Post-Mortem of Election Results-PTI

While the enthusiasm and passion of PTI supporters at the polling stations was quite envious, PTI couldn’t quite make it. The following is a post-mortem of what is considered to be a tragedy hard to digest by many PTI supporters, although it may be the beginning of what it aims to achieve-A Naya Pakistan (New Pakistan).

1. Alleged Rigging
Although rigging in Pakistani elections is very common, but this time many video and pictorial ‘proofs’ of massive alleged rigging in the elections were shown, perhaps for the very first time to the public, on social media, which gave the rigging phenomena a lot of significance.
This is also said to have partially occurred because most of the workers of PTI were new to electoral process and were not aware in time to prevent the irregularities/rigging that may have taken place.
However Imran Khan is reported to have said on record that he believed that free and fair elections can never be held under President Zardari, so there is perhaps no logic complaining afterwards.
Secondly there is also a question of how much effect, if any, did rigging have on the final results, as rigging is also alleged to have occurred in other constituencies, including by PTI personnel in areas where PTI was successful.

2. Selection of Candidates
a) New Emerging Party

“The PTI is an emerging political party so differences are a part of the democratic cycle,” Senior leader
There were also a lot of internal rifts among the echelons of the party leadership over the exact framework to be followed in formulating a party hierarchy as well.
Examples include:
Party leaders including Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri, Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali, Sikandar Bosan, Jamal Khan Leghari, Mian Azhar and Mian Mehmood Rashid had conveyed their concerns, highlighting the fact that they had not been given any party office as yet.
They had also opposed direct nomination of seven new senior vice presidents as well as a president without holding appropriate consultations.

b) Timing/Preparations of Intra-Party Elections
Intra-party elections had to be postponed several times due to internal haggling. Some senior leaders like Mr. Javed Hashmi were of the view that they should be held after the general elections while others wanted them earlier. This may have taken the focus away from the challenge of the general elections especially for the candidates who lost and became disheartened by the results of these intra-party elections, especially as there were reports in newspapers of rigging/irregularities in these elections from the losing candidates as well as from journalists.

c) Internal quarreling

Several reports of internal rifts about selection of the most suitable candidates for the general elections also came out that may have brought a decline in its popularity.

d) Candidates inadequate in experience and knowledge of Politics
Many analysts feel that many candidates were chosen who did not have experience and that depth of knowledge about politics that is required. Examples were given of some young candidates, which although was a good sign, but may have lead PTI to a disadvantage.

e) Demand of Money from candidates
There were reports of huge amount of money extracted from candidates given PTI’s ticket for national as well as provincial elections and that money was also demanded for holding grand Jalsas of PTI in which Imran Khan or other senior leaders were to participate

f) Ability/Capacity/Temperament of candidate to fulfill lawful demands/requests of supporters after being elected
Many voters tend to see whether their chosen candidate will listen to their problems and will be capable enough to solve them. Since there were many new faces in PTI, this was thought to be less possible than with other experienced candidates. There was a feedback among the common men & women, that although some candidates may be corrupt or whatever, they were experienced campaigners, their doors are always open for the common man and they try to help their problems

g) Training/Trained of Candidates
PTI’s candidates were inexperienced and there was not enough time available for their training

h) Traitors
This rumor was also spread around in many circles including by Mr. Haroon Rasheed that senior leaders who later joined the party like Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Javed Hashmi acted like traitors by making a lot of errors and causing loss to the efforts of PTI

i) Role of Journalists
Many say that senior journalists like Haroon Rasheed and Hassan Nisar who were presumably supporting PTI, also wrote some articles concerning mistakes being made by the leadership of PTI. This may have confused some people.
Also some who doubted the integrity of journalists like the notorious Mubashir Luqman, who was caught live on camera in a controversial interview with Malik Riaz, and Hassan Nisar, who is a secularist having given many anti-Islamic statements including on twitter, also started doubting the sincerity of PTI and its leadership.

j) Chose candidate over party
Many people like to see who their candidate is including his experience, his sincerity, integrity etc before voting for him. This is because, according to them, they would be approaching the candidate primarily for solving their problems. Imran Khan cannot be at every place to solve their problems especially trivial problems. So despite Imran Khan’s request to vote for the party and not the candidate, this was probably turned down by many people.

3. Disagreement with Party Manifesto
Some people did not vote for PTI because they did not fully agree with the Party’s manifesto due to different views of some of its clauses, although it was a quite promising manifesto.

4. Anti-PTI ‘Propaganda’
This was one of the important factors that lead people away from voting for PTI. ‘Propaganda’ that Imran Khan is a Jewish agent because he married an ex-Jewess and that he helped his Jewish ex-brother-in-law in his election campaign in UK.
There was also propaganda that PTI is basically a secular party using the name of Islam as there were many members and supporters openly claiming to be secularists. In reality though, it was a mixed bag of different types of Muslims, both fundamentalists and secularists supporting the party.
There was also propaganda that Imran Khan is a ‘born-again’ Muslim because he was a playboy character early in his life and due to his alleged affair with Sita White, that bore a love-child Tyrian, a story that was immensely supported when Jemima acknowledged on twitter as being her step-daughter.
There were also complaints that Imran Khan was making mostly Anti-Nawaz speeches in his election rallies and he spoke less against Mr. Zardari and hardly spoke against MQM and ANP. This lead to propaganda that he had joined the establishment and made an agreement with PPP and MQM; propaganda that was assumedly supported by a few PPP candidates withdrawing in favor of PTI and PTI fielding its candidates in strongholds of JI in Karachi, thus dividing the right-wing vote.
JI also blamed the failure of seat adjustment with PTI, which many senior members initially agreed to, on a ‘no’ signal from USA.

5. Pro-PMLN ‘Propaganda’
Many voters were allured by many ‘developmental’ work done by PML N, despite the claims of corruption, including new road networks in major cities of Punjab, the Metro bus service, laptop scheme, opening 5-6 new government medical colleges in Punjab, eradication of dengue fever etc. The ‘untiring’ efforts of especially Shahbaz Sharif, was highly appreciated.

6. Baraderi/Fuedal System
This is a factor that may never be abolished: the feudal system or Baraderi system (in which whole families inter-related to one another) vote for the same approved party or candidate. This was again mostly seen in the rural areas of Punjab.

7. Irresponsible Behavior of Supporters
There were too many reports of irresponsible behavior by PTI trolls especially on social media including verbal abuse, ridicule showing disrespect even to elders. Complaint of physical abuse was also reported as in the case of the journalist Qatrina Hussain. This is thought be due to the inexperienced emotional young generation of PTI supporters who could not keep their emotions in check.
There were also complaints that PTI supporters ‘had an exclusive air of righteousness that gave them the right to corner, mock, intimidate or question another party’s supporter for having a political choice dissimilar to theirs.
This indifference in the attitude of some PTI workers may have damaged the repute of the party instead of strengthening it.

8. Influence of Foreign powers
This factor can never be negated. It is a question of how much influence did foreign powers or stake-holders like USA and Saudi Arabia have (these two countries are alleged to have been involved in influencing the results of the elections).

This is a complete analytic postmortem of elections in perspective of PTI’s performance and by looking at the post-mortem report, it may seem that the results are justified. There is no doubt, a keen interest, passion and people’s power has been unleashed by PTI. This passion should be carried on to the next elections along with assessing what went wrong and trying to fix them (as much as possible) next time….