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When charisma fails to deliver votes

Published May 22, 2012 09:19am


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- Illustration by Eefa Khalid/
- Illustration by Eefa Khalid/

The corporate genie has granted you innumerable wishes, not just three. It might have dampened the drama, somewhat, but if you are an ardent consumer you will have unlimited fun. It can bring you picture-perfect apples from New Zealand, piping-hot fried chicken from Kentucky (US) and whatever else your heart may desire.

For the urban consumers of politics in Pakistan, generally, and Punjab, particularly, hunger cannot be defined in such terms and earthly edibles therefore guarantee no satisfaction. Dying for some real excitement, they are craving for a new brand named ‘change’ - a serving of spiced up, up-sized elections is what they are demanding. For them, the ‘deal’ comprises a designer political party for starters, corruption-free candidates as appetizers, a fully-principled campaign with some ideological toppings as the main course and for dessert: a raunchy prime minister, who could send the hearts of the world leaders racing. But who could that be? Imran Khan Inc., for Khan is a charismatic personality, who has already delivered two miracles: The Cup and the Hospital. Now our urban middle class wants him to cast the same miraculous spell on politics, and he would finally be canonised as their saint prime minister. Can he do that? That’s the most frequently asked question that every star-gazer, fortune-teller, tarot-card reader is busy answering these days. They all have a counter in the famous ‘media street’ of politics bazaar. I, too, have one. Taking on the role of a gypsy, when I asked the 80-million-voter question, my glass ball retorted that Khan had already been granted two opportunities to get his charisma cashed into political capital. This, I am told, is what followed:

1997: The year Khan launched his party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (1996), the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was at its lowest-ever ebb. Months later, President Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari dismissed the government of his own party, following the assassination of the prime minister’s brother. The PPP voter was depressed and dejected. The party had received 7.5 million, 7.8 million and 7.6 million votes respectively in the last three elections held in 1988, 1990 and 1993. Its tally nose-dived to 4.1 million. Arch rivals, first named Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), however, were unable to capitalise on the situation and PML-N’s tally increased only by 0.7 million (in 1997). The heavy two-third mandate that Nawaz Sharif lifted was not a result of a steep rise in his voters, but to a sharp decline in his rival party’s. PPP’s so-called die-hard voters had either concluded that it was futile to vote and stayed at home on polling day or came out to try other options but PML-N. Jamaat-e-Islami, after a frustrating defeat in 1993 of its new avatar, Pakistani Islamic Front, decided to boycott the 1997 elections. President Leghari banned all types of advertisements (hoardings, posters, banners) to meet the demand of making election campaigns affordable for the proverbial common man.

There could have been no better time than this for a new ‘revolutionary’ party to take the parliament by, ahem, a ‘tsunami.’ Khan probably thought so too. His party put up candidates on 134 of the country’s then 207 National Assembly seats, just behind PPP’s 160 and PML-N’s 176 candidates.

The results, however, were disastrous. PTI could not win even a single seat. None of its candidates could even qualify as a runner-up. Half of its candidates (71) received less than 2,000 votes each. Only two (NA-21, Swat-1 and NA-53, Mianwali-1) surpassed the ten-thousand mark and both seats belonged to Imran Khan. He, in fact, was a candidate from nine constituencies but his only substantial performance was in his ancestral Niazi homeland where he polled 10,716 votes, standing third – so much for the rhetoric against biradari-ism (brotherhood). PTI, in total, received 314,820 votes or 1.65 per cent of the total votes polled in the country.

2002: Maybe the 1997 elections came too early for the nascent party and it did not have sufficient time to prepare itself for the challenge. Five years later in 2002, the situation again was quite favourable for a new player. The General had forced the two main protagonists, Benazir and Nawaz, out of the field. The headless parties were drubbed by small-time players from all sides. The electorate was rejuvenated by a heavy injection of 18 million new voters and most of them were close to 18 years of age. They had seen Khan win them the coveted 1992 Cricket World Cup in their childhood.

PTI was represented by 94 candidates in the 2002 elections. All except one failed miserably. Sixty-seven of them polled less than 2,000 votes each and none except one qualified as runner-up. The party received a total of 242,472 votes, which was 72,000 less than 1997 figure. In terms of percentage, PTI’s share was 0.8 per cent of the total polled votes or half of its previous share in polled votes. Khan himself contested from four constituencies and won on the Niazi area seat of Mianwali. He was the runner-up on a Lahore seat as well. Khan received 101,407 votes on the four seats. Only one other candidate of his party received votes in excess of 10,000. Votes received by the Captain, personally, were 42 per cent of his party’s total votes.

So the hot stud proved to be a dud.

My glass ball concluded with a villainous laughter that charisma earned in a specific sector (sports, film, social work) comes in a particular currency that cannot be freely exchanged into another of your liking, not at least in the political market. If he couldn’t twice, how can he do it the third time? Punjabi urban middle class meanwhile have to make do by just ‘changing’ channels on their new flat screen HD TV sets or maybe also the brand of the potato chips bag in their hand.

*Sources for polling data: The Election Commission of Pakistan and National Assembly Elections in Pakistan, 1970-2008 

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

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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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 (119) Closed

Yaser May 22, 2012 10:45am
I am 30 and I haven’t cast my vote even once before........ But now I will vote for IK , same is true for a lot of my friends.... a lot have changed since 2002 and politicians from PPP and PLMN believing that people will vote for them no matter what ever they do will definitely be disappointed this time :)
Irtaza May 23, 2012 06:53am
Why is dawn so anti Imran Khan?
Salman Zafar May 22, 2012 11:08am
Thank you for combining figures... BUT UR ANALYSIS IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG. Analysis is based on outdated data... 10 to 15 years ago... yes he was actually not tht popular at tht time ... politically... Yes at that time.. he wanted his charisma turned into votes... But now.... Look at any survey... he is on top every time... particularly since last one year... AND NOW HE IS NOT CONTESTING ELECTIONS ON HIS CHARISMATIC PERSONALITY...
zac May 22, 2012 09:58am
You only have to go to any bazaar in any city speak to ordinary folk and you will see that imrans time has come I am from the uk when i went to pakistan in december everybody i spoke to from taxi drivers to shopkeepers to civil servants to ordinary workers there is no doubt this time he will sweep the election baring any major rigging when i first spoke about imran khan in the 90s nobody was giving him a chance because of the propoganda against him regarding his wife
Bilal May 22, 2012 10:04am
Sir, that was 2002, today is 2012. Things have changed, especially after Lahore Jalsa. Perhaps writers like you bash Imran just to get attention. First people used to say that he wont win. Now they say that he wont perform as a prime minister. You're outdated with the Imran Bashing. And a year late with the article.
SD1 May 22, 2012 10:09am
Dude, keep your knowledge base with you. If you havent noticed, a lot has changed since then. So please ...
asif Khan May 22, 2012 10:15am
In my view, your assesment is 100% wrong. There was no free media till 2002 election. Now Situation is different my Bro.
Tauqeer Mustafa May 22, 2012 11:10am
Don't agree with "If he couldn’t twice, how can he do it the third time?" There's no doubt that PTI is talk of the town (and town doesn't mean TOWN here) today and every neutral voter (except those die hard political workers) is considering this option seriously. Clean sweep seems to be an over-statement though, yet pulling out some 15-20 NA seats, keeping all political ground realities in view, doesn't seems to be out of question this time. The 2002-12 decade has seen most and greatest social changes, both positive and negative, and their translation into election results can be surprising.
Farhan May 22, 2012 10:28am
Hahaha! It was funny but ended abruptly. What was this blog for? Only summing up of some statistics and half baked opinions.
Osama Ashfaq May 22, 2012 10:46am
So what do you suggest. Lie down and die?
Shahzad Ghaffar May 22, 2012 11:00am
Well written!But I object toi the writer's view that IK cannot deliver in the next election.The examples sighted are of the past which was a learning curve for PTI.I'm sure the masses have and will realise that the current band of looters has had enough.It is high time genuine change comes to politics as anything else will spell disaster for our already crippled nation.
Sam May 22, 2012 11:01am
NO arguments, no debate, direct vote to Imran Khan...
Rizwan Kazim May 22, 2012 11:12am
Imran is definitely on a roll as he has been able to draw huge crowds. The bold new speeches from a charismatic former cricketer have finally struck a chord, and the people are turning out by the thousands. The streets are buzzing with the possibility of a new alternative and the best is that army is not averse on his rise. He talks of a “new beginning” and a “clean break from the past”, maintaining that Pakistanis are tired of corruption and the abuse of power they have had to tolerate for decades. Let's give him a chance, may be he is the savior we all are looking for.
Zahid Hanif May 22, 2012 11:13am
The problem with the fans of IK, they never except the reality. Not only Mr. IK, but the fans of IK r living in the world of fantacy.
ali sadozai May 22, 2012 11:13am
The writer has a point while analyzing the past....but one thing has changed dramatically since 2002 and in my view that is the level of despondency amongst people. PTI may very well have a chance to ride that wave successfully. This may not be because Imran or PTI have anything new to offer or are capable of material change...just that circusmstances may be ripe for new faces and Imran`s is the most high profile one (if not the only one) on stage.
Mansoor Iqbal May 22, 2012 11:20am
Brother man, here's the deal, the analysis you have here is of the past. I would like you to live in the present and know the future which is : IMRAN KHAN is the our next Prime minster Inshallah! I am 26 yrs old overseas Pakistani , me and my family have never voted, but this time around we would be all voting for PTI.
tariq May 22, 2012 11:21am
Tahir _ If Imran wants a better turn out next time he should ask the Election Commission to immediately arrange for online voting option in Pakistan so that this 'facebook 'generation' could vote for him. Or we see a further dip in his aggregate in the upcoming elections. By the way Does IK know that they - the I-padders and virtual Don Quixotes - wont have time to leave their laptops/i pads. They may not even wake up that day early enough to go to a polling station. I am amazed to see the responses to your such good article. The Desktop warriors: the writer is giving you solid facts from our own history of not so distant past. Come on, wake up. face the facts,. And will you be able to stand a little over 30 degree mercury on the election day if the ECP does not agree to the suggestion of online voting? You won't,i bet. Tahir keep the good work up. is a much better site to visit after your contributions.
supporters May 22, 2012 11:26am
overseas Pakistanis in Australia are willing to vote for him so do all other people overseas he has got a massive backing u r totally wrong he cant delivery ,i am pretty sure he can deliver better than zardari or gillani or sharif "brothers" or mqm and maulvis party.
Saqib May 22, 2012 11:30am
Thanks for detailed analysis. It shows that people have to come out of their homes on election day to make an impact, only facebook activism won't help. For the first time in my life I will be going to polling station, to cast vote for PTI and Imran Khan.
Truth Bites May 22, 2012 11:30am
No one is denying the reality, the other reality is right now! Imran has come a long way to make his mark on Pakistan politics. Its always hard to break in politics where two parties like cartels had gripped Pakistan people and sucked their blood while taking turns! Major change fuelled by media, that wasnt present before so communication to people and showing the truth about status quo parties loot and plunder has waken the people and they are in better position to decide now than ever.
Z Khan May 22, 2012 11:38am
Sir get ready for a shock of your life come the election times, if you realy believe in what you have said in this piece.Imran Khan is going to be the next PM.
NASAH (USA) May 22, 2012 12:07pm
No wonder -- the tsunami guy is allergic to elections.
Salman Zafar May 22, 2012 12:30pm
Thats what we need.
TamFai May 22, 2012 12:35pm
Good stats I would say but this data doesnt not qualify to be assessed for future. Any data which is 10 years old is of no use, due to globalisation and extremely fast changes in world politics its absolutely outdated. The media is a huge dimension in our country's politics now which was very submissive 10 years back. Khan was chrisma earlier and now I guess he is the only hope which a dying nation has got. Everybody is just sick and tired of what has happened, how our motherland is being raped by the gang of looters and the powers of the world. Khan is the only man standing strong and the saviour for millions. 10 years back he was new to politics and was learning, he is now the torch bearer and the ray of light in darkness so how can you say your glass ball says it would same, its a joke !! I accept it would be difficult but not impossible and I tell you its not a miracle its our destiny. We want a leader and Khan has shown over the years what kind of leader he is and we believe in every word he says.
TamFai May 22, 2012 12:36pm
I am living in UK for the last 8 years and before that I have never voted for all the looters as I knew they will only damage our country but this time believe me I am going to just fly back to vote for PTI. I want to save my country as every Pakistani wants and each of us will kick out all of them who still believe they can stop the tsunami, they are living in their bullet proof castles but Allah will break their dreams InshAllah. I urge every Pakistani to please do what you can do to save our beautiful land. This is just the begining not the end !!
supporters May 22, 2012 12:41pm
dawn stop censoring and publish the comment atleast aussie newspapers have guts to publish my comment u guys cant even get it unless u say good stuff about ur dawn a comment like this shouldnt be published , not the one i gave last.
ahmad butt May 22, 2012 12:47pm
The ECP is yet to correct the voter list, and if PTI does not push it, other parties will win on having elections on bogus votes and stamping, we all saw how cheating is done openly on television but nothing happened to rectify it. If supreme court doesnt do anything, the people will be more fed up with jamoriyat and then we can finally embrace a 9PM Ptv khabarnama time fauji general to take over once and for all.
Habib May 22, 2012 12:57pm
Tahir an outdated analysis of some outdated facts, in your article you mentioned only the urban Punjab, things are drastically changing for Imran in the rural areas now. I am from a remote village in KPK, every youth (with a slight understanding of politics) is mobilized for IK & PTI. Most of them don’t even belong to PTI but they are campaigning and convincing their family and friends to vote for IK, hopefully it will be the same in all parts of Pakistan, just want IK to increase its candidature and access each and every part of Pakistan. I am from a working class and doing the same inspired by those university students and ordinary youth. Change is in the air; please don’t spread disappointment if you cannot contribute positively to this noble cause for Prosperous Pakistan.
Agha Ata May 22, 2012 12:59pm
Just look . . . how many commentators have spoken in your favor, and against Imran Khan?
Faraz Bin Ahmad May 22, 2012 01:02pm
I agree on 15 -20 NA seats. die hard political workers + sold-out voters are possibly greater in number than those who want change of faces at least + who are affected by the charisma of IK
Adil Jadoon May 22, 2012 01:11pm
At least we have hope. As for the facebook option if people fang even get out to vote thenthey deserve what they will get.
malik May 22, 2012 01:31pm
Why the writer is concerned about PTI if it has no chance. What made him write this? Of course not he results of 97 and 2002 but some current phenomenon. A lot of water has passed under the bridge. In a two party systems , it takes time to make a new party popular and all the recent polls have shown the popularity of PTI. Check IRI survey Mr. Writer and check their previous surveys.
UmerSid May 22, 2012 01:33pm
All previous elections were on fake voters list .This time list has been corrected by Election Commission this is the main difference but PTI will i think take 30 to 50 seats in national assembly at the most.
Mansoor May 22, 2012 01:36pm
I am in the UK and I have taken time off from work in order to go to Pak embassy and have my NICOP made. My first ever vote is for IK
Hasan May 22, 2012 01:37pm
Akbar Bajwa May 22, 2012 01:40pm
Finally some of the writer's friends show up to consolidate with him in the comments section. If Khan's fans don't accept reality, his critics are also way too cynical and unreasonable. Also if you think its only the urban middle class that's looking forward to him to deliver to them, you're wrong. A massive number of rural population (and you may go ahead and call it naivety) also have their hopes clinging to IK, including myself.
Ajamal May 22, 2012 01:51pm
Next elections would be significantly different from the past due to following; 1) First full term government in Pakistan history will go back to electorates; 2) Most powerful / independent Chief Election Commissioner is exected to conduct elections; 3) Voters list will be most authentic (35million bonus votes in existing list & past election stats); 4) Powerful media will play an important role in shaping voters mind (barring a Benazir assissination like event) Conclusion: Next election results cannot be predicted on past performances. Above are key factors.
BRR May 22, 2012 01:56pm
For someone not even involved in your own betterment, and of the nation, you expect miracles. You and people like you deserve IK, a hollow personality with glitz on the outside. S much for civic sense of the youth of Pakistan.
BRR May 22, 2012 02:01pm
How many people have no shame admitting "we have never voted before" - such people want politicians to do miracles for them.
Ali S May 22, 2012 02:03pm
There are a lot of voting age folk, especially of my generation, who don't cast their votes simply because they don't believe there is any party/candidate worthy of representing them. Many of them will now be entering the democratic process for the first time thanks to Imran Khan. That alone is a huge achievement (regardless of the outcome), so keep your liberal-elite smarminess to yourself.
Noor May 22, 2012 02:36pm
I am 41 and I never voted, even having sympathy for Imran since 1996, my five family votes which were going previously to PPP, will go to PTI, THIS IS A rhetoric .... and this can also be said safely that 50% of youth is with PTI and this contitutes 30% of the total voters, so change is there..... Dr. Waheed
naamonishan May 22, 2012 02:50pm
This is a very tunnel-visioned article.The writer fails to see that the world cup and hospital are mere background information now. Way back in the background. It's not what Khan has to rely on now. When you think of Khan, that's the last thing that comes to your head now. He has earned his charisma as a politician. He would've had similar massive jalsas in his earlier years if it was just about his charisma as a sportsman and a philanthropist. Imran Khan is now seen as what he stands for as a politician. The writer can't see the transformation.
Ziad Rashdi May 22, 2012 02:58pm
What the writer is implying that we should accept the verdict of rigged elections and since IK was not able to generate enough votes therfore we should not support a man of integrity and a man on mission.That if the corrupt junta is given another term by manipulating innocent and illiterate, it should be acceptable to all. Please do not add to the confusion of already confused people. Let's get rid of the corrupts. It is time for PTI and IK.
Ziad Rashdi May 22, 2012 03:01pm
IK is the only perosnality after the creation of Pakistan that has the sincerity of Jinnah. Please do not confuse the people with numbers. Vote for IK and PTI and get rid of the curroption and status quo.
rizwan May 22, 2012 03:33pm
PTI... is the idea whose time has come...
Cyrus Howell May 22, 2012 03:58pm
I do not think it was an easy decision for President Harry S. Truman to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. It did allow a lot of Muslim farmers from Punjab to leave the British Forces and return home. It makes no difference if Imran Khan does not have the right credentials to be president. Neither did Harry Truman or Abraham Lincoln. The only quality a great leader Must Have is Courage. The courage to make the hard decisions and to resist corrupt men, and to spark lazy men into action. What a president is never short of are people around him suggesting policy decisions. In politics things are not as they appear. People who help elect you expect favors in return for their support. Truman and Lincoln were not rich men but they knew those who were rich were the very ones they needed to be careful of. + Lincoln had problems with his army generals, but he knew according to the constitution he was in charge of the army. Some resisted Lincoln's orders during the civil war.
Noor May 22, 2012 04:02pm
I am 41 and I never voted, even having sympathy for Imran since 1996, my five family votes which were going previously to PPP, will go to PTI, THIS IS A rhetoric .... and this can also be said safely that 50% of youth is with PTI and this contitutes 30% of the total voters, so change is there.....
Zeid May 22, 2012 04:11pm
If I am to follow the writer's belief that past is a good predictor of future, then we all know exactly what we are going to get if PPP and PMLN win [and that aint pretty] the next elections. So the voters have a choice about whether they want some change in the country. I think the emphasis in our dialogue should be about what alternatives we have got and not necessarily only about PTI [althought in my view PTI is the best option for the country now]. None of the other parties put themselves out there and claim, even to attempt, to solve our problems in an acceptable time frame. If someone is making those claims so vehemently and passionately then I suggest we put our faith in them. But I do believe that we would have exhausted our right to demonstrate once PPP and PMLN come to power and fail to solve our problems. If I could use a meaphor: you wouldn’t go to a gun seller's house and protest if you shot yourself in the foot with a gun you bought from him, will you?
Zeid May 22, 2012 04:11pm
(sorry for another post, but i went over the allowed limit...) Also, I ask people who write articles to put down PTI [or any other alternative to PPP and PMLN] to aslo mention in their articles the options that are available to public, otherwise your views risk being seen as very disingenuos.
Usman May 22, 2012 04:14pm
What ever, i will only vote for Imran Khan. Imran Khan is the only hope.
n.qureshi May 22, 2012 04:15pm
born again, khan.wake up
Ahmed May 22, 2012 05:07pm
What a bad article Mr dont you have no insight 1997 elections were massively rigged 2002 election was all game. More people support IK now but still the author is completely fails to understand this.
Devendra May 22, 2012 05:54pm
Even if Imran Khan comes in to power; he is no Messiah, Folks. I am sorry to say that. Ofcourse, he does have messianic complex. Just look at his pronouncements and statements on issues where he could have shown statesmanship, leadership, courage and integrity.
Ali May 22, 2012 06:08pm
Chacha jee Jaan diyo sadi warrri annn dio :)
Hassan baig May 22, 2012 08:06pm
I think writer has just put some stats together, and like many other Pakistanis he is just asking if Imran Khan can make it this time. I hope we all be able to save Pakistan. I am 31 and have never voted, for what! I will travel back and vote for IK, not because IK may prove to be a saint but to only because, let us see if he can make A Change ..
Muhammad May 22, 2012 08:43pm
PTI troll is in full swing
dr j tipu May 22, 2012 10:03pm
i think the writer has totally ignored the massive youth uprising and keen interest in politics and getting their votes registered. Wake up man and write something that holds some ground! My falimys votes have gone to PPP in the past, but every one is prepared to vote IK this time, no more PMLN or PPP rubbishes
Israr Khan Ismailzai May 22, 2012 10:54pm
I will be waiting for an article from the author after Imran Khan becomes the prime minister of Pakistan.
kaiser May 23, 2012 12:18am
Politics is serious business affecting the present and future of nearly 200 million people and not a game of cricket or just a catchy slogan.
msausa May 23, 2012 01:48am
How could the writer missed the recent poll data about TI? The difference in the past data that he is basing his article on and current data is huge. This is called ignoring and elephant in the room. I guess number crunchers can't operate if they don't have the past numbers. They can't smell change in the air.
babar May 23, 2012 01:58am
So all of you above who said they had never voted in the past,, though they were eligible, you are to be blamed equally for the state of affairs in Pakistan as you never tried to get that corrected by performing your very important civic duty. Good that now you realize, and hope that from now on you will continue.
Yawar May 23, 2012 03:26am
As far as Imran Khan is concerned, I have no doubt he will win. Look who he will be running against. A non-charismatic super rich zamindar who has great affinity to Switzerland and a non-charismatic super rich industrialist who cannot think beyond his regional base and avenging his ouster. Clearly, in a country ripe with family, regional and group biases, Imran Khan is the only hope. My comment to the writer is to please write clearly and in simple English. I dont know about the other readers, but I found it difficult read and at the same time understand what you were saying. However, the stats and facts you presented were really good.
Javaid khan May 23, 2012 03:35am
I have no doubt that Imran khan is the future pm of pakistan,over 80 percent youth I talk to are I in support of Imran previous eleictions voting percentage has never been above 40 percent and thatp include bogus votes.we expect a high youth tun outp in next election.
M. Rehan Maqbool May 23, 2012 04:23am
Dear Friends, I have one question for all of you especially for those who don't like Imran Khan. There are four persons in a room with four doors. They want to leave the room. The first person uses a door, but unfortunatly that door leads to cave. (The three remaining persons will not use that door again.... Common Sense). The second person use another door and the same result. The two remaining persons will not use that two doors(CS). The third person use another door and this time too, same result, a cave. Now what will the fourth person will do. In my openion he will use (and he must) the fourth door. Off-course he don't know what will be there beyond that door but common sense says just take chance. There is 50 50 chance.
M. Rehan Maqbool May 23, 2012 04:24am
Now my friends, I don't know what will Imran do when he became Prime Minister, but I have only one choice, which I should prefer and use. I have observed Nawaz Sharif two times, three times people party, one time religious parties (as I am from FATA) etc. I will definatly use my vote in favor of Imran because there are 50 50 chances. But his past experiences shows that he is great administrator. At this time our country needs Good Administrator, because we have very laws but noone to implement these.
Zahid May 23, 2012 05:01am
I am sorry, but it is not the Chrisma of IK that is attracting peoples' attention. If that were the case, he would have been successful much earlier with world cup and hospital fresh in people's minds. It is the utter disappointment from the 'performance' of the other two major parties, the loot and plunder, the indifference to suffering of common man, the daily exploitation of working class, the stories of royal behavior from ruling elite that has brought the 'Punjabi Urban Middle Class' closer to IK. The only class, which is relatively free from voting based on caste, family, social influence and race of candidates.
Abdul Mujeeb Khan May 23, 2012 05:13am
If, people of the Pakistan are thinking beyond PPP,PML,JUI,MQM etc, I think they’re thought won’t be as conditional as others political parties conditioned the whole democratic system with self-centered and money-making business. The problem is that we have had many generations being gradually conditioned to accept pseudo Pakistani style of democracy. This times the ‘big cycle” of pseudo-democracy seems loosing its strength, no matter, what was the history of PTI?
Rizvis May 23, 2012 05:20am
I am not a huge fan of PTI honestly. But seriously dude this is a lame article, wonder how dawn is able to publish these sort of articles. Almost a decade old data-How can you make any kind of analysis basing on these figures? Well this is how you understand DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE? wowww pretty COOL!! Now here is the simple answer to your analysis. In 2012 our foreign policy , economy and security situation was different. At that stage we had not tested PPP AND PML-N for the third time and I guess people of Pakistan never wanted change and lastly we never had 47% of population aging from 18years-35years.
Amanzeb Khan May 23, 2012 05:20am
Ten years is a long time. Basing your analysis on 2002 and closing your eyes to whatever has happened till 2012 is illogical.
Omer May 23, 2012 05:24am
Habib, though I dont belong to KPK, the little that I have seen about IKs popularity is mind say the least. From Mardan to Peshawar every other person is supporting IK - Express news and a couple of other channels did a street opinion program on KPK's political leanings a couple of months ago. People used to start off with abusing ANP first, and then saying that 'Hum Imran Khan ko vote dalay ga'. I must admit that our Pashtoon brothers have always been the first ones to accept change, only they have voted and tried all polictial parties (ANP, PPP, MMA). If not a national govt, IK shall inshAllah get KPK, Southern Punjab, a bit of central punjab and maybe Balochistan. Pakistan Zindabad!
Mustafa Razavi May 23, 2012 05:26am
Present an argument, don't present your opinion as facts.
Syed Qaseem Ali May 23, 2012 05:26am
I dont disagree with your conclusion but I think you have missed a very important factor of the media. I would like to see the analysis with that factor included.
Omer May 23, 2012 05:29am
Dawn should elevate its standards, such a pedestrian article! (I am only talking about the writing quality - not the topic)
Amanzeb Khan May 23, 2012 05:30am
Your point about charisma in other fields not translating into electoral success is valid. But you miss the critical point. In the last 5-10 years IK has actually built political credibility as well. He is no longer banking on his cricketing charisma. He has earned the following and respect of a large number of voters in urban and rural Pakistan. For those who think this is a facebook phenomena, take a walk through the streets in different parts of the country and ask the people. You will find out just how much things have changed.
Mian Zain May 23, 2012 05:36am
Say what you have to say. Be whatever you can be. Our time has come. Imran Khan's time has come. ARE YOU WATCHING
Ahmed Saeed May 23, 2012 06:31am
When Nawaz Sharif and BB were ousted from power, people celebrated it on streets. Musharraf was at his best and he delivered somewhat. On the contrary PPP and PML(N) badly failed to appease the simmering situation Pakistan is facing these days. Imran Khan is not the choice by design but he is in the same situation where MMA was in 2002. He is not lucky but has been chosen by nature itself. My vote is for IK.
Commenter May 23, 2012 06:51am
This article should have been moderated before posting by Dawn editors. Just a lame try to make personal opinion stand all for itself. Fine that you blog!! but do it with some substance in your argument...
AAQ May 23, 2012 07:04am
bhutto zinda hai is also a catchy slogan .... :P we fell for it more than once too.... it works with the 200 million ... IK ur on the rt track !
ijaz May 23, 2012 07:51am
It seems like, the writer is very much unfamiliar with current political facts. How can we compare the future with past? Now people are well aware of Pakistani politics and all credit goes to strong and vibrant media. I have been to southern Punjab while ago and I was astonished since I got to know people over there are equally knowledgeable and fully aware as compared to those who are living in major cities. They know what is bad and good for them. They are sick of current economic situation and traditional Pakistani politics. In simple words they want change ... they want IK to lead this country.
Ali May 23, 2012 07:52am
for that matter not much of a difference has been observed so far between other run of the mill politicians and IK. Same old rhetoric, same old faces, same old hate mongering and worst of all same old COMPROMISES ! Talk about cherished change....
Faiz May 23, 2012 07:54am
Such a naive analysis, as all previous elections were conducted on more than 50 percent fake voter lists.
Ali May 23, 2012 08:24am
here's the argument. Change demands an uncompromising stand on principles.... cases in point 1) sudden silence on violence and atrocities of MQM... 2) not mobilizing the potential street power of sleeping tsunami against the corrupt government(s) on the pretext of not letting them become "Siyasi Shaheeds".... 3) Sudden stoppage of Dharnas against drone attacks.... 4) Having a MNA elected on PMLQ ticket joining his party and not resigning from his seat... These are just a few examples where the once principled Khan has gone astray and the so-called "political wisdom" which is the hallmark of PPP, PML and other political parties, has reigned supreme.
RIZ May 23, 2012 08:28am
presently all the pakistanis living in world of darkness bcoz of so called democratic parties....
aamir ali May 23, 2012 08:48am
The writer seems biased and ignorant!.... that's his point of view I was once the PML (N) committed worker and now have leave them as they left us in 1998. So the writer should read and broaden his/her knowledge before writing such articles...
umer May 23, 2012 08:51am
I mean come on!! Imran has no idea what he is talking about. He has sensed that people are desperate for change-any change,which somehow will change their lots for the better overnight. And he has positioned himself with the help of you-know-who to be the harbinger of that change. Exploiting downtrodden and poor Pakistanis longing for a better a future in order to become Prime minister is just heartless. I didn't expect this from Imran.He has proved that after all he is no different than the ruling elite of this hapless country.
d. Goel May 23, 2012 11:00am
yes Tahir Mehdi seems to be goodCrystall-Ball gazer in political forecasting. Imran khan hasbeen doinggood Cricket giving pakistan its firstWorldcup decades aggo .he hasalso launcheda cancer hospital in Lahorewhere common pakistani is served in thename ofImran's mother .Thatsurely islaudable Social service. he married a an English heriess but who couldnot stay with him even though the couple hadchildren.Of coursetherewasmuch salacious talk that he wasprivy to late PMBenazir also whileboth were workingin UK's Oxford university. Largely Janabimran khan Sahib despiteAnglo pakistani handsome Mien is only a playboy and no statesman. D. Goel
kdspirited May 23, 2012 11:00am
Mr. Umer. How is Imran Khan exploiting the downtrodden exactly? is he putting a gun to their heads and asking them to come out in droves? Is he paying them off? Is he forcing their change of heart by quadruple bypass surgery. I dont thin people like you give IK enough credit or in this instance too much credit. The exploitation of the downtrodden over the last 60+ years have been handled quite well by the whose in the NA and their ancestors. None of which are from Zaman Park. If people were allowed to think for themselves and vote with their hearts we would not be here today. That is what PTI and IK is counting on.
Kdspirited May 23, 2012 11:08am
I think our cynicisim is overwhelmingly obvious with articles and comments such as these. If IK's jalsas are any indication getting the youth, women, elderly and perpetual non voters (i bet you are one of them) out in droves will not be a problem for him. The problem would be to keep the goons and paid hit men of these other parties away from polling stations so they dont harrass IK voters. I for one will be volunteering at those polling booths to make sure that I stand between those gun wielding hoodlums and my peoples right to vote fairly. One life is not enough to safe this nation but it belongs to Pakistan.
Saad Iqbal May 23, 2012 11:23am
Total distortation of facts. 1997 - a party hardly one year and note even enough candidates to field. Even in 2002 people would vote for a dictator's party - why couldnt the two big parties PPP and PML-N (had formed Govts twice) muster vote if the people hated the dictator so much and wanted democracy? Answers? For change - apart from Charisma, they also see if the change can happen in a much larger canvas (and hence even by elections are skewed towards the ruling party). And today Imran Khan and PTI are in that position. and how convienently have you forgotten 45% bogus vote and demographic shift (Number of young voters). The answer is simple. PPP and PML-N was my fathers generations party but today we align and believe PTI represents youth and has the vision and the will to put this country back on track.
Syed Awais May 23, 2012 11:23am
What with Dawn? I mean, seriously, how did this "thing" (the word op-ed doesn't feel appropriate here) get publishappened hed in the first place?____Anyways, for the esteemed writer's information, Jinnah failed miserably in 1937 elections and we all know what he did just a decade later. This is just one of the many examples where individuals have risen from impossible situations to pull off remarkable feats so the writer would do well to keep his cynicism (read biasedness against IK) to himself.
Akram May 23, 2012 11:26am Read the latest on PTI by Rizwan Asif
Saad Iqbal May 23, 2012 11:30am
the fact is the "facebook generation" brought the Arab Spring in Egypt. the fact is the "facebook" generation poured into heart of Lahore and Karachi, and the fact is the "facebook generation" will come to vote for PTI. On the contrary my fathers generation would prefer to sit at home and not go to polling booths like "facebook generation" would - because whenever they have trusted their vote - they only got PPP and PML-N as governments looting and plundering the country - and leaving the masses high and dry to face a dictator! and today their back is broken by trying to sustain their families.
Irfan Baloch May 23, 2012 11:31am
dear Tariq I respect your comments, you didnt mince your words and laid it out in the face of us all. pity that I fear the same outcome that these desktop yahoos wont survive more than 20 minutes of real life experience on the polling station. the heat, the mismanagement, the chaos and the pain of getting there would be enough to off put these chaps and not to mention the heavily armed "gentlemen" our main stream party candidates will bring to the polling station for little entertainment. having said that , I wish IK the best and pray for the PTI warriors continued , safe and secure existence in their parents homes.
Abdul Aleem Ch May 23, 2012 12:46pm
Great peace................
Syed Safi Pirzada May 23, 2012 06:17pm
time will prove that these writers were not looking at the changing mood of the youth. Any nation where the youth is awake and aware, it can do wonders. PTI and Imran Khan are going to change the history insha ALLAH in the next elections.
Naeem Ikram May 24, 2012 12:39am
AwwH! Thank you for telling us! And a great round of applause for your stats too. But why you didn't mention about the malfunctions of Election Commission of Pakistan. And handicapped media in the 90's to early 2001!!! I never have given any credit to Gen Mushi but for this particular thing he did a wonderful job. To bring reforms in media regularity acts. Now our Media Vibrant, Now people are more aware. Their eyes are open and its has changed now. Please read an independent research thesis on corruption and black money "Capitalism Achilles Heel" by Raymond W. Baker. From page 76 to 87 he mentioned about Bhutto's legacy Late BB G, unfortunately still Alive Zardari and Sharif brothers! If some one wants the book can contact me at ""
Mubeen Alum May 24, 2012 06:37am
Mr. Imran Khan Deserves a chance, i have still no idea as to how could people vote for money launderers back in 2007!! i still remember people in the news yelling Go Musharraf Go!! OK! He went! Now what ya'll got, Did ya'll Get the ROTI KUPRA MUKAAN.??!
Muneef May 24, 2012 11:08am
Azmat May 25, 2012 03:11pm
Another one of those paid articles. If we go by the theory that old statistics of failures always translate in to the same in future, nothing will get done in this world. I was surprised by a post from an old friend who had tried to draw similarities between IK and Mr Jinnah. Both were born in affluent families, both were consided failures or at best mediocres at the start of there professional careers (Jinnah as a lawyer and IK as a fast bowler), both foreign educated and included in the Universitiy's hall of fame, both suffered miserable defeats in Election but surged back(Jinnah in 1937 and IK in 1997),both had failed marriages with reverted muslim women , the change in political fortunes for both is marked by a show of strentgh in Lahore at exactly the same place, Minare--Pakistan, formerly Manto Park. Too mant co-incidences combined
wajhi May 27, 2012 02:38pm
your crystal ball is going to choke you this time. IRI Survey says PTI is number ONE. your masters and investors are NOT happy about it. nor do you look happy. Rather you look intimidated by IK because you are part of status quo.
Dr. Danish May 29, 2012 07:01am
the writer seems to be BIASED and Lafafa of N league in punjab. proof of this is in his conclusive lines ""If he couldn’t twice, how can he do it the third time? Punjabi urban middle class meanwhile have to make do by just ‘changing’ channels on their new flat screen HD TV sets or maybe also the brand of the potato chips bag in their hand. """" how non-sense his words that if one cannot do twice, how can he do 3rd time ???? Does anyone agree with this sense-less approach? Lafafa journalists ! recently DAWN news seems also promoting these kind of writings and not even covered PTI Mass gathering in RWP on May 27, which shows clearly biased policy or under threatened policy in Karachi city by dehshatgards or may be seeking soem lafaffaas too from N on Malik Riaz.
Amin May 27, 2012 07:20pm
Perhaps your crystal ball needs to rely a little less heavily on stats and a little more on memory. Nobody ever considered the PTI a serious force before this. Admittedly, he may not sweep the elections but comparing this time to the previous elections is ludicrous!
Tariq K Sami May 28, 2012 04:52am
Great observations. Also both learned to speak Urdu.
Tariq K Sami May 28, 2012 05:10am
After spending 15 years in the political wilderness Imran has captured the limelight because the rest of the Politicians have been looting the country. People who love Pakistan believe he should be given a chance. He will bring Pakistan respect on the world stage. I am from Karachi and I will vote for him.
Tariq K Sami May 28, 2012 05:15am
You are looking at history in the making. Just you wait.
Tariq K Sami May 28, 2012 05:30am
Have you no sense of History. Keep your eyes open. Like Moeen Akhtar said 20 years ago " kaha Imran ka dar hai , kaha Imran to hoga".
Tariq K Sami May 28, 2012 05:51am
Great article. Well researched. There is one problem however with expert opinion they are mostly wrong at predicting the future. No one who saw Obama lose his congress election in Chicago against Bobby Rush would ever have predicted that this guy will go on to become the President of the United States. When Mr Jinnah left politics and went away to live in England who would have thought that this man will be the only man in History to change the map of the world and create a new country and a new Nation( "Jinnah did all three"). Imran is honest just like Edhi. That's something every one agrees. And that's what counts.
Mohammad H Khan May 28, 2012 01:33pm
Pity the nation whose people are sheep And whose shepherds mislead them Pity the nation whose leaders are liars Whose sages are silenced And whose bigots rule the airwaves Pity the nation that raises not its voice Except to praise conquerers And acclaim the bully as hero And aims to rule the world By force and by torture Pity the nation that knows No other language but its own And no other culture but its own Pity the nation whose breath is money And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed Pity the nation oh pity the people who allow their rights to erode and their freedoms to be washed away My country, tears of thee Sweet land of liberty! —Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Hafsa May 28, 2012 02:53pm
What if IK wins and manages to post a surplus budget as he promises? He says he can manage over 4000 billion easily as people will trust the leader and pay taxes.What if this happens? Wont it change the whole scenario in Pakistan? Moreover, I would rather vote for IK instead of even thinking about voting for Sharifs or Zardari. I cant even think about votinf for these mediocre self proclaimed leaders
Tariq K Sami May 29, 2012 02:10am
I am 62 years old and I am too old to get excited about anything in life!!! But It still brings tears to my eyes when I think I was there that day in Sharjah 20 years ago when Imran Khan the Lion of Pakistan took 6 wickets for 14 runs in 10 overs. He is the Skipper he is the Captain when he leads us he will lead from the front. He is the real deal. This is the real thing. Stop living in the world of fantasy Mr Zahid Hanif.
Steve May 29, 2012 06:53am
same me and many other people who never casted vote earlier but this time will inshAllah for PTI.
Saad May 29, 2012 07:03am
absolutey BIASED and Lafafa journalism Look his last 4 lines, does that make sense ?
Zeeshan S. Mehtab May 30, 2012 02:24pm
We have the change of $62 billions...We are Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf :)
Navid May 31, 2012 10:08am
Regardless what they say, and make a mountain out of a molehill. For the first time in my life I will be going to polling station, to cast vote for PTI and Imran Khan.
sher khan Jun 02, 2012 07:57am
i am 37 and i have never voted but now i will vote Ik. and to Mr Mehdi .........we are voting IK not because he won world cup or he is a celebraty, we wont to vote for him cause we beleive he is the most honest selfless and competent man in pak politics today.... we have seen your sharif brothers and zardaries.
sher khan Jun 02, 2012 07:59am
you and people like you deserve zardari
sher khan Jun 02, 2012 08:01am
yeh we saw how good your zardari and sharif went about this serious business of running pakistan.
Mehwish Jun 04, 2012 08:57pm
My advice to all Imran Khan critics: go vote for Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif and Mr. Altaf hussain for the 20th time. They deserve to be given another chance, right?
Ahmed Jun 05, 2012 11:33am
I don’t understand who the hell are these people sitting in a room and analyze big matters. Like many I am 38 and never casted my vote I had never been associated with any party but this time I will make sure that ma and all my family members must cast vote to PTI. After all we have to be answerable to Almighty. Those who think that IK's vision is just an illusion so stay at home with their constipated thinking, let people decide - who have already decided. On the other hand I think for many cornered writers this is a way of attracting people... poor/cheap way of publicity. Good Luck Imran Khan and all the best PTI.