Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) won majority seats in the country’s biggest by-elections on October 14th. Still these election results must be taken as a matter of grave concern by the PTI’s sages as it shockingly lost all four seats (Two form the national assembly and two form Punjab Assembly.) from Lahore including NA-131, vacated by Prime Minister Imran Khan. This result is an indicator about PTI’s shrinking popularity in the provincial metropolis.
IK had opted for Usman Buzdar, a legislator from Taunsa Sharif, as Punjab Chief Minister for strengthening his party in Southern Punjab where PTI lost another crucial seat in Dera Ghazi Khan against PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz). This signifies that IK’s formula did not work.
The same goes with Swat from where IK took Mehmood Khan for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chief Minister’s office. PTI lost two seats from Swat against PML-N and MMA (Muthida Majlis e Amal).
Another debacle PTI faced was at Bannu in NA-35, the seat was vacated by IK, where Zahid Akram Durrani of MMA won against a PTI candidate. There are multiple reasons behind these collapses such as; disinterest of central leaders in campaigning, controversial selection of candidates like IK awarding ticket to Hamayun Akhtar Khan instead of Waleed Iqbal for NA-131, depreciation of rupee against dollar, price-hikes and internal rifts within the party.
In a bid to muster people’s support in the by-elections, the PTI government announced a housing scheme plan to build five million homes for low-income citizens of Pakistan and promised to give nationality to Afghan and Bengali refugees, born in Pakistan. Yet, it lost several of its own constituencies as mentioned above.
The major dilemma PTI is facing in the Federal and Punjab governments is dependency on its allies. PTI at federal level, shares power with PML-Q (Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid), MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement), Balochistan Awami Party and Balochistan National Party. While in Punjab it took support from PML-Q and independents. Fact of the matter is that PTI is sitting on treasury benches in NA and PA with narrow margins. If any of their major allies like PML-Q withdraws support and unites with the joint opposition, there might be a tough situation for IK and PTI.
On the other hand, opposition claims that several legislators of PTI are in contact with them and are willing to form a forward block in National and Punjab Assembly. So, it seems that PTI is treading on a slippery slope.
It is true that masses should not compare PTI’s performance with PPP (Pakistan Peoples; Party) and PML-N just two months after PTI came into power. It is also apparent that IK’s have let it been known that his intent for Pakistan’s development is very positive, especially considering he does not carry the stain of financial corruption. But, one cannot lead a country with intent only. One must have a team of people with clear vision and plans. Unfortunately, IK is trying to win another big game where the stakes are high with a weak team. However, IK must recall the wise words of Thomas Edison, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”