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So the 90 days have passed and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has not been able to deliver on any of its election campaign promises despite having a stable government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. And guess what, they are not even asking for an extension in the period. They don’t feel compelled to. In fact, they are sitting pretty and pretending as if they had never promised a thing.

Despite this display of nonchalance, you may want to grant another 90 days or so to the young party considering that the rhetoric of change in such an unrealistically short time frame was a campaign gimmick and that the party does actually have good intentions to deliver.

But what can one say about US President Obama’s “Yes We Can” campaign? He too, had made lots of promises with his nation and the world when he was running for his first term in 2008, foremost among them being to end wars in Asia. He did not only back out, he is bent upon pushing America into the opposite direction – a new war. Unrepentant, he is behaving as if he hadn’t raised any hopes nor promised anything, and he is well into his second four-year term.

His most vocal European ally, François Hollande, was elected in May last year on a similar high-hope election campaign that promised the French a naya France. They are already grumbling about being betrayed. Hollande has taken even less to surprise his voters, with U-turns reneging on his campaign promises.

If you expand further, you will realise that this disappointment and frustration is global – there is a pattern to it. Political parties invest billions in election campaigns to create hype and inject notions like hope and change into political discourse, which generally start and end all in the TV studio. They win and after that they do only one thing – serve the status quo. They don’t even look back at the promises they had made.

An activist in India, recently wrote to all the political parties requesting copies of their election manifestoes published over the past so that these could then be compared with each other and against what the winning parties had actually delivered. No party thought it was obliged to meet the request, except one, the Communist Party, which told the activist that its secretariat did not keep a copy for record and thus it was unable to provide one!

Once the election carnival is over, the electorate becomes redundant till the start of the next round of the electoral circus that again, offers them another dose of hope in a completely different wrapping. So, has democracy failed? It was supposed to be the “government of the people, by the people, for the people” but it only alludes to this ideal for a short while, and in a whimsical manner.

The question is important and the answer can’t be short and easy. In fact, it can be pursued as a quest. It could be tackled from many perspectives. I will here focus on one of its aspects, that is the elections. The main instrument, or the medium, through which democracy works is the electoral process. Maybe it is the mechanics of elections that is obstructing hope to translate into change. I think that a close look at the nuts and bolts of this all-important conduit of democracy might offer some help. I have below explored three points in this regard:

1: How to make the ‘silent’ majority speak?

A good part of the electorate does not cast its vote for a host of reasons. Of every 1000 voters registered for Pakistan’s 2013 general elections, 445 did not appear at the polling stations, notwithstanding that this was far better than the earlier figures. In the general elections of 2002, a whopping 582 had not exercised their right to vote. This does not include those adults who qualify as voters except that they do not possess an identity card and thus are not enrolled in voter lists.

The majority of the non-voters in Pakistan are women. Though exact figure are not available there is evidence suggesting that the number of non-voting women might be as high as double the non-voting men. And please, don’t think that this is a problem limited to the Pakhtunkhwa province. It’s everywhere. The only difference is that political parties in Pakhtunkhwa ensure through formal agreements that no one breaches ‘tradition’. In other areas, the candidates may not be as cautious but ‘tradition’ anyhow does make its way.

The candidates also fail to mobilise certain pockets of men or maybe they’re just following some other ‘tradition’.

In theory, candidates should be mobilising each and every group of electorates but field experiences suggest that they are not interested in an all-inclusive universal campaign. They instead make cautious calculations about their support bases and want only select groups to walk to the polling stations. I know of some candidates, who after securing a supposedly safe position actually went out to immobilise their potential opponents. One nasty way of doing that is to ‘buy’ the potential opponents’ identity cards for the Election Day.

I am here suggesting that it is not in the interest of the political class to make the electoral process all-inclusive. All they want is just enough votes. The objective of making elections inclusive cannot be left to contestants. The ‘democratically’ agreed upon exclusion of women can serve as a classic example of this phenomenon. How can then this shortcoming be overcome? By making voting compulsory for all, by continuing polling for more than one day, by making it mandatory for the winner to secure at least 51 per cent of the votes … anyone?

2: How to ensure a just translation of votes into seats?

Our electoral scheme follows what is termed as first-past-the-post voting system. The single biggest vote getter wins the race. So if 100 votes are divided among four candidates as 26, 25, 25 and 24. The candidate securing 26 wins, even if he/she may not represent the majority – the 74 voters.

As evident from the above graphics, in the 2013 General Elections more votes were wasted than they were represented – winners secured 267 of the 555 cast votes, while the 270 who did cast their votes are not represented in the elected houses, as the candidates polling these votes lost the race. To correct this anomaly some countries hold a second round of elections which is contested only by the top two vote getters.

This phenomenon becomes even more problematic when considered from the view of votes polled by a party. The parties that have vote bank spread out over many constituencies can get a reasonable number of votes but these might not translate into a reasonable or proportionate number of seats.

Consider for example, the 2013 General Elections where Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has secured half the votes of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz but only a quarter of the seats. PML-N’s 14.9 million votes won it 125 national assembly seats but PTI’s 7.7 million votes translated into just 25 seats.

I have below done a hypothetical calculation just to highlight this case. Taking the 2013 results, I have ignored the votes polled by the parties that didn’t win even a single seat and distributed all the seats among the rest of the parties proportionate to their votes or at the rate of one seat for every 165,981 votes. (268 national assembly seats were contested in May 2013 elections). So if each vote cast was translated into seats following an even formula, and not the first-past-the-post system, PML-N would have got 35 less than what it now has and PTI 18 more.

Some countries follow a proportional representation system and others mix both by allocating some seats to the first-past-the-post system and then filling in an additional set through proportional representation, just like the system we follow for the seats reserved for women and non-Muslim minorities. To devise a new electoral system would need a cross party consensus, but who does not want to enjoy the benefits of an unfair system? Do you think it is hard to guess which of the above parties will favor and which will oppose any move towards a proportional representation system, at least for now?

3: How can the electorate take back the mandate?

All employment contracts start with a probation period, no business contract is without terms and conditions and every marriage law has a divorce clause. So why is then the electoral mandate an unlimited liability for the electorate? If an elected party goes against its election promises, why do the hapless voters have to wait till the expiry of its term? Why can’t they just cancel the mandate? Maybe it is this time cushion when the parties find it convenient to shamelessly violate their mandates.

The instrument of the no-confidence motion in the elected houses does not serve this purpose. It is instead used by the elected members to settle scores among themselves keeping the electorate at bay. Some countries, however, have provisions for holding a referendum on any matter that a certain number of its citizens considered important. Switzerland is famous for this.

Public interest organisations conduct opinion polls every now and then and most governments and policy makers always have an eye on these. Communication technologies have advanced so much that if intended a solution to secure public opinion instantly on any matter is very much possible. Many reality shows come with ‘voting lines’ whereby viewers offer their favors to one celebrity or the other and they are charged for it too. How about a phone application where you don’t vent by shooting angry birds but are really able to shoot down a government decision!

Whatever the methodology and the means, political parties are unlikely to behave unless they find themselves permanently subjected to a popular process of accountability. Honeymoons are nice but if later the marriage turns abusive, one should be able to dissolve it.

Author Image

Tahir Mehdi works with Punjab Lok Sujag, a research and advocacy group that has a primary interest in understanding governance and democracy.

He tweets @TahirMehdiZ

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (104) Closed

Zoaib Sep 10, 2013 05:09pm

Outrageous. Writer is either living in cuckoo land or deliberately misguiding readers on PTI not performing in KP. Lots of initiatives have already been taken, lots more planned in the right direction. Maybe some research into the same would have helped...

faizan Sep 10, 2013 05:18pm

Way to go. Obama is a bad man and so is Imran. Both are equally bad. ALL of Pakistan's and KPK's problems are due to PTI and Imran. Imran is so pretty and pretended. Understood. Thanks for info.

haris Sep 10, 2013 06:06pm

I don't see PTI is doing nothing instead they are very slow in making any progress. But it should be noted, that unlike provincial Govt. of Sindh and Punjab the setup in KPK is based on coalition. For every single issue, the entire Govt. had to agree before making it any legislation. Another thing gone missing here is that, KPK is affected by FATA which is under direct supervision of President. If situation in FATA stabilizes the reflection can easily be seen in KPK as well.

But I do agree these should not be the excuses anymore and they (PTI and their coalition partners) had to deliver before it is too late.

AR Sep 10, 2013 06:09pm

if the author had also included the promises of other political leaders like bullet trains, ending load shedding etc. then this would look more neutral.

Haroon Khan Sep 10, 2013 06:19pm

Dear Tahir Mehdi,

Why did you limit your criticism to PTI ... what about "Josh-e-Khatabat" kay hazaron waday aur bullet train????

I am not a PTI supporter. But to say that they haven't fulfilled ANYONE of their promises, that is being disingenuous. We can all agree that they aren't even close to hitting their targets, but to say they have nothing is a plain lie.

PML-N on the other hand, quite easily shed all responsibilities towards all their campaign promises with complete impudence and yet didn't warrant even a mention in your article ... Talk about non-biased and fair articulation.

Imran Sep 10, 2013 06:33pm

Compare KPK and Punjab in first 100 days PTI lacked experience but this is what they did in first 100 days.

  • RTI (Right to information bill) considered best in the world, even better than the European standards.
  • No VIP culture, and not a single penny spent on anything other than the minimum requirement of security for officials.
  • Homework almost complete on a revolutionary Local Body System in the province.
  • Even the most powerful person of KPK i.e. CM Pervez khattak had to pay from his pocket, when he used official helicopter for a personal visit.
  • Autonomous and Strong Accountability commission in the making, which can even arrest the CM.
  • Strong and autonomous bodies to overlook hospitals in the province.
  • Enrollment program in KPK and Imran Khan promised to raise the level of government schools equal to private schools.
  • MPA's not given any funds, as promised by PTI, despite heavy pressures from coalition partners, and now they will do they real job i.e. to make policies and laws in the assembly.
  • Revolutionary Police reforms in the making. Online FIR's and separate counters for females.
  • Computerization of land records and Eradication of Patwari culture. etc etc etc.

PMLn on the other hand * Hamza Shahbaz, who doesn't hold any important profile in the government, openly using government helicopter and doesn't feel any shame in it. * Police getting even more politicized. * Patwari and police culture at its best. * Not a SINGLE law related to the development and betterment of institutions being made. *Sharif and family is above law. Damaad e Aaala openly uses violence against a bakery worker in front of television, and police can't do anything. * Rich doesn't pay any income tax and there are no signs they will do so even in future. * Nothing is being done to raise the education level of government schools. * etc etc.

Danish Sep 10, 2013 06:36pm

Sorry to say this, but Tahir Bhai is seriously biased and his analysis is flawed about both IK and Obama. For IK, how can you even judge him just after 90 days? Do you honestly feel that the status quo parties are a better option then him? Please stop spreading false information and quash the last bit of hopes people of this cursed country had attached to IK. The man is seriously trying his level best we should all be supportive of him as vocally as possible... As for Obama, I am not a big supporter of him due to his Pakistan policy, but he did deliver on a lot of his promises, he ended the iraq war and has promised to leave Afghanistan...

Sonal Sep 10, 2013 06:53pm

Election campaigns are all about marketing. We fall for it, over and over again. It

Sonal Sep 10, 2013 06:55pm


Sonal Sep 10, 2013 07:03pm

I have to say Imran Khan se ye ummeed nahi thi!!!

He seemed like the only contender speaking complete sense during the campaigns. And the most honest, sincere, etc.

M aslam Sep 10, 2013 07:25pm

IK did not promise anything. It was foolish people who understand from his abusive speaches that he is promising for their good will. Now they should bear him for 5 year and then be fool again by him or find some other hero who has capability to fool them on facebook. IK become expert in fundraising. Zakat and Sadaqa is not enough for him to fullfill his dreams. Now he will find other venues of fund raising and every one know fund raising charities are allowed to spend 80% on administrative heads, like bullet proof luxury cars, billion rupee house etc.etc.

ahmed Sep 10, 2013 08:23pm

PTI has taken over a zillion different problems in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. I think it is childish on your behalf to start criticizing PTI so early for its performance in KPK.

Taimoor Khan Sep 10, 2013 08:20pm

Load of rubbish article , nothing more nothing less. Dawn need to indulge in proper journalism and find some proper writers otherise they will soon lose whatever following they have left with. There is already too much suspicion about the direction this paper going into and there is some truth in it as from time to time , it seems while reading dawn, it gives an impression of american or indian newspaper rather a Pakistani.

Suhail Ahmad Sep 10, 2013 08:31pm

Apparently, the writer doesn't read Dawn every day for there was an article on PTI's achievements just a few days ago. It is because of writers like this one that readers are, in general, doubting the credibility of journalists in Pakistan.

Tariq Mehsud Sep 10, 2013 09:41pm

Mr. Tahir Mehndi you must not take sides a journalist may be blunt but may not be full of partiality.

Sonal Sep 10, 2013 10:00pm

@AR: Yes, but wasn't the point also about the 90 day promise versus promises in general? 90 days are now up :)

Ahmad Sep 10, 2013 10:04pm

Apparently the writer has a very biased opinion on PTI. Give up journalism if you cannot be impartial. You cannot say Obama and Imran in one breadth, its like comparing apples to oranges.

Ahmad Sep 10, 2013 10:08pm

I am also disappointed in Dawn to allow such biased journalism. Where are people like Cowasjee now?

ASHRAF Sep 10, 2013 10:11pm

what do you have to say about the promises made by Nawaz Shariff in the previous elections and this election?

Gulbaz mUshtaq Sep 10, 2013 10:13pm

The author is may be ignorant of the steps being taken in KPK. It sadens me when I see such biased articles in Dawn.

RM Sep 10, 2013 10:16pm

Tahir Mehdi Sahib, spend some time reading newspaper too :-).

Emm Sep 10, 2013 10:17pm

PTI has a number of accomplishments in KP. This includes Right to Information, FIR to be registered in one hour, Free Hospital Treatment, Cleaning of localities and many others. Article lacks objectivity.

Waleed Sep 10, 2013 10:23pm

There is one fundamental problem with this article. You are comparing a political figure with 5 years of performance with a party with only 90 days of performance.

aisha Sep 10, 2013 10:49pm

Another paid PMLN writer..

aisha Sep 10, 2013 10:47pm

Another paid PMLN writer..

Niazi Sep 10, 2013 11:29pm

writer badly needs to get in touch with news. Paid Media is not showing a thing about PTI's achievement. You should have been responsible enough to quote such misleading things. Go and ask people of KPK if they are happy with PTI or not.

Ali Abbas Sep 10, 2013 11:28pm

Another failed article, stopped somewhere in the middle as I got the purpose of it. Media and Courts have been the biggest let down for Pakistan and eapecially youth. God help Pakistan.

scott jazz Sep 10, 2013 11:49pm

This guy Tahir Mehdi is needs to stops writing at all. PTI has been in power less than 3 months. We need to give them at least 2 full years before we open our mouth.

I am not a PTI member, i live abroad, but why are there so many senseless people in Pakistan like him?

shehroze Sep 11, 2013 12:42am

Really very nice and beneficial article. parties should think on these points...

fyza gandapur Sep 11, 2013 01:05am

Written by someone sitting in Mars? I live in Peshawar and I strongly deny you surmising PTI hasn't done anything. We all PTI voters are very happy with the progress being made.

Parvez Sep 11, 2013 01:02am

After five years of miserable governance and loot and plunder by the PPP-Z , is it not understandable that the people would be sceptical of the term democracy. To the people democracy is : ....for the few, by the few in the name of the many.

asif Sep 11, 2013 01:25am

Could Tahir Mehdi be on Nawaz Sharif's payroll?

Faisal Sep 11, 2013 02:04am

@faizan: good one!

Adil Khan Sep 11, 2013 02:08am

the idea of drawing a comparison between SIR. IMRAN KHAN and obama, itself is preposterous and baseless... IK is against all sorts of wars and governs only the province of KP, whereas obama is the Lord of War and the President of USA.. 2ndly our people are "Lakeer ke Faqeer".. how??... Well..IK promised to help us see a glimer of hope and change in 3 months which means things will start moving in a different and better a matter of fact change is already set in motion..but is dwarfed by the towering problems tht existed before PTI took over. and also part of it has to do with the media which has never extoled even a single of so many great things Pti has done 3 months that "We" the people of KP are aware of

Sal Sep 11, 2013 02:32am

@Zoaib: you are missing the point my friend. The criticism is not on PTI not delivering in unrealistically short time. Rather it is on their unrealistic campaign promise that they can and will deliver in a short period of 90 days.

krishnan Sep 11, 2013 02:51am

I think all politicians are guilty in making tall promises.So why blame only Imran. Hopefully he will understand Taliban better now and you may have IK -version 2 by the next election?

Hasan Sep 11, 2013 03:06am

The author of this article is clearly biased and clueless himself.

Saifur Rahman Sep 11, 2013 03:10am

I am not sure if western style democracy is suitable in South Asian countries yet. A certain percentage of literacy and mass awareness is required for that to work properly. I remember reading the following quote in one the book authored by an award winning Indian writer

fida sayani Sep 11, 2013 03:21am

Sure Imran Khan promised that he will get rid of corruption in three months; this was a tall order. I will give him A+ if he can clean up corruption in 5 years. The problem is that we are all children of ADAM. We all have his genes. Remember he miserably failed to honor his commitments which he had given to his creator. People of Pakistan will be kind to Imran Khan, he still is better than Zardari, Nawaz sharif, Musharaf and others.

Thoughtful Sep 11, 2013 03:41am

These dim witted and ignorant PTI supporters live in a fantasy land. PTI has sold the country to the Islamic fundamentalists. Wake up you dumb fools!

Fara Sep 11, 2013 05:06am

"So the 90 days have passed and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has not been able to deliver on any of its election campaign promises despite having a stable government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.................................." Why is it a surprise??????

Mohammad Sep 11, 2013 08:01am

Tahir Mehdi--- please quit journalism and find a job at your local coffee shop because what you say is plain absurd and pathetic.

noobguy Sep 11, 2013 08:53am

'cure the disease not the symptoms'....... It is true that PTI has not outrightly reneged on its vows. But I dont think any party from the previous elections in Pakistan has promised honestly to cure the 'disease'. Uneducation, nescience, misinterpretition of religion, servilely government, borrowed constitution, landlordism, capitalism, petrifying military, and like are the problems of the country.

Omar Sep 11, 2013 08:56am

The standard of Pakistani journalism really needs to be improved. Our journalists, too often, make allegations or assertions without providing logical and coherent support. I would argue with the author that injecting hope into a nation riddled by militancy, sectarianism and massive corruption was Imran's greatest doing. The mood before his Lahore Jalsa, at least for me was highly depressing but after that I had a renewed sense of hope that Pakistan could one day be lifted from it's current state. To the author's point of the failure of democracy. I would totally argue against it; Khyber Pukhtunkhwa for me is a shining example of what can happen when democracy does works. I feel that within 90 days, the process to destroying the old system in KPK has made great strides, which is exactly what Imran promised. From allocating 30% of the budget towards education to the reworking of the provincial health system, Imran and his party have laid the foundations for what is sure to be an impressive change when viewed with the better perspective that hindsight provides. I'm also sure that when the KPK government brings it's local government elections bill it will prove to be a further victory for democracy because the people will be empowered for the first time in this nation's history. After all, that is exactly what Imran promised us. I think the author needs to re-evaluate his position and needs to educate himself on the inner workings of Imran Khan and the KPK government. He needs to remove the bias that he has developed for the PTI as can be inferred from the pattern of his writing over the previous electoral period.

Omar Sep 11, 2013 09:00am

@faizan: If that is sarcasm, it is really well done. I applaud your effort.

Shanawar Hashmi Sep 11, 2013 09:31am

At first I thought Mr Mehdi was naive. But upon googling him, I discovered that he had written a fair amount of articles. I didn't bother to read any of his other wonderful works though. Nevertheless, he himself has admitted on his twitter account that he's a half journalist therefore I would give him the benefit of doubt. If he were a full journalist, then maybe he would have given a truly balanced critical analysis after considering that Imran's party did not in fact win a full mandate. Therefore the 90 day plan did not automatically apply to the provincial level per se. Secondly, the numerous initiatives taken by the PTI government in KPK have not crossed Mr Mehdi's mind. Maybe he was expecting them to be enforced within those 90 days. Looking forward to a similar critique on the ruling party.

Amir Cheema Sep 11, 2013 09:43am

Rubbish article. Can the author elaborate what he expected in KPK from PTI in 100 days. The perhaps the author is disappointed that there is no new motorway or bullet train in KPK or similar things that people can see. PTI promised accountability and end of corruption in government projects. I have not heard of any major corruption scandal so far. There are encouraging initiatives in education, health, police department, land record etc. Imran Khan and PTI is not responsible for all the ills of the country for the last 60 years. Think about this. Who ruled the centre and provinces for last 60 years and created this mess. Change takes time. Imran Khan was wrong in promising change in a few months. But dont you think PTI deserves 5 years to show what it can do.

Mohsin Niazi Sep 11, 2013 09:57am

so sad. it is easy to get a paper and write whatever you want. the writer should know the ongoing situation of our country as well as our social, economic,and political system. I suggest writer to contact with some reliable and impartial journalist from KPK to get comments on PTI's government. the writer would be astonish to listen about only one action of government which is easy access to information. If someone really realize it he will appreciate it impartially. In media, the anti PTI'S propaganda is going on about parliamentary secretaries. Hilariously, the media man doesn't know that what would be assignments to these parliamentary secretaries without providing any sort of salaries or other incentives. if the media men knew it, they would never have propaganda against this appreciable deed..

Biased for Pakistan Sep 11, 2013 09:57am

The writer has picked the subject very irrelevantly; Its an effort to misguide masses with a carelessly written piece, only to support some sort of personal grudge with PTI.

shabut Sep 11, 2013 10:10am

What an illogical comparison.

Sunny Boye Sep 11, 2013 10:52am

I feel writer is just using Imran's name to sell his article.... Just want to request to consult KPK ppl if you want to judge PTI achievments... Govt officies here are raising their ethical / moeral standards...

Muhammad Hassan Khan Sep 11, 2013 11:10am

Okaay, so you passed your judgment on 90 days performance of Imran Khan in KPK while setting aside all provisial and federal perfomances of all other poloticians, and chery on the cake is you compared him with the actions of president of USA, thats marvelous. I must say you are the wisest of all. By the way why dont you run for the PM seat, because you qualify all the prerequisites to become PM of Paksitan. :) A funny article indeed.

tariq Sep 11, 2013 11:46am

PTI ? no idea.....our writer is sitting on PTI bashing bandwagon but no facts. Seems other provinces are doing pretty well??

rich Sep 11, 2013 12:50pm

@Taimoor Khan: its not daws opinion its just a blog, take it or leave it

personally i think we should give pti atleast a year, bec it will take time to correct the wrong of last 60 odd years

Syed Haider Sep 11, 2013 01:07pm

Not a PTI supporter, but this article is wrong from every corner. Factually incorrect, and heavy bias shown. IF anything, KPK is the most stable and progressive, and has acheived more in its promises than any other party. Like I said, not a PTI supporter, but this guy's credibility has just hit the tank. Dawn should be ashamed to even publish this.

ahmad saleem akhtar Sep 11, 2013 01:22pm

WHILE I agree with most of your contention, I am slightly baffled at your choice of examples to illustrate your viewpoint. I am sure Imran Khan will probably feel pampered to be bracketed with Obama, but why not pick the more appropriate Nawaz Sharif, who as head of the central government has actually got powers to fulfil his electoral promises. And his achievements so far as regards bringing prices down, breaking the kASHKOLand following an independent foreign and domestic policies are somewhat wanting , to say the least.

AJ Sep 11, 2013 01:29pm

You start it with "Imran not delivering" but did Sharifs deliver whatever they promised in their slogans. Are they going to get looted money back from PPP or do they look like to be ending the loadsheding? I think Imran has delivered enough to suit the short periode considering the law & order situation which is considerably out of KPK police' hands. Bill of right to information, cleaning up of the corrupt, free medicine etc are just a start, there is much more to come.

Ali S Sep 11, 2013 01:50pm

I voted for PTI and let me say that the writer's criticisms of IK are all justified. You know why? Because it was IK who made ridiculous, unrealistic promises in the first place. Ending corruption in 90 days? Yeah sure, it was just election campaigning (AKA topi-drama), but why lie to the public like the rest when you're claiming to be the superior one?

We all know how he's still dancing around the extremism issue and has already handed over the education portfolio to JI (so much for 'reforms'). Sadly PTI sheep will keep their head buried in the sand and keep chanting praises of their 'glorious leader IK' - I dare them to spend a month in rural KPK and tell me how they like it.

irfanbaloch Sep 11, 2013 02:46pm

@Ahmad: news for you Cowasjee passed away last November. please look up the web or try to remember stories before posting such comments.

a request to PTI diehards, please dont be so defensive when you come across articles that are not very favourable. the article is fine, just points at the general theme of how people feel about their parties they put to power.

Fawad Qureshi Sep 11, 2013 02:55pm

@Sonal: If you see any interview of Imran Khan. He has always talked about removing major corruption in 90 days. There hasn't been any financial scandal in these 90 days. As for the chronic problems of Pakistan nobody can remove them in such a short time. PML information ministry is doing good job I guess.

Salman Tariq Sep 11, 2013 04:15pm

What does it take nowadays to get a blog published at Not much it seems, judging from the above pointless blog... The whole premise seems to be to force a conclusion down the reader's throats. 'Imran and Obama' was a surefire way to get people to click the blog, and then be disappointed by the lack of clarity in the article. I hope writing's not your day job, Tahir :)

Adnan Sep 11, 2013 04:31pm

So what is your conclusion............ let PPP and PMLN continue to wreak havoc in the country. Tahir sb. please do not just write for the sake of writting, be objective.

Adnan Sep 11, 2013 04:34pm

@faizan: thanks for your observation........ hope Tahir will read this.

Zyzz Sep 11, 2013 05:31pm

@Niazi: The loss of NA-1 to Bilour and NA-3 to PML shows a thing or two about the happiness of KPK people with PTI

Magister Sep 11, 2013 06:20pm

I never trusted any of these revered leaders for one second. Both are creation of much more powerful forces.

FJ Siddiqui Sep 11, 2013 06:45pm

@Sal: IK promised in the situation that PTI will sweep the elections. Now not only PTI is restricted to one province but also there is little support from federal and Punjab governments. Also administration behave differently if you have greater power. Currently PTI is working against stiff resistance. Furthermore, KP government is a coalition government where more time is required to keep allies in line.

However, I still wonder what do people want in 3 months by the way... It is only policy, strategy and planning that can be done. Budget is fully in line with the promises. At least educated people commenting here must not be so blatantly give misleading statements. Implementation is underway!

ivehadit Sep 11, 2013 07:25pm

We need a deeper analysis. 90 days to topple the entire power structure that has built up over the last 65 years in Pakistan, and that too with a small majority in a small province - surely we can cut Imran some slack.

On Obama, we note that good intentions and a strong moral compass cannot make power give up. the decks are stacked against him, but he has changed the conversation to a point where they can't even fire a missile at a revolting dictator in the Middle East who has just gassed hundreds of children.

Asad Khan Sep 11, 2013 08:21pm

Tahir Mehdi is leading the charge of the paid bashers against PTI. I wonder why Dawn has to stoop to this level to give him space. As so accurately pointed out by "Imran", PTI has already had a list of accomplishments, in terms of the structural and fiscal reforms implemented within KP. This is a first milestone in terms of the promises made - which they can implement as a provincial government. All of this will play out over the next few years. Add to that the fact that there is no pilferage of public funds at the highest level of the provincial government, and promising steps taken for infrastructure development in the power sector. Can we compare this 90 day performance against the last five years of Punjab and Sindh - effectively the same governments in place for over 5 years? And what about the federal government - the one which controls the money and the national agenda. Inflation in the last 3 months skyrocketing, power situation still as dire as when they came in power despite the payment of $5B of liabilities, burden of taxes increasing on the ones who already are under duress, Karachi as chaotic as before, IMF reform agenda getting imposed on the populace - what has changed?

Asad Khan Sep 11, 2013 08:20pm

@Amir Cheema: Amir - so true. Corruption is big new. No corruption is no news - it flows under the radar.

Sonal Sep 11, 2013 09:09pm

I'm not Pakistani, but I follow Pakistani politics quite closely. Like a lot of Pakistani youth, I was quite bowled over by Imran Khan and his campaigns. For the longest time I thought PTI stood for Tehreek-i-Inqilab, and not Insaaf, because his ideas seemed revolutionary.

But in the time since the new government has commenced, he has acted quite irrationally on a number of occasions, and he hasn

Imran Sep 11, 2013 09:58pm

I feel that KPK government is making sound progress. The author seems very biased anyway.

patriot Sep 11, 2013 10:58pm

PTI will start showing results from January 2014. Give them at least 6-7 months. It takes 9 months for delivery anyway! I agree that a candidate should not be declared a winner unless s/he has received 51% votes. If less than 51% votes, then re-election.

Danish A. Sep 11, 2013 11:10pm

As someone who voted for Obama in 2008 and in 2012, I completely disagree with this article's portrayal of what Obama's campaign promise was, what he has done, and what us liberal democrats were hoping for in voting for him. Obama did not promise to not ever start any new war, he simply promised to not start one unless it was absolutely necessary, i.e. the Iraq War. He has all but completely ended the Iraq War. Afghanistan war is all but over. If you were hoping for Obama to hand over Afghanistan to Taliban/al-qaeda, then sorry but Obama nor us liberal Americans are your average pakistani. In regards to Syrian war, there actually is none. Obama is simply using methods of deterrence to have Assad stop gassing thousands of muslims, which as a Pakistani or just as a human being I would think you should advocate for. As Obama himself has said, there will be no "boots on the ground." On the other hand Imran Khan and his "movement" stand for nothing, sympathizes with terrorists, and is an utter failure.

Zoaib Sep 11, 2013 11:41pm

@Sal: These 90 days are blown out of proportion. First, IK NEVER promised to end all problems in 90 days. How could he? Read the PTI manifesto for the same. Their Economic plan stretched out over gradual change in 5 years. Their energy plan stretched out over 3 years. Law and order is not in PTI's hands apart from policing which has already improved...with the police also starting internal accountability, asking for declaration of assets etc. The only thing PTI promised concretely was ending high level corruption in 90 days and they did...with no scandal coming out in KP. Draft of independent accountability law already been released and will be presented in assembly soon. And people miss the critical RTI law which is so essential for transparency is already enforced, appreciated by DAWN in editorial. Progress could be slow due to various reasons...but very unfair to call it a failure.

sfomann Sep 11, 2013 11:50pm

This is the most ridiculous article I have read in recent history. Shouldn't you be writing about the performance of the prime minister and the ruling party? What have the ruling PMLN done in the last 90 days? What did the previous PPP did in 5 years. Where is the bullet train that Nawaz promised? Where were you before? The only thing I have read that PMLN did so far was to have various lunch meetings with the worlds most corrupt man, Zardari, and give him an honorable exit, pursue their viscous revenge against Musharraf etc.

Mr Mehdi needs to first start reading the dawn newspaper as there has been many article about what PTI and Imran Khan's achievements.

Zoaib Sep 11, 2013 11:55pm

@Ali S: Funny thing is people misunderstand PTI and IK and then blame PTI for it. In ALL speeches, interviews, manifesto IK said we will END top level corruption in 90 days. Focus on the word "top". And closely please. :)

Ash Sep 12, 2013 12:24am

@Ahmad: But oranges and apples both are good. You can't compare these two with .......

Shahmeer Sep 12, 2013 01:04am

What an absolute rubbish piece of journalism! I would like to ask you Mr. TAHIR MEHDI what about the promises made by our PM Nawaz Sharif? Where is our bullet train, where is our electrcity, where is our lahore to karachi moterway etc...

Tahira Sep 12, 2013 01:35am

I totally disagree. Lot of good things are happening in KPK . We will see a clear difference

Asif Sep 12, 2013 03:30am

Another example of a writer trying to be smart, someone trying to manipulate the mindset of the readers. IK's claim of ending top-level corruption within 90 days was wishful thinking for sure but why single him out all the time. Besides PTI has taken certain initiatives (education reforms etc.) like below which need to be appreciated.

I have always disagreed with IK's Taliban stance but people are so impatient that they want PTI to achieve in 3 months what has not been done in KPK over the past 66 years!!! I think it is childish to start judging so early performance of PTI in KPK or that of the PML-N federal government. Assess their performance after 18-24 months.

What about the promises of others like bullet train and ending load shedding within a year (or was it 6 months?). Bullet train plan was duly scrapped (we were told there was no money). And now their post-election mantra is 'change your habits, load shedding is here to stay'

And it is not just IK, most politicians' election campaigns around the world (incl. the West) are based on rhetoric. That's just the way politics is. I would say in general 40% of their manifestos are realistic or practical. The rest is all rhetoric or just ways to appeal to the voters

Even Jinnah could not fix today's Pakistan. If he were alive today he might have preferred to practise law in London (mind you he was a successful barrister in those days) over governing a corrupt, dishonest, unjust and religiously intolerant Pakistani society.

ABDULLAH Sep 12, 2013 04:02am

That's because democracy is not the answer, Islam is the answer.

Hameed Sep 12, 2013 05:25am

I guess Mr.Tahir just woke up from his sleep and decided to write something against PTI without even knowing anything about KPK and PTI. Making laws and passing them from the provincial assembly is an arduous task and requires more than 90 days to go into effect. I don't understand how you compared PTI's 90 days to Obama six years in office. Also bear in mind that the people of USA reelected president Obama with an even greater margin the next time.

mujahid Sep 12, 2013 08:28am

wonderful job & govt conducted by Imrans team.well done

maryam Sep 12, 2013 09:33am

Extremely subjctive n biased piece of writing. Why didnt my respectable writer friend refer to Central goevernment in "global disappointment" why to pin point KPK undones only?? we should have a bigger heart to praise or allege all on same basis.... dont wory you will get ur "lifafa" from Nawaz league for making blog heading as "imran n obama" to stir up irk for imran naming him along with obama!!! sorry...not well done

sja Sep 12, 2013 10:58am

@Zyzz: or its champion leader.

sja Sep 12, 2013 10:59am

@Fawad Qureshi: just like when you part of PPP.

Ali Sep 12, 2013 11:03am


what? Mind your language. What is pathetic about the article?

Naeem Malik Sep 12, 2013 12:50pm

Promises are made to be broken Those who vote in the expectation that promises will be delivered are deluded. Thankfully, the number of deluded is decreasing.

Khan Sep 12, 2013 04:36pm

@Zoaib: This guy always writers against PTI as he is clearly biased. Just look at his previous articles on DAWN....

Asif Sep 12, 2013 04:57pm

Mr. Mehdi, can't you see what the other parties have done to this country for the last 60 odd years or so. Why can't you guys give Khan a chance and lets see what he does. It's very easy to criticise by writing something in the comfort of your home, but to do something on the ground is totally different I guess. So be patient my friend.

Akhter Husain Sep 12, 2013 06:18pm

Mr Tahir Mehdi has given his heart out to provide readers the basic flaws of the electoral system we are following.It is time for the big wigs to do some serious thinking to get better people in the power corridors.Any way no system will work as long as the power corridors are lucrative in terms of wealth and emperor like authoritative in power, with little concept of service to all and sundry according to their merit and basic requirements.It is an uphill task to change the prevalent mentality,i.e every thing is for me and I will dole out as and when I desire.Do we have a solution to this complicated mental problem?.

Ahmed Sep 12, 2013 07:14pm

@Salman Tariq: agreed mate and the standard of English is quite ordinary too!

Fawad Ali Shah Sep 12, 2013 08:02pm

I think PTI has already delivered what was possible in 90 days. Remember, they are in coalition government so everything is a month or two late but not more.

Usman Ahmad Sep 12, 2013 08:52pm

Dawn has a tradition of attacking they do not like or they feel threat to their to their own interest(corruption). If you are in Karachi,look around and expose the killers of innocent peoples. If you must expose PM 90 days performance. If you must expose CM 90 days performance. At least the situation in KP is much better than before.KP CM is not taking ant protocol like CMS of other provinces. Do not be biased. Judge impartially if you can,please. Most of all love Pakistan not the party.

Akhter Husain Sep 12, 2013 09:25pm

@Sonal: Very true.All these things are our requirement.Or may be we think that politicians are also as much needed as daily utilities.

Jalaluddin S. Hussain Sep 12, 2013 09:46pm

@Hameed: In both cases positive things have already happened: Introduction of Mobile Justice (Imran Khan); no bombing of Syria (Obama).

Sal Sep 12, 2013 10:02pm

@Zoaib: It's a week argument you make my friend. IK portrayed himself as different from the current lot of the politician so we have to measure him by his own yardstick. He made blatantly high promises in the campaign and even more unrealistic time frame to achieve them. Now if you are going to go around defending him like Jiyalas defend PPP and matvalas defend PML-N then all hope is lost. The accountability of the leader ends where the followers start hiding his mistakes and make excuses for poor performance.

Jawwad Sep 12, 2013 11:13pm

What a foolish article. I can understand why the country deprived of any critical thinking when you have this kind of though process. First of all, Obama is not Pakistan's or for that matter World's President. He is a US President. And as a US Citizen, it's for me to decide what has he done for us and not you. He has brought our young soldiers home from Iraq and subsequently from Afghanistan. He has passed healthcare laws to try to provide coverage to all. As for Imran Khan, the changes he is making may not be visible now and it will eventually dividends. He has effectively challenged the school curricula and taken the Jihadi notion out of the text books, he's started the Justice Buses and etc. He has done several austerity measures which I am sure you have no idea what those are. Today you are in mess which is self created. Have you ever heard any country in the world that sells it's own citizen for money? And then you wonder why the world treats you the way they do. Sep 13, 2013 12:37am

This system is failing, it has become only good for talk shows. No body agrees on anything they rip each other apart fun for the media but a disaster for the public. I hope and pray Pakistani nations sees through this.

Muq Sep 13, 2013 06:17am

@Imran: Excellent analysis

Naeem Sep 13, 2013 06:57am

@ABDULLAH: Please define your Islam for me? Mine might be different than yours!!!!

Wajih Sep 13, 2013 09:48am

Mr.Mehdi, are you agent of PMLN? What you are writing is false evaluation and analysis completely.

Ali Shah Sep 13, 2013 10:32am

Ridiculous article to say the least. Cheap attempt to use Imran's name to attract attention (successful attempt at that). KPK govt seems far ahead of the rest in terms of what they have done so far in their first 90 days. Free hospitals, education reforms, right to information bill, no corruption scandal at the top tier of government, raising the standard of government service. Have you even bothered with looking up PTI's performance before coming up with this piece?

Imran Sep 13, 2013 02:01pm

I think writer has jumped the gun here and is criticizing PTI or Imran Khan. Even though I like Imran Khan but I am not a die hard PTI fan, but we need to give them breathing space and a chance to prove themselves either wrong or right. But yes do question Imran Khan and his Govt,so he knows he is answerable to people, but for God sake why a comparison with Obama, whatever Imran Khan does he is way better than Obama. He hasnt betrayed you or me as yet, lets wait and see, but we need to question our leaders on everything, but in a constructive manner, so they oblige to listen to you and me instead of shun away. Where Pakistan stands today, its going to take time and effort, I agree to some extent that PTI Govt has been unable to bring any major change in 1st 90 days, but come on, 90 days isnt anything for a province like KPK, with no investment coming into it, poverty, terrorism, no attention ever paid on it by any past govt, so it needs to be given time. Even though i know our federal govt is fail big time, because its led by an incapable, unreliable and corrupted person/persons but i still think they should be given some more time either to perform or collaps so people can think over what they have done by voting this corrupt federal govt.