Friday, May 17, 2013

[Elections 2013] PTI Won These Elections, How?

To some the results of last week's elections were a total disappointment. Especially after how Imran Khan looked all optimistic about a clean-sweep and how he passed on this optimisim to his followers. I mean here, we are looking for Naya Pakistan where PTI has a simple majority at 136 seats and what did it end up achieving? A mere 29 seats. Thats disappointment for you.

But you have to force yourself to look beyond the numbers. 29 seats are not so much for forming a government but they sure are a hell-of-a-lot on so many other levels. PTI has won these elections, we just don't know it yet. Despite strong set backs from Machiavellian politics and rigging from rival political parties, PTI prevailed as a national political force with votebanks in each of the four provinces and a potential government in the KPK province.

Here is the boil-down of what PTI accomplished in these elections:

  • PTI came out of the Colosseum of these hard-fought elections as a mature political force. Something it
    wasn't before. It received 17.8% (8.7 million) of the popular vote which effectively makes it the second most popular party of the country after, PML-N.
  • It has come out of its home-ground of Mianwali and pervaded across the nation. Previously, the only seat the party won was that of Khan's home constituency in Mianwali. Now it has been able to win seats from some major constituencies in Rawalpindi, Peshawer, Lahore, Karachi, Multan, Sahiwal and Mardan. It has also come runner-up in most of the other constituencies it fought in sometimes by a margin of less than 500 votes. Which is a win in my opinion.
  • If you look at these election results analytically, you will see that PTI has impressive votebanks across Punjab and KPK. The influx of new voters in the 2018 elections will definitely help PTI secure more seats at the center. Considering most of the people I know that were barred from participating by age limitations in these elections are fervent supporters of PTI. This is just a hypothesis and PTI's performance in the upcoming elections depends heavily on how well it runs KPK and how does the PML-N performs at the center.
  • These elections grant PTI an opportunity to administer one of the most difficult-to-govern provinces in the country, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. This province is a hotbed of the menace of terrorism which will sure be taxing on the coming government. Plus this provincial government will help PTI implement its plan of Naya Pakistan on a smaller scale while the rest of the nation observes.
  • PTI has upgraded from something non-existent to a political giant in Karachi. Not many parties can boast of that, coming out of the electoral furnace of Karachi, since the inception of MQM in 1988. PTI managed to grab more than 20,000 votes in Lyari (stonghold of PPP since 1968) and MQM's bastion of Azizabad. Here is a breakdown of PTI's results in Karachi, for the constituency it finished 2nd in:
240 14% Naz Baloch 21094 2nd
241 17% Dr Saeed Ahmad Afridi 27537 2nd
242 5% Akram Khan 10800 2nd
243 12% Zahid Hussain Hashmi 30001 2nd
244 15% Khalid Masood Khan 26252 2nd
245 28% Muhmmad Raza Haider 54751 2nd
246 17% Amir Sharjeel 31048 2nd
247 21% Rashid Siddiqi 35240 2nd
248 20% Subhan Ali 26348 2nd
251 24% Raja Azhar Khan 39766 2nd
252 30% Syed Ali Haider Zaidi 49324 2nd
253 30% Muhammad Ashraf Jabbar Qureshi 58989 2nd
255 11% Khalid Mehmood Ali 19032 2nd
256 28% Muhammad Zubair Khan 67797 2nd 
  • Not to mention that PTI won the NA-250 re-elections by a considerable margin. These re-elections were conducted under the supervision of the army in the light of the heavy rigging allegations on the original poll-day. Such results have given more credence to the fact that a band of thugs and goons who consider themselves a secular political party ruthlessly sidelined the people’s mandate on May 11.
  • Possibly PTI's biggest achievement is to bring back the youth of Pakistan into the process of
    electioneering and subsequently forcing the election fever to spread across the nation. The elections before PTI were banal affairs, comparatively speaking, the youth wasn't that involved in them and the results showed in the turnout figures which hovered from late-thirties to mid-fourties. This time around, all thanks to PTI, the youth, the elite class, the elderly, the former spectators and even the bed-ridden, all came out to vote and the election turnout touched the figure of 60% for the first time since the mesmerizing speeches of Bhutto lured the public out in 1977.
  • PTI also made the breakthrough of social media into the whole process of elections; from campaigns to results to reporting rigging. Following the footsteps of PTI, other parties also made their social media cells and tried to vie for public's attention on online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This will help in the elections being fairer and more actively contested.
  • PTI, if not conquered, then seriously dented PML-N's bastion of Rawalpindi which is affectionately called as mini-Raiwind by the latter party. It won 6 out of the 14 provincial assembly seats here (PML-N won 7 with one being won by an independent candidate) and 3 out of the 7 National Assembly seats. The results in NA-54 and PP-6 were subject to serious rigging allegations by PTI where the winning margins were less than 2000 and the results were considerably delayed. Subsequently, PML-N is nearly razed from the urban areas of the city and is merely clinging on to the outskirts. This shows that if it doesn't perform this time around then the people of Rawalpindi along with PML-N's other urban strongholds of Punjab are going to reject them completely.
  • PTI's 28 seats in the parliament means that the party can take its strong opposition skills from the jalsa grounds to the great hall of the National Assembly itself. With acrid speakers like Sheikh Rasheed, Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Jawed Hashmi in its ranks it can prove to be the strong opposition that Pakistan has been craving for since the recent times. A good show on the opposition benches will not only help PTI steer the government but also boost its chances in the next elections.
  • PTI has been a trend-setter and has transformed itself into a truly democratic party by conducting the largest intra-party elections in the 66 year political history of Pakistan. Teachers, shop-keepers, lumberjacks and carpenters swept away important posts prior to these elections and PTI has truly become the party of the people.
  • Last but not the least, the massive, voluntary demonstrations and sit-downs in Karachi (Teen Talwar),
    Lahore (Lalick Chowk), Islamabad (D-Chowk), Rawalpindi (Kacheri) and elsewhere in Pakistan against the alleged rigging in these elections perpetuate that the people have come to realize the power of their vote and aim to curtail its misuse. This is probably also a first in Pakistan's electoral history since the mandate of Mujib-ur-Rehman was neglected in the 1970 general elections.

So, after reading this I hope all Insafians will understand that things can only look up for PTI from here. These elections are a series of Twenty-20 games; if PML-N has managed to win the first game the series is still alive and PTI can come back stronger and sharper and hit its opponent like a boomerang in the next game. So don't give up hope yet, there is a long wait ahead but I am sure the game will surely be worth the wait.

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