THE Pakistan Tereek-i-Insaf and its supporters are jubilant about having Asad Umar elected from NA-48 (Islamabad-I), and I present my heartiest felicitations to them in this regard.
In this triumph, however, they must not overlook the fact that the two PTI candidates lost in the two constituencies previously won by Imran Khan. NA-1 (Peshawar) has been lost by Gul Badshah to the ANP, and NA-71 (Mianwali) by Malik Waheed to the PML-N, both with substantial margins.
It seems that the party, with its vote bank, is overly centred on Imran Khan, which has resulted in massive switch of votes to rival candidates in the by-elections.
The loyalty which Mr Khan commands from his supporters requires trickling down to lower tiers of the PTI’s leadership. Competing against parties which are believed to grab loyal votes ‘even if they nominate an unknown person, the nascent party should have a plan to change this lack of voter belief.
Cementing their vote bank along a defined political ideology might be a good start for the PTI. Not only would this replace charismatic attraction of the leaders with the ideological appeal of the party, but would also promise votes to leaders like Imran Khan and Asad Umar, and the rest like Gul Badshah and Malik Waheed alike.
Movements should grant eternity to their leaders, instead of dying with them. But if the PTI does not emerge as a movement greater than its founding leaders, it might fail to outlive them.
THE results of by-elections on Aug 22 produced some very heart-warming results. In NA-27 Lakki Marwat the people caused the biggest upset of the elections, even bigger than the upset of NA-1. A middle class PTI candidate, Amirullah Marwat, defeated Maulana Ataur Rehman, brother of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
This election was particularly spectacular, as all the bigwigs of Lakki Marwat, including its three elected MPAs, were supporting the party. Maulana Fazal had won this seat in the general elections, with an overwhelming majority.
The other two interesting results were of Peshawar and Mianwali. Both seats were won by the PTI chairman, with overwhelming majority. But on both the seats PTI candidates were defeated convincingly in the by-lections.
The results of these three constituencies amply proved that people have spoken up and given a clear message to the party leaders that candidates chosen on merit would be voted in and not just anybody imposed upon them.
In Lakki, people seem to have reacted to Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s decision of overruling the local Shura and fielding his younger brother. Similarly in Peshawar and Mianwali, Imran Khan’s PTI seems to have been punished for fielding unsuitable candidates.
Some of the PTI’s sheen seems to have come off, as it lost some of its seats won by the party in May, and retaining others, with reduced margins.
AKBAR JAN MARWAT Islamabad