PTI’s folly in NA-246

Leading up to the by-election on National Assembly seat NA-246 in Karachi, perhaps nobody except Imran Khan and his PTI cohorts

believed that anyone but MQM will win NA-246 again. If political acumen instead of ego had been driving PTI, the smart thing to do would have been to withdraw the PTI candidate in favour of the JI candidate. This way JI would have been deeply obliged, and owed PTI one. Further, the win of MQM would not have come across as a win against PTI.

This huge and even obvious opportunity apparently was not even realized by Khan, who went on to carry out an extremely high-profile and expensive election campaign, all to no logical purpose. Instead of playing down this by-election as much as possible, given its foregone conclusion, PTI itself brought it onto center stage and blew it up totally out of proportion, giving MQM not only a political victory but also a moral one.

To now say that MQM got much fewer votes than in 2013 and hence this proves there was rigging on this seat in 2013 is an assertion that will not hold water in any court of law. It is at best, as Mirza Ghalib said: dil ko behlane ke liye Ghalib, ye khayal achha hai. Not to forget that PTI itself got far fewer votes than it did in 2013.

But then, Khan Sahib has never been known to give precedence to wisdom over ego. One is still bewildered thinking about what the entire container farce in Islamabad last autumn was all about. After repeatedly pronouncing

that the game is going to be over for the Sharif government in days, giving firm deadlines for this, wasting practically 2 months of thousands of people’s time, making D Chowk an open sewage pit, exhorting supporters to take the law into their own hands, inciting violence, using uncouth language all the time, and generally rushing headlong on a track going nowhere, Khan and PTI just folded up the show one day. And showing no shame, they are now sitting again in the national assembly which they had declared as illegal and immoral and from which they had resigned.

What if PTI had by a miracle won in NA-246? What change would it have brought? None at all, if one is to go by their 2013 victory in NA-250, a constituency that has not seen again the PTI candidate it elected in 2013 as its MNA, and which continues to suffer all sorts of civic and law and order problems as previously.

Given our entire range of corrupt or/and inept political leadership, one still feels that if any party can take the country out of the chaos it is in, potentially it is the PTI. I say this, in spite of the total lack of vision and no lack of megalomania of its leader, simply because PTI did succeed in engaging the youth, and other large segments of the society who had forever remained voiceless and faceless. Change starts with the masses being awake and involved and motivated. To this extent PTI did what perhaps Bhutto had done more than 40 years ago, with an earlier generation.

However if the awakening is not followed up very soon with a determined march in the right direction, wearing a cloak woven from the highest ethical principles, then the awakening will take on an altogether ugly and dangerous form, a trailer of which we have already seen in autumn last year in Islamabad. The question therefore is whether, and this looks like a big if, the PTI and more importantly its autocratic leader can have a serious rethink and acquire wisdom, humility and a true sense of direction.

One Response to PTI’s folly in NA-246

  1. Yasmin Elahi says:

    BobBhai has very accurately summed up the feelings of the people ( me included) who had pinned their hope in Imran Khan and a Naya Pakistan! But few of us could analyze the situation in such a rationale manner. I have been many times to the NA 250 area and was surprised to see heaps of garbage on roads and: the persisting water shortage which has made the lives of the people residing their miserable. Talking about change is easy, but working with dedication to bring it about is another story. Imran Khan has repeatedly declared himself the only saviour of Pakistan and there was a time when I believed him blindly, but with the passage of time I feel totally disillusioned!
    I still hope that he brushes aside his ego and makes a proper roadmap by which he can play his role in leading Pakistan towards a better future!

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