Monday, January 28, 2013

Decline in popularity of PTI - myth and reality

By Shah Zalmay Khan (@PTI_FATA)
Truly a bannnnggggg..... Latest IRI survey shows that PTI is losing popularity across Pakistan (except KPK). TV channels are flashing the news on screens and anchors are gonna start beating the 'Why PTI why' drums in days to come. PTI supporters especially youth are dejected & the Facebook/Twitter Insafians are up in arms trying to present multiple exlanations for the survey results. Some of us are rejecting the survey outrightly, others partially accepting it, still others pouncing at everytbody supposedly responsible for the poor stats (blaming everybody, from Lifaafa media to the 'Senator Aspirant Club' sorrounding IK). Now, what is the reality? Is PTI popularity really declining?
First of all lets bravely admit: "This is a fact. We are losing popularity".
Once this 'fact' is accepted wholeheartedly, lets ponder over two pertinent questions i.e
Why? and Any remedy?
The question is simple but answer is multi-dimensional.
1) Govt Funds
Being the election year, the federal & provincial govts (especially in Punjab) have literally opened the mouths of 'Khazanas' for their party MNAs/MPAs and workers. Streets, drains, roads etc are being paved; govt jobs are being distributed to active party workers like 'Chakwali Rewris'; contract/daily wages employees are being regularized in the thousands; billions are being doled out to voters in the form of BISP cards, laptops, solar lamps, internships and what not & what not. All this with a single agenda: "Buy (literally buy) as many votes as possible". In this scenario, all PTI can do (at least till caretakers take over) is to sit on the shore, looking at the 'purchasing power' of the ruling politicians (Since ethics already left politics in the 'land of the pure' so everything 'walks').
2) PTI's Weak media campaign
Ever since 30 Oct 2011, PTI has been on backfoot in the media. Most of this is attributed to 'paid' anti-PTI propaganda by sections of the media and biased opinions of some anchors & columnists (they are called Lifaafas - which BTW is a fact). However, part of this can also be attributed to the way PTI has conducted itself in the media. Our reresentatives on talk shows have been 'too Sharif' (and at times unprepared too) to take on the 'Magarmachs' of PPP/PMLN. What an irony that PPP rep successfully defends the most corrupt person of Pakistan a.k.a Zardari; PMLN rep successfully defends the equally corrupt Nawaz but PTI rep can't defend Pakistan's cleanest leader Imran Khan. If that is not weak media management, I don't know what is?
3) Not capitalizing on achievements:
PTI did a sound on-ground work after 30 Oct 2011 in the form of Jalsas across Pakistan. In the past one year, we planned many ambitious initiatives and successfully implemented them, however, we couldn't capitalize on them the way we should have. Let me mention a couple of initiatives where we missed reaping the fruits of our bold initiatives by not following up.
*** Karachi Jalsa:
Karachi Jalsa was a historic leap for PTI that could have marked its entry into PPP's bastion Sindh, especially the urdban Sindh (Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, MirpurKhas etc). A follow-up campaign after Karachi Jalsa in the major Sindh cities, headed by Imran Khan himself or by Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Javed Hashmi would have consalidated the gains of Karachi jalsa for PTI. That didn't happen and PTI went missing from Sindh after Karachi Jalsa.
*** Quetta Jalsa:
Like Karachi Jalsa, Quetta Jalsa was also a BANG entry for PTI in Balochistan. A follow-up campaign in Pashtun areas of Balochistan by Javed Hashmi (who is respected by all Pashtuns for his Baaghi nature), Azam Swati and Masood Sharif Khattak would have consalidated PTI position there. A similar follow-up campaign led by Imran Khan or Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the Baloch cities of Gwadar, Khuzdar, Turbat etc would have consalidated PTI position there. But alas! not to be.
*** Waziristan March:
Waziristan march was the bravest initiative taken by any political party leader in Pakistan (in the face of threats and security hazards). This could have sealed the fate of all other parties in FATA/KPK had it been properly followed up. The political gains would have been consalidated by a follow-up campaign led by Imran Khan himself or by Javed Hashmi alongwith Masood Sharif, Asad Qaiser and other leaders touring areas like Mardan, Swat, Swabi, Dir, Kohat, Karak and Dera Ismail Khan. Alas! that was not to be. Waziristan March lost its shine soon.
4) In the media for wrong reasons
We have been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the past year or so; be it "Kursi parade in Jalsa", "Pre-Azan Aftari", "Khaane pe bhagdar". True that the media's biased attitude in blowing such instances out of proportion is a factor but after all the happenings themselves were our own mismanagament.
While some may say same things happen in events of other parties, I must emphasize that there is a certain degree of CHANGE that the public expects from PTI (& rightly so). So when we are bracketed with other parties like that, it has a psychological effect on the people.
5) Electables
Electables were welcomed into PTI fold based on their track record and were made to disclose their assets as well as tax details, in a bid to give credence to their inclusion. Many (like Amir Muqam) were turned back because of their corrupt past or excessive precodnitions. Some (like Hoti, Bhnder) even left PTI after seeing 'Angoor Khattay Hein' (no ticket surety) but the mere advent of electables has had a negative effect on our popularity. From being 'nascent', PTI is suddenly dubbed as 'one of the many' traditional political parties. While this may be somehow okay with the hardcore supporter or worker of PTI, it may not be that acceptable to the sympathizer or the one who felt PTI was different or the completely neutral voter.
6) Party elections
PTI, as a party is busy in the party elections process since months. The delays in this process mean more and more of our party's energies are being consumed in this process while we lose precious campaign time.
Though some people believe holding party elections itself is a reason for popularity loss, I don't think so. Yes, party elections in the election year may not be 'cool' with some people but being the voice of change, PTI needs to have this 'Karwa Ghoont'. However, one thing must be clear; the party election process can't continue for an arbitrarily long period. It needs to see its logical end as soon as possible.
Any Remedy?
For the 'Remedy' part, keep visiting this blog. To be continued.
The writer is a tribesman from Bajaur Agency (FATA) and tweets at @PTI_FATA (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. Suggested steps to improve rating
    1- Arange Mega Jalsas(series of jalsas within 3 to 4 weeks) in Peshawar, Rawalpindi,Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Sargodha, Lahore, Khanewal, Muzafargarh, Gujrat, Sahiwal, Vihari. Each jalsa must be a gathering of above One lac at least. Must ensure scientifically the gathering above One lac.
    2- Give targets to each Union Councel Candidate (leaders) to bring a specific amount of people with them in jalsas.
    3- Give target to union counsel leaders (candidates of intera part election) to arrange at-least 10-20 corner meetings of males and females separately, each month until election.
    4- Announce Potential Candidates provisionally where ever possible.
    5- Arrange lobbying in Media houses, Invest party funds for this lobbying. Collect more funds for this purpose from the workers and leaders.
    6- Give Task to Union Council Leaders to set up “20 groups, each of 10 members with one leader’’ (separate groups for male and female) who go door to door to convey message and invite people to join the scheduled corner meetings in that area.
    7- Give task to Union Council leaders to ensure that each PTI Lover must wave PTI flag at his house and shop and report how much flags are waving in his area and how much is his target.