The common man can make Imran Khan win

Published: July 14, 2012

The labourers, domestic servants, tenants and the vendors of the country seek inspiration of a socialist nature. PHOTO: REUTERS

Will Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) ‘sweep’ the next general elections?

Well, Imran might not be able to sweep them but he will definitely register significant gains. There are two reasons for that.

First is the addition of around 38 million new voters in the electoral rolls, the majority of which are constituted by the country’s youth.

As explained by Imran Khan in a recent talk show, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were able to garner 18 million votes in the 2008 elections. Thus, it’s a substantial amount of new voters that we are talking about who have never voted for a political party before.

If the election commission (EC) is headed by the likes of Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, polls are bound to be transparent and it will be near impossible to artificially engineer electoral victories.

Massive rigging could not be done in 2008, while a military dictator was in power, nor will it happen this time around. The Supreme Court, media and the politically conscious citizenry of the country will make sure that it does not happen.

I belong to the rural areas and I have seen ballots being cast on voting day. It is the reports of misplaced ballots and absentee vote casting (ballot stuffing) that constitute one of the chronic problems of polling. If the EC can monitor these two features effectively on the day of polling, complaints are bound to dwindle.

The second factor is the PTI’s massive clout of social networking. The party’s official Facebook page presently has around 317,030 ‘likes’. Imran’s own page has in excess of 430,000 fans. Even if we discount this tally, taking into consideration factors of voter age and willingness, these are huge numbers. No other political party commands such an extensive network of social media organisation.

Some of these committed PTI members will indeed turn up to vote on Election Day, something that did not happen for Imran Khan in the 1990s.

However, what PTI still needs to do is rally itself more around popular and leftist goals. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is remembered by the common man even today because he did so much for him.

The labourers, domestic servants, tenants and the vendors of the country seek inspiration of a socialist nature that radically upsets the status quo. Will Imran be able to provide that?

One will have to wait and see.

Read more by Taimur here.

Taimur Arbab

Taimur Arbab

A former sub-editor at The Express Tribune, college teacher of Sociology and English Literaure and LUMS alumni, who leans toward the left side of the political spectrum and looks for ideas for his short stories and poems in the everyday happenings of life. He tweets @arbab333 (twitter.com/arbab333).

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Two blogs from you in the same week? Wow… ure a lucky guy :DRecommend

  • http://Lahore Salman Zafar

    Wishing goodluck to PTI and Imran…Recommend

  • Mariam Khan

    Its a wishful thinking of the author….Imran is far far away from common man….he is unaware what a man on street wants…and secondly for liking a page on facebook you just have to click whereas for voting practically you have to step out from your comfortable sofas and drawing room…Recommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    I have a good feeling about upcoming elections. Worst case scenario, even if PTI doesn’t win, it will have significant enough of a clout to create noise on important issues.Recommend

  • Danish

    @Mariam Khan:

    So who you wanna vote for? PPP and PML-N who are not even aware of the reality. Imran Khan can be given the benefit of the doubt. He is struggling in the political arena for the last so many years. His struggle has not been by sitting on the Sofa’s and as for the poor class they are aware that Imran Khan is availalbe, can be met and reached without interference by a massive number of Security Guards. He does not have a security detail or a protocol. A person who has seen fame and is aware of people’s problems can be given a chance to fix the problems.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    The point is valid but .. its the scenario after the change.. Now a big question is will he be the same once he get elected… will he sit with a man in Badin and eat loaf on his bread .. or will it be the glamorous leader in posh Islamabad. Remains to be seen.
    Yes its always the common man who put the trust in vote then steps asides for 5 years to see the revolution or evolution.Recommend

  • Imran Con

    “The second factor is the PTI’s massive clout of social networking. The party’s official Facebook page presently has around 317,030 ‘likes’.”
    If I wanted to take the time, I could give this article even more than that. I could also make this comment have thousands of recommendations.Recommend

  • kashif saif dhillon

    inshallah PTI will bag more seats than there opponnts r expctng, imran khan is the only ray of hope and we will definately gave him a chance and pose a trust on him, bcx he is unblemish ldr i rqust all pkstnis to thnk of nation intrst by ovrcmng vestd intrsts..,,Recommend

  • g antanu

    @Mariam Khan:
    imran khan is unaware what a man on street wants…,fine but he is sincere. however Zardari and nawa know what a man on street wanre but don’t give a damn. what should be a logical and sensible choice?Recommend

  • abdul hafeez qureshi uc4 pp156/155 lhr

    inshallah we will move forward in the leadership imran khan……………………………….imran teray jannisar beshumar beshumar……………………………Recommend

  • Uza Syed

    Agree with Mariam Khan, Imran Khan and his fan club of have no clue about us the masses out there in the streets that take us nowhere and the hamlets in the middle of nowhere. Recommend

  • Sajid Mahmood Awan

    INSHALLAH PTI & Imran Khan will be successful.

    PTI Zindabad – PAKISTAN PAAINDABADRecommend

  • http://wikiknowledgee.com Qasim Ali

    @marium khan. to phir kis ko vote dena chahye agar imran khan ko nai dena to??????
    last hope imran khan hai bas…….Recommend

  • popsaeed

    Base less article musharaf got just equal fan of imran khan what happend to him.

    What a supposition that all new vote will be cast and it will be cast to PTI lol

    Thats why people dont like bongies of imran khan.Recommend

  • http://birmingham elementary

    @popsaeed: New voters are young voters where IK enjoys great support.
    Even if 50 % are cast and out of that 50% goes to Ik ,this is still 10 million votes; so arguments carries weight.Recommend

  • Umer Khan

    Massive rigging was done under Musharraf, more than 50 percent of the votes were fake let alone other aspects of it, and Imran will sweep the elections insha’Allah, mark my words. And when he and Javed Hashmi come into power, people will forget Jinnah, let alone Bhutto. I am not just an emotional supporter, I have done my calculations, and God knows the best.Recommend

  • Abdur Rahman

    @ Uza Syed…

    Are you the ‘man on streets’??

    The man on streets wants: “Imran Khan,” accept the reality. It has been seen in a lot many ‘street shows’ what the common man wants; what bus drivers, rickshaw drivers, fish mongers, shop keepers want. The MAJORITY always takes Imran Khan’s name.

    And yes, Imran khan has more knowledge of what the common man wants, more than any of us.Recommend

  • Naumann Malik

    I am from Dubai, and I am going to specially fly in during the elections to make Sir Imran Khan win. I will vote for him, I will convince my family members also to vote for him.Recommend

  • Umer Khan

    Correction, bogus votes were over 30 million, they are either 45 percent or 50 percent, but it doesn’t matter, they are still huge numbers, and I meant I am not an emotional supporter lol, I wouldn’t want to be a one, blind following is disrespect to the intellect. Recommend

  • popsaeed

    @elementary:
    Brother all new voters are not blind like PTI followers most of them belongs to villages where only saying of zameendar are obeying so be realisticRecommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    @Naumann Malik Fan ho tu ap jesa!!!! warna na ho :)Recommend

  • Zoaib

    People who are saying that Imran Khan has no idea about the common man should only look at his life after leaving cricket (in fact even before he left completely) particularly his social work.

    Why would a person who knows and cares nothing about the common man establish an almost impossible feat such as SKMH which caters for 70% cancer patients free while also making sure that they are treated EQUALLY in all respects with the ones who are paying patients?

    Why would he establish the only university in the rural areas in the form of Namal University which gives 90% students full scholarship?

    Why would he go on and raise massive funds for the flood victims and establish model villages in different areas for the common man?

    Also, if Imran knows so less about what the common man wants than why is he the most popular leader at this time (according to prestigious surveys)? Seems the people understand him :)Recommend

  • Raw is War

    IK needs a chance to prove that he can fail too.Recommend

  • Usman Malik

    PTI WILL SWEEEP INSHALLAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • HM

    A young voter does not automatically mean a PTI supporter. Youth are by far the largest demographic and percentages not numbers are better representatives of an electoral result. As Mark Twain puts it, “All lies, damn lies and statistics”. I wouldn’t ‘count’ but count on the youth.

    Secondly, the article talks about one man and is that all there is to PTI? Just centered around one man? I thought it was a democratic party with an agenda beyond personality worship. I mean, just scroll up. IK will lead pakistan, IK did this, IK did that. Youth or not, it is the common culture to worship personalities and its happening right here. I don’t see the youth as any different from the voters ferried in on sugarcane trollies.

    What Pakistan needs now more than ever, is for people to support right from wrong on each issue and not unequivocally and unconditionally declare their allegiance to a man. I’ll take this article with a pinch of salt. nicely written though.Recommend

  • http://www.hotmail.com A.Bajwa

    Common man know what are the problems. Insaf is not his obsession it is a Yuppi problem.Recommend

  • hassan

    The reason why Imran Khan has captured the imagination of the public (mostly youth) is that he tells them what they want to hear.

    — Ours was the greatest country on earth till we started siding with the US. (applause)

    — The moment the drones stop, all the terrorist attacks will stop immediately. (deafening applause )

    — We don’t need aid from any country !! I will abolish in 90 days and then we will have enough cash !! No more power cuts !! ( dancing in the aisle )

    — This is not our war and so we should stop hurting poor taliban and al qaeda people. They are our misguided brothers and I will convince them to lay down arms and follow the teachings of Islam. ( yeayyyyy !! )

    —All the problems in Pakistan are caused by corrupt politicians and the Army people have been saving up from these corrupt politicians all these years. (millions clapping passionately )

    —We will solve all the terrorism by addressing the root cause, which is Kashmir and US war on terror. We should continue our talks. (fainting of people due to sheer ecstasy)

    If you listen to his speeches, you will notice that he tells exactly what the Mullahs tell their naive students in their madrassah, but, he tells this with an accent.

    The only thing Imran Khan has refrained from saying so far is that he will encourage girls to wear burqas and skip schools and there should be more beards in public. Once he takes this line of attack, no one can stop him. Because, anyone who opposes beards and burqas in public, will be labelled as an anti-islamic and no one will want to have that deadly tag. When the elections draw near, you will hear Imran Khan’s ‘more islamization needed for Pakistan’ kind of speeches.

    If the PTI of Imran Khan becomes the Pak equivalent of Muslim Brotherhood, then, don’t be surprised !! The public is solidly behind him !! Recommend

  • amin

    @hassan:
    iam here to reply to your misconceptions my dear ” pakistani liberal aka slave of western mentality.”
    lol

    1.correction: before we started sliding with the US WAR OF TERROR, our economy was growing at a rate of 6-7% now its just 2 percent. and we had just one bomb blast in all our history.

    never said drones are a sole reason for terrorism. he said drones are a reoson for INCREASING terrorism. keyword here is increasing. and besides its against laws of humanity to eliminate SUSPECTS. He empahisizes on carrying out intelligence work and working with the tribal people to grab real terrorist,
    yes we dont need aid. we oversees pakistanis will bring in investment. china will invest. There are many energy resources in our country. and pakistan is like a gateway to the middle east. But its not going to happen unless curruption and terrorism is rooted out. and besides the aid they are giving us is actually much less than what pakistan would have earned by just taxing nato trucks.
    yes curruption destroys a nation to a great extend. look at the statistics bud. the better the country the least the curruption. And he never really exactly said what you are saying. stop twisting words.
    root cause is indians refusal to hold refrendom which is creating hate here in pakistan against india. and US neocons(you gotta hear these politicians speak and youll know what iam talking about). They make profit from the wars and thatswhy want one pretext or the another to invade a country.
    I bet no one will agree with you on this one. not even the noora league. by his character and social work what your uttering is a bunch of empty words.
    Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    well, common man is “con man” …. so I doubt con man will make IK win … thats the irony !!!
    which common man are you referring to ? the one who is painting his peaches with artificial color ? or who is manufacturing fake medicines ? or the one who is pumping water in the meat to make it heavy ? wake up guys ….. its good to dream but there has to be a limit to optimism too … Recommend

  • salim

    vote for MQM!!!!!!save karachi…………Recommend

  • Naumann Malik

    @Ayesha Pervez:

    Thank you maamRecommend

  • Ali T.

    Had rallies translated into votes then Jamat-e-Islami and Fazl-ur-Rehman would have swept elections every time since their political rallies are the biggest. A lot of people maintain 4,5 profiles over social media. It is quite childish to translate them into electoral votes as well. Having said that I personally believe that PTI will win around 15-20 seats and ‘may’ become a pressure group like MQM which is not exactly a bad thing per se. Recommend

  • hassan

    @amin:
    I feel sorry to wake you up from the nice dream you’re seeing ; in case you’ve not touched the economics books of late, the facts are these:

    — the famed Pak economy happened because of foreign aid and foreign investments (mostly US). How do you Pak managed to get funds to build all those swanky roads and airports during the 60′s and 70′s ? This was the time the Army was involved in crippling wars but still the country managed to continue to build infrastructure. Where did the money come from ?

    This is what Lawrence Wright writes in New Yorker:
    ” It’s the end of the Second World War, and the United States is deciding what to do about two immense, poor, densely populated countries in Asia. America chooses one of the countries, becoming its benefactor. Over the decades, it pours billions of dollars into that country’s economy, training and equipping its military and its intelligence services. The stated goal is to create a reliable ally with strong institutions and a modern, vigorous democracy. The other country, meanwhile, is spurned because it forges alliances with America’s enemies.

    The country not chosen was India, which “tilted” toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Pakistan became America’s protégé, firmly supporting its fight to contain Communism. The benefits that Pakistan accrued from this relationship were quickly apparent: in the nineteen-sixties, its economy was an exemplar. India, by contrast, was a byword for basket case….”

    Please come out of your imaginary world; Pakistan’s economy was always driven by US funds and US policies; the moment they choose to remove the plug, the current will stop. If you think, all other countries (including China) are queuing up to invest in Pak, then, well, go ahead, please resume your dreams in your forty winks ! Recommend

  • Sane

    Hippocratic phenomenon of PTI is unveiling now. Recent example – their stand on NATO supplies — Backing out from Difa e Pakistan Council.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Ayesha Pervez
    Comment must be on the subject.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Abdur Rahman
    And yes, Imran khan has more knowledge of what the common man wants, more than any of us.
    If he knows more than you, then you are slumbering.

    He is just another 1st try to be failed forever.Recommend

  • amin

    @hassan:
    i would not agree that it was all because of US investments. Nevermind even if you think like that than US has no money right now. their own economy sucks. So in short Pakistan is in loss if it continues americas dirty work. Pakistan has too look for investments from countries like china. and oversees pakistaniRecommend

  • Raja Islam

    The only way that Imran Khan can come into power is through the back door. he is totally disconnected from the masses and knows nothing of what their needs are. There is a huge dichotomy here, a westernized playboy who is supported by the urban westernized youth aligns himself with the Jamaat i Islami and the Taliban and talks about upliftment of the masses.

    The facebook and twitter fans are not the ones who will go out and vote; it is the masses in the rural areas who will decide who comes into power.Recommend

  • Concerned

    @hassan:
    I highly doubt the PTI will become like the Muslim Brotherhood – perhaps it will be similar to the mildly Islamist AKP party of Turkey. Do appreciate that we, the wonderful internet warriors of Pakistan are a tiny, tiny minority in a country that is quite illiterate – in the game of votes, it is the masses that matter, not the tiny elite. Recommend