What happens when one brother belongs to JI and the other, PTI

Published: May 2, 2013

Torn between the low-profile JI marketing and unabashed PTI campaigning, us family members have turned out to be quite the politicians ourselves.

My youngest brother, Fahad* arrived from the US, having pulled his originally planned trip forward, to attend PTI’s May 1 Karachi rally. Much to the amusement of some other members of my family, his political fervour this time was unrewarded as he arrived a bit too early for the rally which had already been cancelled.

Under most circumstances, we would be excited about Fahad visiting us but this time, the news of his arrival was met with hushed anxiety. It brought back memories of his last visit when he and his wife went whizzing to the PTI  headquarters with their five-month-old daughter at any chance they got.

This was pitting them up directly against my other brother, Abbas* who was rushing to his party’s area “markaz” every evening, making us family member’s direct recipients of intense vote canvassing and significant awkward moments.

The other brother, you see, is a member of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). The party mostly brings images of nutty fundamentalists in the heads of most of us, thanks to biased writing by contemporary opinion-makers. Articles by the latter are shared quite often on our family-group email address created for the larger family to “discuss” politics. I believe in the “conspiracy theory” that they are emailed to get Abbas to retaliate and show his political leanings which he pretends to keep low profiled.

Torn between the low-profile JI marketing and unabashed PTI campaigning, us family members have turned out to be quite the spectacle.

There are schemes being created on what to tell when asked “who did you vote for?” on May 11, 2013 – no joke. Ranging from replies like “it’s between me and my God” to “I voted for Pakistan,” we are even contemplating on setting ground rules dictating “no forcing answers against our will.”

Even my seven-year-old niece who until a day before Fahad’s arrival claimed PTI to be a “dance party” finds herself treading the fine line with her confession,

 “I do know Imran Khan neverrrr lies!!”

When each news of bomb blast fatalities and targeted killings by terrorists (the all-encompassing word for political party militants, intelligence, hooligans, mobs and the real terrorists) sinks our emotions and we share the fear ‘they-want-to-delay-elections’, our energies are renewed with each brother bringing stories from his area headquarters or party markaz, rallies and jalsas.

Abbas shares social media strategies he recommended to JI, while Fahad shows PTI videos being shared on Facebook. While one is sharing instructions on finding out the polling stations we are registered with online, the other is bringing home printed cards for door to door canvassing. Abbas tells us JI is educating more than 500,000 Pakistani children while Fahad believes PTI will bring change to Pakistan.

It’s truly a mad house!

Yet, it’s a thriving political environment which fills me with optimism. I am proud of my 10-year-old nephew helping with power point presentations for PTI, while his little sister looks at an unknown flag and asks if it is an ANP flag. She picks up on the stories of candidates and tells me stories of the corruption in other parties.

The other day a helping woman in our house on listening to these conversations asked me how she could find out about her voting registration while our driver updates on what he is hearing people in his neighbourhood say about whom they will vote for.

There is a reflection in all of this of a nation thriving on politics and faith. Despite the saddening news on television daily, the reverberating enthusiasm – even amongst children – shows that there is hope in the future.

There is unsaid faith in the power of vote changing the future. With a party participating in elections for the first time since 1971 and the other demonstrating unprecedented high levels of support, there is reason for a nation to be proud of this faith. It’s the same faith which is leading many to fly into the country specifically to cast their vote. It should be the faith with which we leave our homes with on the 11th to cast our votes and demonstrate our power to change Pakistan.

May our country prosper; may we prosper.

*Names have been changed in order to protect identity.

Follow Fiza on Twitter @FizaUK


Fiza Fatima Asar

She has a Masters in Global Media from School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and a social media marketeer working for a non profit organisation in London. She is currently in Pakistan. She tweets @FizaUK

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

  • R.k!

    Hahahahahha! goood oneRecommend

  • Rehan Ali

    Nice write-up. I wonder why JI activist pretend not be associated with thier party. Apologetic culture enforced by the biased contemporary media, I suppose. Recommend

  • Huma

    Lovely article! full of hope and optimism! Inshallah!!Recommend

  • Imran

    In a way, both brothers belong to same partyRecommend

  • IHM

    It is such a shame that JI and PTI are not contesting elections together. What they are doing is helping PMLN and PPP become stronger. All anti-status quo forces should’ve fought these elections on the same platform. Also PTI would’ve gotten more benefit as compared to JI by the alliance as JI has votes in almost all halqas of Pakistan and also has strongholds in parts of Lahore, Karachi and KPK. With this seat adjustment/alliance PTI would’ve won the seats which it would now lose marginally due to the division of votes between the right wing…

    I pray that Allah gives success to all Pro-Pakistan Candidates!Recommend

  • Shah

    If this is the case, then you just vote for MQM :DRecommend

  • Usama

    haha same here :D our house divided between PTI and JIRecommend

  • ss

    i”ve convinced all my family members to vote for PTI, only my younger brother whose vote is not registered is supporting PPPP, even my father a staunch PPPP supporter is not voting for them. Recommend

  • Faisal

    For the time being it appears that Rightists are on top and the same trend shall prevail in May 11th Elections as well whether in the form of PMLN or PTI or JI. Recommend

  • Naveed

    We have given chance to every other party than PTI…. IK is an honest person and he is not in politics to make money even his enemies will say that…. then why not give him a chance.. :)Recommend

  • Arcane

    They both back Talibans right?Recommend

  • Parvez

    The prognosis is that no party will get a clear majority and then the serious business of ‘ politics Pakistani style ‘ will come into play ………… and the people will only be spectators. But then a prognosis is guess work at best and if our cricket can be as unpredictable as it is, then why not our politics.

  • afza siddiqui

    i can sooo relate to this.my family is all JI’s staunch supporters and my mother keeps frowning when ever i keep reminding her “ellection fund JI ka but vote PTI ka”.
    the other day she sheepishly told me that when she went to submit her ellection fund contribution to one of her JI’s activist friend, the moment her friend left the drawing room her daughter and daughter-in-law started the same PTI campaign that i keep doing at home ;)Recommend

  • Abbas

    Really a JI supporter , you people must be a rare minority…only places where JI holds its sway in punjab is punjab university and few colleges near its head quarters…and even people living near there so called head quaters don’t vote for them and most probably to ppp,,,,and you had to bring JI in your article to give it a unique touch.. Recommend

  • umer


  • Ali S


    Here, take your “Pakistani liberal” badge and kindly crawl back under the rock that you came from.Recommend

  • Usman

    @Ali S:
    Well, the truth hurts, doesnt it?Recommend



  • Naresh

    What happens when one brother belongs to JI and the other, PTI
    Bases Covered!

  • Umer

    Your brother is right in planning to vote for JI,
    JI is the only political party in Pakistan with a track record of delivering results and whose leadership is spotless despite 64 years of presence in Pakistani political scene.

    PTI is still untested but I hope it delivers wherever it wins from.

    I don’t think i need to name the champions of corruption.


  • There was no doubt that 3-4 seats, they both could have claims provided seat adjustment had been done. Now mangoes for both :(Recommend

  • Arcane

    @Ali S:
    Liberal or conservative that’s beside the point, answer the question does PTI support Talibans or not? Recommend

  • Imad Uddin


  • Another Pakistani

    “The other brother, you see, is a member of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). The party mostly brings images of nutty fundamentalists in the heads of most of us, thanks to biased writing by contemporary opinion-makers.” sorry…Recommend

  • amir jafri

    64 years of ruining the country by the corrupt and immoral…all were westoxicated secularoon, liberaloon,.Recommend

  • TTV

    @Ali S:
    In his defence, both parties seem to be perfectly fine with the current blasphemy law. “Naya Pakistan” sounds like a wonderful place!Recommend

  • http://HighHell Luciferous

    And third is in PPP, fourth is in PML N, a chacha is general, a mamoon is federal secretary, a cousin heads a bank and the family is in Switzerland.
    It’s called win win situation!Recommend

  • Abbas

    Really a clean track record…you must be one of the person who would prophesize every single of its member going to heaven…really i am sick of this staunch, loud “minority”.. Recommend

  • 9200

    It does not support the taliban’s, all it says is that one needs to sit and negotiate with them which I strongly believe needs to be done. And no Im not an Islamic extremist but the number of blasts killing hundreds and thousands of ppl every month forces me to agree with IK because the only way these blasts can be stopped is by negotiating with all these lashkars.Recommend

  • Namaloom Afraad

    Reminds me of my home. My dad is a JI rukun and my brother was an IJT activist. Me and my younger brother are PTI workers. Our house these days have posters and pamphlets of both JI and PTI lying everywhere. I wear an IK shirt and my dad has a JI sticker on his car. Recommend

  • http://www.tanzeel,wordpress.com Tanzeel

    Nothing, both will vote for TalibanRecommend