Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had done very well in the 2013 general elections in Karachi. It emerged as the second most popular political party after MQM. It got more than 0.8 million (eight hundred thousand) votes. PTI won one national and three provincial assembly seat in 2013. Its candidates got reasonable votes even in the MQM strong holds.
But PTI failed to maintain and consolidate its position and support in the largest city of Pakistan. Its support diminished gradually and failed to show impressive performance in the by-elections. However, it has not been performing well since 2013 elections. It has missed the chance to bridge the gap created after the united MQM’s split.
PTI’s central leadership including Imran Khan ignored this commercial, industrial hub and port city with nearly 20 million people and never prepared a proper strategy to increase its political clout and support. PTI lost golden opportunity to become the largest party and dominating force in Karachi since the collapse of MQM that started in August 2016.
Now it finds it difficult to take advantage of new opening in this Karachi. PTI is facing internal infighting, factionalism and weak organisation when it needs strong organisation and complete unity in the ranks to achieve good results. The party leaders are fighting with each other over the party tickets for July 25th general elections.
Elected representatives of the local bodies have expressed their reservations against the top leadership of the party for ‘choosing’ and ‘ignoring’ party workers. The PTI workers are accusing the leadership in Karachi promoting favouritism and nepotism in the party. They are alleging the ‘Sindh president Dr Arif Alvi, Karachi president Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Haleem Adil Sheikh, Imran Ismail and Ali Zaidi for hijacking the party. They also say that they have approached Imran Khan, but no action has been taken. The party must resolve their internal issues. Otherwise, it will not be able to perform well in the July general elections.
The election ticket distribution has created cracks among the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Karachi chapter and the local leaders and activists are blaming local leadership for unjust distribution of party tickets.
On the other hand, the PTI Karachi Chapter has rejected the impression that party is facing obstacles from the workers in the process of finalising of candidates for the upcoming general elections.
The party leadership continue to make tall claims of sweeping the elections in Karachi but the situation on ground telling a different story. PTI might be able to win some seats in Karachi but it definitely missed the opportunity to emerge as the alternate political force to divided MQM.
Imran Khan himself decided to contest the general election from a constituency most probably from NA-243 to boost support and moral of the party voters. But it seems too late to revive the fortunes of the party in this largest and very important city.
This general election is going to provide a rare opportunity to the national political parties to cut across all the ethnic, nationalist and linguistic divisions to make Karachi a city of peace, prosperity and progress. As a national political party PTI could play a key role in this process. But it needs a comprehensive policy, strategy and plan to build strong presence in the city. PTI clearly lacks this plan and strategy to build the party on long term. The party has already lost lot of ground to other parties. PTI needs serious thinking and political strategy to make inroads into different communities.
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17 July, 2019