For PTI trolls: A lesson on bashing

Published: March 25, 2012
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Frankly, I am quite tired of listening to the same arguments over and over again. So to escape the same buzzwords, I decided to help them out by writing a playbook for them. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

If you are using any social media platform, you have probably come across the PTI troll.

In most cases they make emotional arguments, repeating the same things posted on the PTI website or (worse still) basing arguments on the statements of their great leader.

Frankly, I am quite tired of listening to the same arguments over and over again. So to escape the same buzzwords, I decided to help them out by writing a playbook for those senselessly bashing the Sharifs.

I am laying out three good arguments that can be made by anyone who hates PML-N and not look like a fool while doing so.

1.    The laptop issue

When PTI supporters argue this, they start by quoting random figures they pull out of thin air. When they are asked to substantiate them, they start finding sources and often end up finding them from Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s own website. Attacking someone (like the PML-N) who has the facts and figures on their website makes one look like a fool.

The next mistake is arguing about the state of education in Punjab in general. This is a bad path to go down and a pointless one too because it’s not related to laptops and every major international institution heaps praises on Punjab.

The correct way of arguing this is to raise the following questions:

What should be done with the laptop?

Is it for typing only?

What about internet access? Will the government provide Wi-Fi to the whole of Punjab?

If the government is not providing a free internet connection, what is the purpose of the laptop scheme? Also, how are people going to print stuff if the need arises? Does the Punjab government plan to give printers soon? In essence, giving someone a laptop is like giving them a car engine; it’s crucial but it requires other things to allow proper usage.

2.      The health care issue

Most PTI supporters do not know how to go about arguing this.

They normally watch a few clips of Dunya or Express TV and start acting as if they know everything. In addition to this, they would also simply repeat their great leader’s words and refer to Shahbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif as the “dengue brothers”.

Calling them names is childish and immature. This is something the Khan supporters and their leader do not understand. What is worse is that using names like this in arguments makes the whole argument weak.

The correct way of doing this is by raising questions like:

Why does all health care attention only focus on central Punjab?

How come the state of the health care institutions in northern Punjab is so bad? What about southern Punjab?

Why does the government keep giving in to doctors and their demands when everyone knows that they are not right? If there is good governance, why isn’t there a proper website or a public platform that lists all the medicines that are available through the government? Why is the Punjab government randomly approving more medical colleges in the province when they could easily be expanding the existing ones? Why is money being wasted on projects that cannot be replicated across Punjab?

Each one of these questions is a strong one, it requires a detailed answer and in most cases that answer does not exist. If these were being used in an argument, it would genuinely make sense and create impact.

3.       The infrastructure projects

Again in this regard, PTI supporters really do not know what to say. They just attack the costs of the projects – which is good to make a splash – but is quite pointless.

Attacks on cost of a certain project or the idea that it is for personal benefit are unintelligent. So instead of doing that, here are questions that would genuinely have an impact and create a solid argument:

How come most of the budget for Punjab’s development gets spent in Lahore?

Is it the government of Punjab or government of central Punjab? Because the way things are it looks like the latter.

Why do all infrastructure projects in the province keep getting tendered to the NLC without any open tenders?

Why is that a year before the elections, the PML N government has dug up nearly all major cities of Punjab? Were they sleeping for four years that they did not realise that development projects had to be done?

Why did the Punjab government cancel the Lahore Mass Transit System that was being initiated by the previous government, even though it was a great system and could have changed Lahore forever?

Why is the new bus service that is supposed to run on Ferozepur road, Lahore, being based out of Thokar Niaz Beg? How come development in Punjab happens in concentric circles ie anything closer to Lahore gets more developed while the further away the area is, the more ignored it is?

The three points that I have elaborated on could make for a healthy discussion.

The point is, if you are going to attack someone and bash them, at least does it properly. Do not come up with uninformed arguments as they hurt you more than help you.

Read more from Adnan here.  Follow him on twitter @adnanrasool.

 

Adnan.rasool

Adnan Khalid Rasool

Currently the Deputy Executive Director Center for Enterprise, Trade and Development, Adnan is also a political analyst working mainly on electoral politics and political campaign management. He tweets at @adnanrasool

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