Imran in a tight corner... By Tajammal
05 February, 2014
In the last general elections Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) got a majority of the votes of young people living in posh urban areas of the country. For them Imran Khan was a moderate, liberal and enlightened leader. After forming the government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Imran Khan vehemently supported the peace talks with the Taliban. After the death of Hakeemullah Mehsud in a drone strike, PTI staged a sit-in to stop NATO supplies to Afghanistan through KP to protest against drone attacks. During this entire period Imran's image as a liberal enlightened leader diminished. Of late, his nomination by the Taliban as a member of their negotiation team proved the last nail in the coffin. His refusal to join the committee does not make any difference as his voters now regard his party as a rightist political party.
The electoral history of Pakistan reveals that voters, especially living in Punjab and Sindh, do not vote for right wing politico-religious parties. Therefore, PTI under Imran Khan will face a very tough time to attract voters in the next general elections unless he makes special efforts to win back his lost vote bank comprising youth. And for that he has to show the liberal, moderate and enlightened side of his personality. It would be a hard chore to accomplish.
Syed Tajammal Hussain