By Umer Gondal.
If PML(N) candidate secured votes consequent to the political awakening of the masses, no other solace can assuage the apprehensions of benign voices.
Debilitating defeat of Ali Khan Tareen in NA-154 has dealt an ominous blow to the charged aspirations of PTI leadership, supporters, and enthusiasts who, in ecstasy of sure victory, had their eyes fixed on the presumably smoother win in upcoming general election. Politics, especially electoral politics, in Pakistan is a complex phenomenon, ripe with subjective support, vested interests, and a lack of political determinism. Since its 2013 debacle, PTI had plenty of time and opportunities to single out and address factors which proved detrimental to its political fortune; however, its leadership, the Khan, had a lot more to fair with. Now, when one more by-election remains to be held in Punjab before 2018 saga – of PP 30, a PML(N) stronghold became vacant after the untimely demise of MPA Tahir Sindhu – NA-154 specter can dent political air against PTI decisively. Contrary to NA-120, a PTI home-ground, the party has little to none chance of winning PP-30.
“neither voters were more enlightened than those of Lahore and Peshawar, nor electoral processes could have been pure of administrative influence of the incumbents”
A preliminary report submitted to Imran Khan on the defeat of Ali Tareen underscores underlying causes which impacted election performance adversely; however, the identification sans diligence. While Tareen managed more than 91000 votes, the failure to bring voters to polling stations appears an instance of hasty overgeneralization, a plague that haunts PTI in policy making and all other matters alike. Instead of convincing voters and winning their hearts, PTI workers and leaders, from other constituencies laid greater stress on photographing their presence and visitation sessions as entourage. Protocol, lip-service, and picaresque stream of social media uploads echo the absurdity of non-serious PTI playmates. However, as a silver lining, PTI has the leverage and would obviously try to veneer its defeat as an epitome of popular reaction against traditional politics of hereditary linkages.
“PTI needs a thorough revamp of its preferences and policies and is required to stick to its cherished promises of public good”
If PML(N) candidate secured votes consequent to the political awakening of the masses, no other solace can assuage the apprehensions of benign voices. However, Lodhran election has much more to it. Neither voters were more enlightened than those of Lahore and Peshawar, nor electoral processes could have been pure of administrative influence of the incumbents. Stigma on Tareens would have also played a significant part in agonizing folks on the choice they had made in previous by-elections. Despite than Tareens and Co. were confident enough and have campaigned meticulously, the decision to field a novice Tareen again has, as it was anticipated, backfired. Yet Khan, the only charisma of his party, went into what one can regard as hibernation after securing a certificate from the apex court. Perhaps the hue and cry that surrounded the news of his third marriage might have been one of the reasons behind his restive posture.
PTI lurks after accumulating public empathy for its fight against financial misgivings and malpractices in the country; nonetheless, Khan himself violated election protocol and addressed a gathering in NA 154 even after Election Commission had served him and his candidate a warning notice. Khan’s ambivalence, accusation of being establishment’s pawn, and uncertainties surrounding his persona have started eroding his hard-earned repute, a fact that would likely be exploited by N-factions. Denouement in Lodhran appears to be indicative of general attitude in at least Punjab towards the acceptance of Nawaz’s stance that, if sustained at current pace, would land 2018 election to PML(N) effectively. In order to present itself as a befitting contender, PTI needs a thorough revamp of its preferences and policies and is required to stick to its cherished promises of public good and constitutional supremacy.