PTI should devise creative new election strategy and tactics
Imran Khan has sought to fish in the troubled waters of PML-N political infighting by inviting one of its leading antagonists, his old friend Chaudhry Nisar Ahmed, to join the PTI fold, and in a somewhat upbeat clairvoyant mood also assessed that the ruling party might witness defections during the care-taker government phase before the 2018 general elections. The PTI leader, who developed the theatrical, but wearying and ineffective ‘dharna’ or sit-in as his major weapon, is now endangering his future political fortunes on airy-fairy assumptions and great expectations, instead of coming up with solid, issue-based solutions to garner votes. Realistically, the PML-N cannot afford to expel its senior-most leader for refusing to serve under the party’s dynastic younger generation because of fear of upsetting the already strained Shahbaz Sharif applecart, and Chaudhry Nisar has (so far) himself ruled out abandoning party allegiance, while in the matter of runaway PML-N parliamentarians, the party has not seen any such panic in its rank and file even in the pessimistic days following Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification.
In the unlikely event that Chaudhry Nisar was driven to the PTI camp, this would in itself prove doubly distrustful and send ripples of alarm among the already insecure upper echelons of the third largest party, whose main thrust is grandiose transformation of every facet of national life. As neglectful of ‘honouring’ parliament with his presence as was the former PM, indeed ‘twin souls’ in that respect, Imran lost a golden opportunity to discredit government policies and expose its shortcomings in the ideal House forum, as was the case with punctual attendees Khursheed Shah or Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani. Having apparently done with ‘dharna’s’ for the moment, Imran Khan needs to present an appealing election manifesto, use his considerable oratorical talent to hammer in the public perception the governments’ faults and mistakes while lauding his own achievements in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, strengthen party apparatus, and employ a well-oiled machinery of cadres to carry his message to the rural heartland. PML-N’s grassroots links had enabled it to sweep the 2016 Punjab Local Bodies Elections.