenly 1990-style ads by shadow organizations having dubious origins have started surfacing in national newspapers? One such full-page colored ad bashing Imran Khan and PTI for Pakistan's all woes appeared in Daily EXPRESS a couple of days back, from some organization BEDAR PAKISTAN. Matiullah Jan in 'Apna Apna Gareban' dated 10 Nov 2012 exposed a similar 1990-era campaign of ads and character assassination tactics (against PPP) by 'God knows whom' (:P) in the name of similar shadow organizations :).
Having discussed the points raised, one thing is for sure: this propaganda campaign and maligning and character assassination and whisper campaign is bound to continue and will intensify as the general elections approach. However, what PTI needs is to not lose focus and to adopt a simple 4-point strategy (in my opinion).
I) Don't open any new party fronts before general elections. Just conclude the party elections process soon and amicably and ensure that the elected bodies get the major say in ticket-awarding process (as already promised by the Chairman).
II) To quell any differences that may arise in local chapters due to party elections, provincial/central leaders should visit all districts and hold jalsas to keep the local chapters on their feet (zones/regions can be made and assigned to particular central/provincial leaders, to cover all areas comfortably). These visits should be intended to bring all local groups (if any) together and unite them.
III) Further mobilize PTI's strongest constituency i.e Youth especially ISF through the internet, mobiles, jalsas and provincial/regional/district/tehsil youth conventions. (Implementing the PTI Mobile Media Volunteers Scheme may be of help)
IV) Look for like-minded partners as election-allies but in doing so, the effects of any alliance should be wholeheartedly analyzed from national as well as regional perspectives (e.g. alliance with some religio-political parties should be analyzed in overall context of its possible pros and cons in all regions / constituencies of Pakistan - from comparatively rural conservative areas of KPK/FATA to the urban voters of Lahore, Karachi etc).
We all hope for a new dawn - however much difficult it may sound to achieve - but we know one thing; Imran Khan is probably Pakistan's best (and may be last) shot at that. And with this hope alive, we are very confident that "Tsunami of change is around the corner".
The writer is a tribesman from Bajaur Agency (FATA) and tweets at @PTI_FATA (Just a volunteer; no official association with PTI)

Disclaimer: This blog is not an official PTI webpage and is run by a group of volunteers having no official position in PTI. All posts are personal opinions of the bloggers and should, in no way, be taken as official PTI word.
With Regards,
"Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf FATA Volunteers" Team.

1 comment:

  1. Great job! A set of already hollow arguments thoroughly dismantled. Point by spurious point!