Thursday, February 11, 2016

PTI - Renaissance (Part-3): Direction for 'Brand PTI'

PTI - Renaissance
Part-3: Direction for 'Brand PTI'
By: Shah Zalmay Khan
What is wrong with ‘Brand PTI’? Discussed in part-1.

Why PTI needs a paradigm shift in thinking to salvage ‘Brand PTI’. Discussed in Part-2 here.

Is that all? Is a change in thinking enough? Surely NOT. What else is needed then?

Well, strategic restructuring at organizational & policy levels coupled with tactical re-adjustments.

Strategic Restructuring at Organization Level:

PTI needs to dump the obsolete, inefficient and divisive ‘provincial model’. No matter what their stature, NO party leader except Imran Khan can appeal ‘whole provinces’. SMQ may be an asset for PTI in Multan but can he influence Faisalabad or Gujranwala? Ch Sarwar and JKT may be effective in Lahore belt and Lodhran respectively but can they influence Chakwal or Bhakkar? Arif Alvi or Ali Zaidi may be effective in their constituencies but can they influence whole Karachi or Sukkur or Mirpurkhas? Fazal Muhammad Khan, Asad Qaiser, Azam Swati or Ali Amin Gandapur may be effective in their respective districts but can they influence Dir / Chitral / Kohat / Bannu? Yar Muhammad Rind or Nawab Humayun Jogezai may be working hard in Dera Murad Jamali or Qila Saifullah respectively but can they influence Turbat, Khuzdar or Sibbi?

What is the point? Dump the ‘centralized model’ based on provincial organizations. Go for a decentralized district model. Intra-party elections (which I personally don’t favour much) should only be held on this model at District/Tehsil levels. The concept/role of ‘central or provincial leadership’ should be minimized because it is divisive. It leads to ‘groupings’ at 2nd and 3rd tier of leadership which results in leg-pulling and the split then runs deep – from top to bottom (who doesn’t know the infamous grouping in the party that has cost PTI dearly?). So do away with it.

If needed, at most ‘Provincial/National Coordination Committees’ (comprising all district organizers) may be formed. All other posts, including Secretary General should be appointed directly by the Chairman. An appointed ‘Core Committee’ (comprising 2nd-tier leaders from all provinces and party policy-makers) may assist the Chairman on operational matters. That’s it.

Give the district leaders autonomy and clear tasks of attracting influential personalities (with good repo) for MNA / MPA seat nominations. Make tentative nominations on MNA / MPA seats NOW and task them to focus on their constituencies instead of revolving around the leadership in Lahore, Multan, Karachi, Peshawar or Bani Gala. Tell them their standing in ‘halqa’ will be gauged prior to finalization of ticket for Elections 2018. FINAL TICKET should be linked with ‘A grade’ in halqa performance review.

Major Cities: Karachi shouldn’t be treated as a city. It should be treated as 20 NA seats (and corresponding PS seats), with LOCAL leadership for each seat. Lahore and Faisalabad should be dealt accordingly. Do not appoint City/District level Presidents / Organizers in the big cities. Instead appoint/elect halqa-wise organizers. If extremely necessary, a ‘City Coordination Committee’ may be formed, comprising all NA/PA halqa organizers. Same model can be replicated in other big cities like Gujranwala, Multan, Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Hyderabad etc.

Strategic Restructuring at Policy Level:

At the policy level too, PTI needs to decentralize from the current ‘National Politics’ to a more robust ‘Regional Politics’ (while the term sounds negative, it makes perfect political sense). PTI has to understand its limitations; where it can or cannot get a foothold. And after brainstorming on these lines, it has to devise policies accompanied by catch phrases (Attractive Rhetoric) based on the regional political model.

Let us do a bit of brainstorming on these very lines.

Punjab: Stop seeing Punjab as 148 NA seats. See it as 70 (Central+East Punjab) + 30 (North+West Punjab) + 50 (South+West Punjab). The strategy for CE Punjab cannot and will not work in SW Punjab or NW Punjab and vice versa. And with PMLN’s heels dug deep on the 70 CE Punjab seats, no matter what PTI does, it will not be enough to unseat PMLN from there. So shift the primary focus to the remaining 30+50 seats.
PTI needs an ‘Attractive Rhetoric’ for SW Punjab and NW Punjab. And what better catch phrase than ‘new provinces on administrative basis’ (South Punjab, Bahawalpur and Potohar etc)? PTI has to base its Punjab campaign on the demand for new provinces. If properly pursued, this campaign can help PTI secure South Punjab.

Also by intelligently focusing local issues, PTI can get votes on the urban seats of CE Punjab (Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala etc) by exploiting the large-scale public resentment on electricity, gas and industry closures resulting in joblessness. For the rural part of CE Punjab, PTI will have to work hard through local organizations and capitalizing on resentment of farmers burdened by anti-agriculture policies of PMLN.

For reference, a detailed model for 16 new provinces on administrative basis is discussed in detail here.
Note: PMLN will ask for Hazara province to even out; KP assembly has already passed a resolution for that.

Karachi: 20 NA seats. 9-10 NA seats are ‘hardcore MQM’ (Altafist Mohajir vote). No matter what PTI does, the APNAY narrative is here to stay. But on the 9-10 seats where Pashtun, Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi or anti-Altaf Mohajir vote matters, where does PTI stand?
Instead of trying to grab the ‘MQM share’ (tough task grabbing something from bhatta masters :p ), why not concentrate on the remaining half?
Appointing LOCAL leaders on each NA/PA halqa (Keamari/Gadap/Lyari/Malir etc) and giving them autonomy+responsibility will allow them to focus on local politics wholeheartedly. Stop giving ‘big appearances’ Khan Saab, for God sake. Do away with the jalsa culture now. Save that for the election days, puhleeeeez.

Sindh (sans Karachi): PTI must realize that no matter what it does, Rural Sindh is not its cup of tea. Except 8-10 urban seats of Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and other cities, PTI has little hope (sadly, for Sindh as well as PTI). If possible, alliances with Pir Pagara and other non-PPP influential people may be made using the district level model. The only hope may be that some heavyweights (with satisfactory repo) join. Who knows?

Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa: 35 NA seats. Performance in Peshawar valley (13 seats) will depend on performance of KP govt and re-organization of PTI on district model. Let each district’s organizers and Local Govt bodies take charge and remove provincial-level interference. South KP (8 seats) is fed up of JUI-F and special development focus by KP govt can turn it into PTI hands completely.
If KP govt can somehow get work on the Chashma Right Bank Canal started, South KP can be bat-stamped.
But for that, Khattak and KP ministers / MNAs / MPAs / Nazims from the region need to wake up. Hazara (7 seats) and Malakand Division (8 seats) need some infrastructure development focus especially in view of destruction due to earthquakes and flash floods.

FATA: 12 NA seats. PTI can get 8-10 seats if it focuses on removing intra-party differences in the region and becoming torch-bearer of #GoFCRGo.
If PTI can raise enough voice against this brutal law and use its voice + KP govt initiative to get FCR repealed, PTI may clean sweep FATA.

Balochistan: 14 NA seats. Reorganize PTI on the district model and try to attract local heavyweights or alternatively look for possible allies in coming elections; Akhtar Mengal in Khuzdar region, PkMAP (yes Achakzai) in Pashtun belt and Dr Malik’s party in Makran region. Imran Khan may have to take personal initiatives including visits to major districts (not for election campaign but for party organization).

Tactical Re-Adjustments:

Local Alliances and Maneuvering:

Stop seeing EVERYONE as enemy (and stop trying to make everyone enemy). If possible, try to make local alliances with like-minded parties or ‘local heavyweights’, even if PTI was at loggerheads with them in the past. Few examples are Akhtar Mengal, Pir Pagara, Ayaz Palijo, Jamshed Dasti, Sherpao, Malik Baloch, Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Liaquat Jatoi etc.

Media Management:

If PTI has an ‘Achilles Heel’, it is the media management. There is no proper planning for party representation and swift/precise response on media; on BREAKING NEWS as well as talk shows. PTI reps, 90% of the time, are ill-prepared and ill-informed; full stop. Someone from Karachi representing PTI on a talk show about KP health reforms; Some KP minister/MNA representing PTI on Karachi operation or a Lahore leader representing PTI on Balochistan’s CPEC grievances. I mean WTH? Is this how media cells are run? In contrast, just look at MQM reps on media. ALL parroting the same party line with solid arguments (even when defending bitter lies) because their media wing ensures that the best qualified persons join talk shows, in relevant field and with well-rehearsed responses. Where does PTI stand? PTI supporters on social media eat their hearts out seeing PTI reps on talk shows doing what can be best described as ‘chawwalein marna’. Make a team of just 5-6 competent people (who said MNA/MPA/ministers are necessary?) and brief them daily on PTI stand on latest issues. Only they should attend talk shows. Clearly inform TV channels that no matter what, no other PTI rep will join talk shows. Do it, for God sake.
Opposition to Metros / Motorways:

PTI needs to stop criticizing 'mega projects' of Sharifs (whatever the corruption level in them). When will PTI understand the public (Pakistani) psyche / mentality?
Public has no issue with 'eating' (read corruption) of 5 Rupees in a 10 Rupees project if they can SEE '5 Rupees Work'. I know it is WRONG but politics is not about RIGHT or WRONG. It is about PRACTICAL and IMPRACTICAL and Sharifs have mastered the art of public psyche management. They are eating 5 Rupees in every 10 Rupees and still the public likes it because "Kuch tou kar rahe hain na".
PTI must understand this & stop criticizing the projects themselves. Do expose corruption / mismanagement in the projects but DO NOT oppose the PROJECTS themselves.
PTI opposed Metro; public resented PTI opposition.
PTI is opposing Orange line; public doesn't like it.
PTI opposes motorways etc; public doesn't like our criticism (even if it is genuine, due to corruption or environmental concerns).

It is BAD POLITICS not to listen to public opinion and public opinion favours shiny 'mega projects' (even if done with extreme corruption or mismanagement). Our criticism only makes us look bad. When will you get this Khan Saab?
In the End:
I don’t know if anybody (who matters in PTI) is reading this. I don’t know if Imran Khan will even know about this blog series. But if anybody with access to him is reading this; please forward it to him & ask him to give it a read. These are just suggestions. You can brainstorm better ideas but please do it, Khan Saab. Millions look towards you with hope in eyes; don’t waste their hopes by being politically naïve. Or if you can’t be the CHANGE that you talk of, clearly tell us so that we don’t waste our time eating our hearts out for you & PTI.

Phir hum bhi apni mazduri pe focus karein. Koi plot shlot, banglay shanglay banayein.

Jaago Khuda ke bandey :(

The writer is a tribesman from Bajaur Agency (FATA) and tweets at @ZalmayX .
(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. A sincere analysis with good ideas. Yes indeed need further brain storming. Imran Khan has to go to districts by himself to organise party, motivate people and resolve the local intra party issues.He has to stop dharna politics and mega projects criticism, its not only damaging his politics but also our hopes and nothing else. You are absolutely right people dont like this. He has to get rid of Shah Mehmood like people because they are burden on party and just useless. The other thing, has to encourage overseas Pakistanis to register their votes on this

    because mostly of them are pti supporters. I tweeted that link to Pti social media team and other big names but they don't even bother to retweet or even tweet by their own names, to atleast start that campaign to get ready for next elections.


    1. Zalmay Khan you can tweet that link as you have many followers


    2. Thank you anonymous Bhai.
      What is this link about? It doesn't seem like ECP official website. Can you plz explain? Here or on twitter?