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Advice to Imran Khan

June 12, 2013

MY advice to the PTI is to focus on the positive. Unfortunately, the PTI’s campaign had focused too much on the negative to start with. They tried to generate a ‘tsunami’ based on allegations against the PPP and the PML(N) even though their own technical agenda was excellent and could have generated a lot of support on its own merit.

It is unreasonable to say that the MQM wins Karachi only due to violent strategies. The reason why they win elections in Karachi is that no other political party offers the Urdu-speaking Karachi voter a choice.

The MQM was formed by the poorest Urdu-speaking urban class of Karachi. Unfortunately, over the time as the grievances of this class continued unaddressed and the state tried to label the MQM as just a violent ethnic group, they did become increasingly violent. However, they were not then and are not now the only armed violent group in Karachi.

Pervez Musharraf tried to bring them back in the mainstream; perhaps, for his own personal interests and gave them some responsibility in Karachi. The MQM did deliver to the extent they could, keeping in view their structural, educational and skill weaknesses.

Imran Khan initially started a barrage against the MQM but soon realised that his voice did not get any traction in Karachi. Then he entered into a peace agreement with them and was able to get the educated Karachi voter to vote for him. This way he got a significant number of votes in Karachi though not enough to win him seats.

This was the correct strategy. He will do better if he continues with it. He should not revert to his original negative campaign against the MQM which the Karachi voter still looks upon as their second-best option.

Imran Khan has to realise he cannot win urban Sindh without the Urdu-speaking voters irrespective of the shift in the ethnic balance in Karachi. He must be willing to solve the problems of the people of Karachi, not only of the affluent amongst them but also the poor of Orangi, Golimar, Liaquatabad, Lyari and New Karachi.

He has to show his willingness to stand up to sectarian killings in Karachi, and he has to demonstrate that he would side with them when terror from Taliban quarters and other affiliated criminals strikes them.

He cannot be an apologist for these groups. Most important of all, he cannot be selective in his criticism against criminal groups and violent strategies. He needs to demonstrate to the Karachi voter that he is free of ethnic bias.

ALI HASHIM Fairfax, Virginia, US

Stop the blame game

THIS is with reference to your editorial ‘All eyes on PTI: New KP government’ (June 2). The PTI had made many promises to its voters during its election campaign like shooting down of drones (had it been able to form a government in the centre), improving the law and order situation through holding talks with Taliban, ending corruption in 90 days, doing away with VIP culture, holding local bodies’ elections in three months, etc.

Now that the PTI hasn’t been able to sweep the polls, it is demanding of the PML-N to shoot down drones in order to maintain Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Keeping this demand of the PTI in view, the PML-N could also ask the PTI as to why it is not blocking the transit route of Nato containers which are passing through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa? Before elections, the PTI had been holding demonstrations against the passage of Nato containers through Pakistani soil.

What is evident from such blame-game is that both the PML-N and the PTI are expected to lock horns in the assembly right from the very beginning.

Shooting down of drones isn’t a provincial matter; it is the job of the federal government to look after the foreign policy of the country. Let the federal government do its job.

It would be in Pakistan’s interest if both the PML-N and the PTI sit together and sort out a national policy on critical issues through meaningful dialogue.

One hopes that the establishment and the government are both on the same level as far as ownership of the war on terror is concerned, i.e., whether it is our war or the USA’s?

AIR CDRE (r) AZFAR A. KHAN Rawalpindi