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Why the PTI will lose the NA-246 contest!

The NA-246 elections have certainly garnered immense attention and hype owing to the massive publicity given to this issue by the media. There are three mainstream parties contesting these elections, only two are subject to the strict scrutiny of the media. What follows amidst this election campaign for these two is nothing short of a matter of life and death. The election, that will merely alter one national assembly seat, much less bring about any massive shift in the said assembly, is projected as a war between the two political parties.

The debate surrounding this election surely cannot be about one seat of the “unconstitutional assembly” for the elections taking place under the “illegal election commission”. Surely, there must be something more to it that warrants the attention of millions of spectators, media persons and political analysts. According to my observation, the said election will surely set the stage for the next general elections and the fate of archrivals, PTI and MQM, in the politics of Karachi. Nothing will change with PTI winning the seat, except for the fact that PTI’s claim of Karachi being hostage to MQM will gain legitimacy. A result in favor of PTI would surely prove to be the last nail in the coffin of already disturbed MQM politics.

If you think about it, it wouldn’t be short of a miracle if PTI beats MQM at their hometown. What, you may ask, lead to this deduction? Firstly, this is the strongest seat of MQM in Karachi therefore, losing this seat will signify that MQM will not be able to win any other seat in Karachi.  Keeping aside MQM prejudices; it’s hatred and criticism, what emanates, as a decisive point is the fact that the MQM garners massive public support. Failing to accept this is akin to living in a fool’s paradise. MQM contesters have been victors in all elections contested from 1980 onwards (this was NA 186& 187 before the general elections of 2002). In addition, we should also keep in mind the fact that in each of the elections, MQM’s winning votes were twice, thrice, or sometimes even quadruple to that of their opponents. One possible explanation could be that it was because of undue influence and violence. Even if we take this to be an acceptable argument, it does not explain the massive differences in votes casted unless you agree that the entire mandate is hijacked which, if thought out logically, is preposterous.

Secondly, it is no secret that PTI’s local organizational and infrastructural structure is weak in Karachi; something that was admitted by PTI’s Karachi President, Ali Zaidi. PTI has failed to deliver and achieve desired results in Karachi. Even PPP and JI have better local organizations which are actually working for the masses and creating positive images of their respective parties. As for MQM, it has the strongest organizational and infrastructural structure along with an efficient working system. Its command and control system is considered to be one of a kind. For example, their MPAs and MNAs are not only forced to follow the given guidelines regarding meeting the workers and local people but also instructed to address their particular issues. Moreover, the fact that MQM has also worked day and night on infrastructure and other development projects has made their profile even more awe-inspiring.

On the other hand, PTI fans believe that the ongoing operation has damaged MQM to the core. With statements released by Nabeel Gabol and Saulat Mirza, they feel that MQM has been defensive, thereby, losing all public support. Though, this view was considered substantive initially, however, the tables have turned now. MQM supporters feel that they, along with their leadership, are being targeted which has put them in a position where they consider themselves being stuck in-between a rock and a hard place. Even the “naraz” supporters are coming back since they feel that MQM is the sole representative of the Muhajirs and any loss to the party would damage the voice of Urdu speaking community. Moreover, it has been reported that overseas Pakistanis are coming back to cast their votes in favor of MQM; a very important factor which was a major cause for PTI’s second position in Karachi in the last general elections.

Moreover, PTI has been accused of contesting these elections on “someone’s” command. A major chunk of the population of Karachi also believes that the same ‘someone’ was behind Nabeel Gabol’s resignation thereby, creating a vacancy in the National Assembly. So, in my opinion, this operation against MQM will actually backfire in terms of the upcoming elections which ultimately, would help MQM in gaining sympathy votes. Furthermore, people also feel that the candidate should be local, rather than importing someone from DHA. However, in light of the aforementioned factors, it alone wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

Lastly, and most importantly, PTI’s stubbornness and lack of political sense will hand MQM their victory on a silver platter. Though, I have utmost respect for Imran Khan and I believe his sincerity and commitment towards this country has no bounds; however, his political wisdom has disappointed me on several occasions. In the given NA-246 scenario, a better approach would have been to put a joint candidate with JI, even at the cost of withdrawing PTI’s candidate thereby, focusing on defeating MQM. Imran Khan’s primary contention was objecting MQM’s political practices. Even if JI would have won the seat, it would have ultimately benefitted PTI. Probably in the next general elections MQM would have lost a lot of steam and hence, it’s claim to invincibility.

This article might cause outrage amongst PTI supporters who may accuse me of being on MQM’s payroll. But it will not change the fact that it is only a matter of days till the truth in my words will shine through. Criticism should be taken positively and should be used as a tool towards improvement. There is no point in taking offence and becoming outraged. We must realize and correct our mistakes if we are to move forward as a nation.

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