Four things Imran Khan did right at the Larkana rally

Published: November 24, 2014
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Imran Khan's rhetoric of change and his withering invective against the ruling PPP has struck the right chord with the Sindhi populace. PHOTO: NNI/FILE

With success of the massive public gathering in Larkana, Imran Khan has made a knock-on effect on Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Whilst everyone in the political arena was waiting for the outcome of this rally, many said it would be difficult for the cricketer-turned-politician to gain a foothold in Sindh – often considered the political backyard of the PPP; others were counting on his failure, hoping that this jalsa would be the cause of Imran’s fall.

However, on the contrary, Imran made a very strong statement; a show of strength, attracting a healthy crowd at the Larkana rally and, therefore, creating a serious stir in PPP’s heartland. One really has to admire his homework on the rally and how he related to the crowd, concerning issues that plague the masses of Sindh. The rally truly marked his first foray into Sindhi politics, where he talked about liberating Sindh with rudimentary reforms and actions, including a tirade on the ruling PPP.

But what were those prescient points that made his gathering a success?

Here is an assessment:

1. He struck the right chord with the Sindhi masses

Imran’s rhetoric of change and his withering invective against the ruling PPP has struck the right chord with the Sindhi populace. He emphasised on PPP’s failures to make reforms in the province.

In censuring the ruling PPP, he criticised saying that despite being in consecutive governing tenures in Sindh for the past 40 years the province lagged behind in almost every walk of life. Amid corruption, ill-governance and lack of public healthcare, the local populace is frustrated with the countless false promises made to them on Bhutto’s name.

Imran indicated that the PPP is no longer Bhutto’s party and is in fact a Zardari-clique, one that has no care for the sufferings of the masses and is only interested in looting and plundering. He also took the opportunity to unleash his tirade against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his plutocratic rule and nepotism.

2. The division of Sindh

Imran wouldn’t have done so well, had he not addressed the issue of the division of Sindh during his rally – an issue very sensitive to many Sindhis. To his credit, he was very tactful, as he realised that the establishment of new provinces is not a public demand, especially in rural Sindh. The emotional attachment of the local population signifies that they consider Sindh their motherland and would never willingly allow its division.

Imran’s promise that he would never allow the division has raised his public perception and this stance could prove to be vital for his progress in the province.

3. The Kalabagh Dam

This has always been considered a contentious subject within Sindh. It is one which has only been met with contempt and fear, the fear that Sindh will be robbed of its water by other provinces, especially Punjab, and the drought, which has already gripped the province, could make things even worse.

Here too, Imran made the right call. He stated that he would never allow the construction of Kalabagh Dam without Sindh’s consent. This statement holds much importance because even past leaders from the PPP have avoided commenting on this issue leaving the people with no one to rely on.

4. Bad governance and corruption

Another issue rightly pointed, in his invective against the PPP, was governance and corruption. Quoting on the state of Larkana’s roads as a reminder of Mohenjo-Daro, Imran pointed out the sorry state of such a historic city.

He further stated that bad governance and corruption have reached epidemic proportions with the ruling PPP. Despite having large reservoirs of minerals and natural gas, the province is poverty stricken and has one of highest ratios of economic inequality. He added that Sindhis were not getting proper health facilities and jobs were not given on merit but on favouritism, evident in transfers and postings.

Imran didn’t just paint the right picture of himself and his party, but also showed the people that he could relate himself to issues concerning Sindh in a way that the people themselves do – a more Bhutto-esque way than Bhutto’s own prodigal grandson ever could. He pointed out the problems faced by the local population, promised to fix them from the grass-root level and censured the ruling of PPP making his rally a real success in Larkana.

It remains to be seen whether he can make sweeping victories in Sindh during the coming elections. But one thing is for certain: Imran Khan is now a worthy opponent knocking at PPP’s door.

Maqsood Ahmed Soomro

Maqsood Ahmed Soomro

The writer is an English literature aficionado, who likes to write on politics. He tweets as @Maqsood_Soomro1 (twitter.com/@Maqsood_Soomro1)

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

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    I don’t like being negative and raining on other people parades but how do you think the “masses” of sindh are going to elect a PTI leader when 78% of them are like slaves to the waderas who are prop PPP and will most likely force them to vote for PPPRecommend

  • Tanzeel

    you mentioned ‘establishment of provinces is not a public demand in Sindh’ .. I am so not sure how you define the public demand? The 70% urban population of Pakistan in Karachi Hyderabad and Sukkur are a minority here? or of course they are not the sons of the soil – hindustani?Recommend

  • Asad Khan

    very apt piece.Recommend

  • akbar

    @Maximus, many waderas actually support Imran now. Rashdis of PML-F have joined PTI, the place where his rally was organised is itself a wadera farm of Unnar family. This is just a sample, many waderas actually want to leave PPP after their last exploitative rule with no concern for them. PTI never held a rally in Sindh prior to 2013 elections, so hype wasn’t created then. PPP will now remain a AJK party only i guess, with IK not attracting much following thereRecommend

  • Parvez

    I have to agree that Imran made an impact….but seeing the abject state of governance, the rampant corruption, the sheer poverty and misery that the people of Sindh are deliberately been kept in……it was an easy sell for him.
    Achieving this is one thing….winning an election in Sindh is another. Simply because the people do not in fact vote….its the ‘ mukhi ‘ ( the controller ) who controls the vote and the PPP-Z ‘s philosophy appeals to the mukhi.Recommend

  • Grace

    Is it better to be a slave to a VIP rich boy cricketer who thinks he is above the law and can do anything he wants. Look at how he lords over the PTI party and what happens to anyone who disagrees with him. He only thinks of his ego and himself but has no care for anyone else.Recommend

  • Queen

    If only PPP can read the writing on the wall…….Recommend

  • Muhammad Waqar

    You are right this is the real problem you are not masses you are just the people who by accident become Pakistanis…..Recommend

  • sameer mahmood ansari

    Jokhio, Arian and Mallah are the only sons of soil I presume rest are all Mohajirs otherwise Please let us all know who are the sons of soil?????Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Did you even bother to read my comment? Or does it bother you so much that you troll me without even reading my comment? Where have I said anything about IK and PTI being non VIP or “non rich”? I was commenting on waderas of sindh and out of nowhere your come to troll me.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    noy “many” wadera. “some” waderas and I dont think any of them were PPP waders which PTI took away. Perhaps I am not that well informed, after all I was not present in his rally in person. so if you have information that landlords who were ppp supporters have now joined PTI please share it with me hereRecommend

  • Aamna Hassan Fasihi

    I am a Karachiite so don’t really know the ground realities in Sindh. I thought Imran Khan’s speech wasn’t very touchy and lacked connection with the native Sindhis. I’m glad I was wrong. About the division of Sindh part, it’s quite intelligent of Imran Khan or whoever helps formulating his speech that in Karachi he also talked about abolishing ethnic and lingual divides (something which is much needed in this city) but he also advocated division of power through more administrative units (currently there are 7 in Sindh). In Sindh, he did talk about eradicating lingual and ethnic differences but refrained from the “administrative units” part. Moreover, he always says “Kalabagh dam is need of the hour BUT we cannot make it without every province’s consent. Hence, it’s better to make small hydel projects in KPK for cheap electricity”. In Sindh, he deliberately left out the “Kalabagh dam is need of the hour but..” part and carried on with the latter bit. Critics called it U-turn, I’d call it smart politics. But, all of this only makes Kaptaan an adept politician, not a “leader”. A “leader” takes hard decisions without the worries of vote bank.Recommend

  • 2Paisa (Khi)

    Imran Khan has proven that he is just a politician and not a visionary or leader. Where was his mention of local government, structural devolution of power, abolition of feudalism, land reforms, tax on agriculture etc? These things are the basis of the archaic mindset that has kept rural Sindhi in dark ages. Imran Khan followed the saying, ‘Speak in Rome as the Romans speak’ rather address the elephant in the room.Recommend

  • Katia Vrabel

    You are right they are both VIP’s and rich….but if you can’t see the difference between the VIP rich boy cricketer and the VIP rich wadera ….it’s most probably because you don’t want to see the glaring difference.Recommend

  • http://www.onlineindusnews.com onlineindus7

    First of all I am not in favor of this fake democracy in pakistan but i always visit sindhi news site and i realize that imran khan is better than othersRecommend