The Aam Admi Party: An Indian version of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf?

Published: December 24, 2013

Both PTI and AAP tried to unite the people of their respective nations. Rather than dividing people on the basis of ethnicity, religion and feudalism just to get some votes, both parties struggled with the larger agenda of uniting the nation. PHOTO: REUTERS

Politics between India and Pakistan have essentially been dominated by upper-class families, feudal lords and tribes. These politicians have a history of dividing the public on the basis of religion, ethnicity and class. Since the creation of both countries, we have witnessed the politics of hatred against people of other ideologies, religions and ethnicities.

It is quite apparent that both countries are not running on the principles set by their founders, Quaid-e-Azam and Mahatma Gandhi. Both these great leaders dreamt of a state in which all citizens would be treated equally without any discrimination on the basis of colour, caste, class and religion.

Even after 65 years neither India nor Pakistan are anywhere near what Gandhi and Jinnah had planned for us. Corruption, terrorism, poverty, unemployment and power shortage are rampant in both countries today.

The public in both countries has lost all hope from their respective political elite and it is a common perception that politicians come into power only to fill their own pockets, misuse their positions and spread venom against other parties, and groups.

Political parties have become ‘family limited companies’ and there is no way for the common man to take part in the affairs of the state.

In this hour of extreme disappointment and disillusionment, two leaders decided to give an alternative to the people of their respective countries. Imran Khan founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to fight for change and justice, and Arvind Kejriwal launched the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to fight for the common man in India, driving out corruption being his main agenda.

Both these parties seem to have many similarities and the only difference I could see was the duration that both parties have been in politics. While the PTI has spent 17 years in politics in Pakistan, AAP has just been in existence for one year. However, the PTI came to the national forefront only two years ago with a large public rally held in Lahore on October 30, 2011.

Below are some of the similarities I noticed between the two parties operating in their respective countries:

1. Both PTI and AAP consider themselves to be an alternative to the corrupt political system.

2. The priority for both parties is ‘change’ and justice in the country. Moreover, both PTI and AAP are also leading movements against corruption and inequality.

3. Both parties have managed to challenge the status quo in their respective countries and have made their place in national politics against established politicians and political parties.

4. Both believe that the common man and youth should be empowered. This belief was reflected in the recent elections conducted in Pakistan and New Delhi where PTI gave 35% of its tickets to the youth and brought 80% new faces into the Pakistani political sphere.

On the other hand, AAP contested elections by giving all their tickets to common people using the symbol of a broom for their party.

5. The chairmen of both parties have a history of social work and are famous amongst the general public. Moreover, neither of them have a history of corruption.

6. The PTI and AAP modernised politics with rampant use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook for their campaign.

7. Both parties managed to attract the largest number of first-time voters who until now had considered politics to be a ‘dirty game’. The voter turnout in Pakistan on May 11, 2013 and in New Delhi last Sunday is a testament to this fact. It was an unprecedented 55% in Pakistan and 66% in Delhi.

8. Both AAP and PTI were extensively criticised by political pandits and the media. Labelled by critiques and haters as Thanga Party or ‘One-man Party’, both Imran Khan and Arvind Kejriwal proved Mandela’s quote true,

“It always seems impossible until it is done.”

9. Both parties strongly believed that they would sweep the elections but were unable to and hence, are now in the opposition.

10. Both PTI and AAP are satisfied with their performance in the elections. AAP was able to secure 28 out of 70 seats in the Delhi Legislative Assembly on their debut in Indian politics, while PTI appeared out of nowhere and were able to secure 36 National Assembly seats and formed the government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

11. One of the most positive developments by both parties is that they tried to unite the people of their respective nations. Rather than dividing people on the basis of ethnicity, religion and feudalism just to get some votes, both parties struggled with the larger agenda of uniting the nation. Throughout their campaigns, leaders of both parties urged their supporters to become ‘one’ and represent themselves as ‘Pakistanis’ or  ‘Indians’ rather than as Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Sunnis, Shias, Pathans, Balochis, Sindhis and Punjabis.

12. Both AAP and PTI managed to get volunteers who worked for the cause day-and-night without any greed for power. They were simply working for a positive change in the country.

13. People travelled from outside India and Pakistan to cast their vote, and this was in itself, a huge change.

14. For the first time in 65 years, the people of India and Pakistan realised that there is scope for ‘good politics’ and that everyone has the ability to play a role in order to improve the state of their country.

So, here is what I have to say to leaders of both these up-and-coming parties:

Dear Mr Khan and Mr Kejriwal,

It does not matter that PTI and AAP could not form the government, in Pakistan and India respectively, because this is the beginning and not the end. Your supporters need not be disappointed with this defeat.

The sympathies of every common man lie with you and you represent hope to millions of your supporters who hope to rid themselves of the prevailing corrupt system one day. You are the only platform they have.

Remember that it is the common man who made you what you are today. If you act in the same way as any other typical politician then it is my firm belief that this same common man will take you down. So, don’t ever underestimate the power of a common man.

Most importantly, now that you have made an impact on the overall politics of Pakistan and India, you should strive to fulfil all the promises you made before the elections. You have to prove that you are the best because mere rhetoric will not let you reach the top.

Good luck to you both, we trust you and we believe in you!

Do you think India's Aam Admi Party is similar to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf?

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Aimal Khan

Aimal Khan

A student of Law at BPP Manchester. An aspiring Barrister & Politician. Tweets at @Aimalkhankakar (

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

  • grandmasti

    @author:So now India should learn democracy from pakistan when democracy in pakistan is on oxygen..great..hahaRecommend

  • Tanzeel Ahmad

    MQM is Aaam Aadmi’s party. PTI contains fuedals like Shah Mehmood, Jehangir Tareen etc. Imran Khan himself is surrounded by bodyguards and using SUVs. How could you compare PTI with AAP ?Recommend

  • grandmasti

    .yeh aap kuchh nahi hai..Modi is coming to power..Only BJP should prevail..Arvind kejrival is doing great disservice to nation by coming in the way of BJP..Its about time people of India should understand its hypocrisy..As for comparison b/w AAP and PTI..someone said India is a country while pakistan is a circus(Hassan nisar)..need I say more.Recommend

  • Safwan

    I suggest to the author to do some basic homework before writing an article. “It does not matter that PTI and AAP could not form the government” Guess what AAP is forming a government, and it’s like a 2-3 days old news.Recommend

  • water bottle

    well, nobody in India considers AAP with PTI. In fact most people consider Imran Khan to be a charismatic dream seller who has nothing concrete to offer.

    Nobody in India is making this comparison.

    Sir, isn’t it the responsibility of the people of the country from which an entity is being compared to a similar entity in the other country?

    Nobody in India is talking about PTI.

    Only talks about PTI are …

    it’s false promises that are impossible to achieve

    it’s leaders who are just good looking/clean shaven JI

    Only Pakistanis are comparing the Indian party to the Pakistani party.

    frankly sir, in India, only bad things are compared to Pakistan…like extremism, lying etcRecommend

  • Roy

    Dear Author, your analogy is flawed. There is no comparision of Imran Khan with Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal is a leader from the masses of India, Imran khan is from the classes of Pakistan. Imran Khan is a sportsman, Arvind Kejriwal is an engineer from the esteemed IIT. Imran Khan behaves like a imperious king, while Arvind Kejriwal is a true democrat. Imran Khan has a better comparision with the late V P Singh of India.Recommend

  • Suraj Upadhyay

    Sir u have written a nice article…and have given quite similar points about the two parties….but there is a lot of differnce between them….imran khan has soft corner for taliban…and his ideology is not secular…he doesn’t protest on bombing done by taliban….but demands a ban on drone strike….how ever aam aadmi party doesnt get in to that…they only talk about corruption…and fight over the issues of common man…Recommend

  • xeelee

    I’m sorry to say, except of anti-corruption image, both these parties have nothing else in common!Kejriwal unlike Khan wasn’t as much known as you might think, and Imran though with different packaging, is/was still among your elites.Recommend

  • Teavondor

    ” Politics between India and Pakistan have essentially been dominated by upper-class families, feudal lords and tribes. ”

    Not BJP, BJP is the only party which is not owned by any individual or any family in India. The Prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of BJP is Chaiwallah. 2014 is going to change politics of India.Recommend

  • Rahamathullah

    Aam admi party will not support terrorists and their murders.Recommend

  • Fari Waheed

    supporting Negotiating with terrorists is not supporting THEM. I hope u understand.Recommend

  • Reem

    Nice article.. But PTI didn’t form government with any party who has been part of the government. PTI is trying their best to deliver in KPK.. Lets see how will AAP perform.Recommend

  • Anshuman Tripathy

    Comparing the Aadm Admi Party to PTI makes absolutely no sense.You might as well be comparing chalk to cheese. I can write a lengthy essay on the differences between the agendas, leadership and priorities of AAP and PTI but my job was made a lot easier by an excellent opinion piece written by kunal Majumdar on ET just a few days ago. He does a brilliant job of analysing the major differences between the two and absolutely nails it when he says “In many ways, the AAP is an inward-looking party. It is criticising the problems that exist within the Indian society and polity whereas Imran Khan’s PTI seems to be an extension of Pakistan’s existing political culture of blaming others for the ills of the country and continuing with appeasement of the extreme right.”

    here’s the link of that opinion piece:

    a brief biography of Arvind kejiriwal:

    AAP’s manifesto:

    These differences are well and good but for me it all boils down to the fact that Arvindh Kejiriwal would never cry “Yahoodi Saazish” if a video surfaces showing an ahmedi woman showing her explicit support for AAP. He wouldn’t have reiterated about Ahmedis being non muslims just to appease popular opinion. Kejiriwal is a man who stands by opinions till the last minute even if it results in him losing the elections. That according to me is the Biggest Difference between the Two.Recommend

  • mohd tarekh

    Why are u hell bent on proving that you have studied from well known madarssah of Islamic republic of pakistan..Had u not been a pakistani muslim or arab thinking man…u might have got a real difference b/w these two parties…Recommend

  • gandmasti

    lol..what a joke………Recommend

  • Aamna Hassan Fasihi

    That is because your country is not infected by terrorism the way Pakistan has. In Pakistan there are 4 different types of terrorism. 1) In Karachi, because of ethnic clashes and gang wars. 2) In Balochistan, that is deemed to be inculcated by RAW, utilizing Balochis dissent for Pakistan and Punjab in particular 3) Sectarian violence and 4) Taliban’s terrorism which is a reaction of drones and Army strikes in FATA. Out of these, Imran Khan only suggests ‘negotiations’ with TTP to win back the civilians of FATA’s trust. Truly, Imran Khan’s ideology is not secular. He is just a moderate man. He is adamant to give women the necessary liberty but does not deem everything that West says or does, to be Liberal.Recommend

  • Aamna Hassan Fasihi

    Guess what, PTI also enjoys government in KPK. And AAP is also forming a state government (Delhi’s) with Congress.Recommend

  • Aamna Hassan Fasihi

    Like Narinder Modi’s supporters, even here in Pakistan Nawaz Sharif’s supporters said that PTI is doing a great disservice by coming in PMLN’s way and would affect PPP positively. Haha!Recommend

  • mimi

    No Comparison . Imran took 17 years , Arvind took 1 year .That means People of India are more mature than People of Pakistan which includes both of these two also . Arvind is an engineer by qualification , taxation expert by profession and as a social worker he and his team gave RTI act . What did Imran give to his country except some good wickets in cricket ?He can’t even judge whether Taliban is good or bad . Where is comparison ?Recommend

  • Sami

    I live in Punjab and let me tell you that in Punjab Pakistan we say that PTI just represent Upper Middle class rather than any lower class.
    Also the top brass of PTI is the one from whom Lower middle class actually to have to get rid of actually to progress. Just for the info Imran Khan lives in a Multi Billion Bani Gala Mansion spanning 10s of Canals of land. The second inline is Shaukat Tareen who is a Billionaire with Private Jet and who is known to control prices of many commodities in Pakistan. The third one is Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Javed Hashmi and both of them are Gaddi Nasheens and exploiting Illiterate people of their believes and are representative of Archaic Feudal-Hindu Worship culture of Personalities and personal deities.Recommend

  • Ankit Singh

    but kashmir separatist support AAP , AAP support naxalism……..Recommend

  • Ankit Singh

    now pakistan started to support AAP first they support CONGRESS than they know congresss will lose heavily so to stop BJP they started to write in support of AAP i havent seen any blog supporting BJP after winning 3 state…….& transform my state from bimaru state ( m p ) to developing state as far as AAP they havent done anything yet , it is very easy to give commentary from outside but difficult to bat in green top…Recommend

  • CA Chokra

    The author has overlooked some very key differences between AAP and PTI.

    1. High degree of financial transparency:
    All of the AAP money was collected via donations and even the smallest amounts (even as small as Rs10) was accounted for and listed on AAP’s website. I do not think PTI can boast of such high financial integrity.

    2. Shoe-string finance:
    AAP fought the elections on a very small monetary fund (approx INR 20Crore in total for 70 seats). And they were competing against national parties with 2000Crore(Congress) and 1300Crore(BJP). Note that this is just the “white”/declared amount by Congress&BJP. The world knows that they have much more black money in their treasure.

    PTI, on the other hand, has been conducting large rallies like other parties in Pakistan, so they had a lot of money backing them.

    3. High standards in Candidate selection:
    AAP had declared (and followed through) on the promise that they will not field any candidate who has a “serious” criminal offence charge registered against him/her. They withdrew a candidate just a week before the elections, when they learnt that a candidate of theirs had a anti-dowry case registered against him.Recommend

  • Amrita Yasin

    Why on earth is ET splattered with India vs Pakistan themed blogs….there are 200 other countries, why can’t we find someone else to compare ourselves with????Recommend

  • abhi345

    Don’t even think about any comparison with imran khan.If there was imran khan wouldn’t support taliban and would hand over hafeez saeed to india.Joke of an article.Recommend

  • Anooop

    Most of the top leadership of AAP sat on Hunger Strikes, just like Gandhi and his Congress had done, to pursue their principles. When they were cheated by the Govt of India on the Lokpal bill, they resorted to mainstream politics. Like Gandhi, he too was beaten up, taunted by the Government of the time.×960.jpg

    Imran Khan on the other hand, like Jinnah and his ML, took in the local politicians to expand his base. He supported the Taliban, just like Jinnah supported the Feudals. Just like Jinnah, IK talks about Secularism, but has never uttered a word about Pakistan purging the tag “Islamic Republic”. IK can grandstand to have principles, take contrasting positions and still be popular, just like Jinnah. Just like Jinnah his promise to rid Pakistan of corruption is similar to the Aug 11 speech. All promises, with no moral or intellectual basis.

    In a way, both the parties represent a little, tiny bit their founders.Recommend

  • Rizwan Khan

    The PTI, meanwhile, saw turncourts from other political parties hovering around Imran Khan before the elections. He happily inducted them, gave them electoral tickets and forgot his original supporters who had stood by him for years.

    Now, look at Kejriwal; he has power at the cusp of his hand but he refuses to ally with either the BJP or the Congress. All he needs to become the next chief minister of Delhi are eight more MLAs. The Congress has them and is willing to spare but he says ‘no’. He refuses to ally with someone he stood against even though it would give him easy power. On the other hand, Imran Khan didn’t think twice before allying with the Jamaat-e-Islami in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where he considered handing over the all-important education ministry to the right-wing party.Recommend

  • Rizwan Khan

    The biggest difference between the PTI and the AAP lies in their ideology. While the AAP is not driven by a particular ideology — Left or Right — it continues to be dominated by left-liberals

    In many ways, the AAP is an inward-looking party. It is criticising the problems that exist within the Indian society and polity whereas Imran Khan’s PTI seems to be an extension of Pakistan’s existing political culture of blaming others for the ills of the country and continuing with appeasement of the extreme right.Recommend

  • Rizwan Khan

    |There is No comparison between these 2 parties and their founders . One is highly educated and knows A to Z of constitution and another only brings shame by statements and press conferences based on dreams . One came in power with the backing of establishment as general pasha was mentor of PTI and supported it by every means while AAP have mass popularity of educated ones .Recommend

  • Musa

    but Imran Khan is a self made man….he came up from middle class…Recommend

  • Proletarian

    Parties for the youth are a bad idea. Since the youth are the stupidest demographic. This needs to be said. Not for nothing are most suicide bombers from the youth.

    Both AAP seem similar in that they court the youth and are ideologically ambiguous. Neither openly left-wing nor right-wing. They are neither openly centrist like Putin’s United Russia Party. This means they will one day fracture when the honeymoon period is over

    As for PTI, its honeymoon period IS over. The people that supported it, hoping that it would be a positive alternative have turned their backs on it because it has been a disappointment. They have now lost the Shia, Sindhi, Muhajir, Secularist and non-muslim votes, these usually vote left-wing. Their only remaining support is from the Jamaatis and Sipah Sahaba types which is why they are increasingly pandering to the terrorist’s viewpoint.Recommend

  • grandmasti

    cant you choose a better name for yourself.Recommend

  • Anshuman Tripathy

    Yup just another middle class guy who studied in oxford.Recommend

  • abhi345

    Kejriwal is an IIT graduate.Pakistanis don’t even now that only 10,000 students are accepted in IIT institution from 5-10 lakh students .He is an income tax officer who wrote civil service exams which are also tough. Kejriwal is the sky and mr imran khan is on earth in terms of education. Don’t even think of comparing kejriwal and imran.

    AAP is a crowd funded party unlike PTI. Its funds are trasparent.Recommend

  • Babbarsher Khan


  • Nero

    Dear Author: For better comparative analysis – your main question – it would be necessary to point out the differences too. 1. Ideologically AAP is a center-left party, while PTI is centre-right. 2. AAP leadership team is representative sample of middle/lower middle class India, whereas PTI leadership team is more representative Pakistani upper class.Recommend

  • Alann

    Because the unofficial name of Islamic Republic of Pakistan is “Not India”. In here is a generation of youth that believes India funds the Islamist Talibanis as well as the suppressed Balochis have direct backing of RAW (but they nor their leaders ever give any proof!). Here’s a generation that is disappointed with the corrupt leadership, yet they willingly believe everything these leaders say for everything going wrong in the country as soon as the magical words “hidden hands” are uttered. Here’s a country full of ‘saner’ youth that demand a ban on everything Indian, and then go watch Indian movies in their cinemas and/ or on their TVs. Its a country where the youth criticise every other nation but themselves and then go stand in line for Visa to those same nations. They never argue with facts, but try to debate with (almost) every single Pakistani internet warrior and he will know these “facts” about India : toilets, poverty, Gujarat massacre. When the entire generations of this country are raised to be “Not Indians”, is it hardly a surprise when there are dozens of articles about/somehow related to India.Recommend

  • Parvez

    ……..and their hair styles are completely different.Recommend

  • Pradhan

    Well BJP is RSS stooge. thier main supporters are people who support bajrang dal who are basically want to make India a country of Hindu fanatics. Atleast Naxal were fighting for Govt negligence.Recommend

  • saad riaz

    and indians will never stop cryingRecommend

  • Pradhan

    you stole my line :P. Also Imran Khan name was linked with Benazir Bhutto while they were both in Oxford so, He was everything but not a middle class.Recommend

  • Pradhan

    – Ma’am AAP didn’t fight in national election. They fought in Delhi only and they are forming Govt now. meaning what they fought for they won.

    – AAP is just one year old political party and I think PTI is more than 15 year old party.

    – Imran Khan is a famous name in the WORLD. He is even popular in India but nobody knew who Kejriwal was three years back.

    – Non of the political parties allow public to know how and from where they are getting funding. AAP is the only party who put all the details on a website. Also they asked people to STOP donations once they have achieved their target.Recommend

  • Pradhan

    :) you are absolutely right there. But AAP is no PTI so, things will be different here.Recommend

  • Pradhan

    You can’t understand why nobody is talking about BJP if you don’t yet know what AAP has already done. But before you understand AAP first ask BJP where did they got 1000 cr in party fund and just in case any BJP politician even talk to you ever face to face then try and find out how much money he gave for the ticket and just look in your mohallah or on the day of voting just see those BJP guys how they spend money on people you will know WHO AAP IS AND WHY THEY ARE POLITICIANS.Recommend

  • Hailstorm

    I think a more apt comparision would be between the two young comedians of our countries – Bilawal Bhutto and Rahul Gandhi.Recommend

  • NITS

    Zabardasti ke ‘articles’…. seems tribune is in despair as u cant compare apples with oranges!Recommend

  • Himavan

    Kejriwal, Indian Administrative Service, Indian Revenue Service, Emerging Leadership of the year award, A- religious politics and somehow this guy draws up a comparison with a Mullah.Pakistan is not comparable to India lol.Recommend

  • Tanzeel Ahmad
  • nitish

    If BJP wants Hindu rashtra then so be it..If a country cannot recognize power of its majority,it is destined to be doomed..For yrs congress played minority card and made pots of black money.Arvind kejriwal is another congress in making.Anyway BJP is here to stay and they r coming to power.Devyani fiasco is last nail in the coffin of congress..Recommend

  • sandeep

    stupid quams , fooled by leaders …. don’t fall into this majority -minority divide . Aam AAdmi Party (AAP) founder Arvind Kejariwal is not as good looking , as known around in world , comes from middle class family …. but he has one thing common with Imran ..Both have clear intentions to see things changing for good in their respective countries …. that’s good ….in fact for themselves and for each other (i.e. countries) ….shun traditional politics and join the ” CHANGE ” parties for a change !!!Recommend

  • HuZzi Mirza

    Aam admi party is realy make changes in india. we are the aam admi. so who we are if add the word party “Aam Admi Party”.

    World News USRecommend

  • natrajv

    Aam Aadmi whether he is from Pak or India, longing to work, get home, spend time with friends and love his family… that’s the dream for everyone. For that every Govt institution police, law, banks, RTO, Govt departments has to perform it’s duty, Corruption make every supporting institution to behave erratically like cancer infected cells. Just attack the corruption, and instill ethics in every child’s mind. One day the average income of people representatives/law makers is equal to Aam Aadmi, that’s the day AAP movement has achieved it’s goal. I hope, atleast my child can see that, if i am not.Recommend

  • Sam

    India and Pakistan cannot prosper with its outdated political system. Pakistan has more challenge than India and one is terrorism which government support there for example kashmir movement which is result of this. Now say an example of Singapore. Both Imran and Kejriwal says we will do this and that, one man has done that in his country and he is Lee Keun yew of SingaporeRecommend

  • Sameet

    no wonder religion is opium of mass !Recommend

  • param

    Dear writer. What makes different AAP and TEI is the electorate. So comparison lies in electorate not in parties. And u know the difference very well.Recommend

  • Xara

    Haven’t you heard about shaukat khanum, Namal college.Recommend

  • Xara

    I too live in punjab Pakistan and what i have heard is that PTI has support of well educated, working class while PML(n) has support of business man and uneducated stubborn people and most importantly nihari eaters.Recommend

  • Abrar Ahmed Naqash

    So what kejriwal is iitan….hahaha…. uh indians have very very narrow mind ..uh are being completly hipnotised by indian media…..hahaha…..Recommend

  • Abrar Ahmed Naqash

    Do uh ppl know what is oxford….hahaha shame on uhRecommend

  • abhi345

    Keep living in a bubble if u think RAW agents are responsible for balochistanRecommend

  • Sami

    Your comment is another testament of berating and then debasing the supporters of other parties other than PTI ( The only party for Angels ) . Also Nihari along with Lassi is not as bad as you think.Recommend

  • arunnayagarh

    Hello the blog is really informative!!

    Arun Kumar Sahoo working for equal rights of all people in our society and Being influenced by Biju Pattnaik he joined as an Odisha BJD leader and work into the main stream of politics.

    BJD LeaderRecommend