Politics in the twenty-first century is all about crafting an emotionally compelling story. People believe Imran Khan’s story. IK said that morals and principles should be the last things to be thought about in the war of narratives because he is a populist leader in Pakistan. No doubt, IK is a famous leader in Pakistan and he by himself contested elections against the dynastic political culture. Recently, the By-Election in Peshawar NA-31 and Charsada NA-24 where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan contested the election against the dynastic political system.
The populist narrative of IK made them famous to compete with the dynastic political figure. The voters have sent their message through the ballot box, and it appears that the majority is still with Imran khan.
The PTI by-election victory was celebrated in the city of flowers
Awami National Party (ANP) is going through a narrative crisis in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It hasn’t been able to convince anyone to buy it. The emergence of Ali Wazir, Mohsin Dawar, and Manzoor Pashteen has appropriated its anti-militancy theme. As soon as it formed an electoral coalition with JUI-F, its progressive legacy died peacefully. In a similar vein, it has failed to turn the blood of its martyrs into a voting base, because the Ghulam Ahmad Bilour family becomes the victim of terrorism in the last decades.
The ethnic-nationalist failed in the narrative building of their native districts and they lost the election. Additionally, the crisis with ANP is the Pashtun Student Federation (PSF), its student’s arm, has fallen short of supplying central leadership. The old guards still control the party and have not adapted to politics in the age of globalization such as populism. According to a study by Adil Najam, Dean of Social Sciences at Boston University, the first-time voter will decide every election until 2050 in Pakistan, where 64% of the population is under 30.
The party needs young leadership in such a scenario. In order to be clear, I am a young person and unable to relate to Aimal Wali Khan. He is not a typical Pashtun from the middle class; he is the great-grandson of Bacha Khan. The ANP party has to hire fresh talent who can connect with the general public to address their problems. The ANP has to refocus by fusing its ethnic-nationalist narrative, sacrifices made for peace, and vision of growth and success in the Pashtun belt.
Who is the winner and losers of the By-election?
The winning of IK against dynastic politics needs further excavation to reach reality. Imran Khan is a popular leader among youth, and no doubt every Twitter and social media trend reached on top within an hour. Particularly, the cases of By-elections within PTI provincial ministers are not ready to contest elections with dynastic politics. For example, the Ex-Federal Minister Ali Muhammad Khan is not much popular in Mardan to contest in a by-election with Muhammad Qasim (JUI-F).
In contrast, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is held in complete humiliation following a nearly complete loss. They chose the most unpopular electoral districts for the PTI to run in the by-elections. They planned it specifically to eliminate the PTI. Maybe they weren’t sure if Imran would run for office in each constituency at the same time. As he eventually succeeded by defeating PDM in a historic victory. In all honesty, the PDM government did everything it could through leaks, filing of charges, and media campaigns to depopulate Imran Khan.
Despite being aware that he wouldn’t win back the seats, a resounding majority chose Imran Khan. Imran made the audacious decision to do something that was crucial for both him and his party. The victory of Imran Khan demonstrated that the majority still supports him. Although it’s not a clear message, the fact that he is the source of uncertainty will have a serious effect on global stakeholders. In exchange, it reveals international plans to invest politically, strategically, and economically in Pakistan. His victory led to suspicion among PDM members.
In a nutshell, with regard to supporting a candidate from a different coalition party, parties began to question one another. In two ways, it might prove disastrous for PDM: 1. Reduce the cooperation and compromise between parties that have served as the foundation for the existing shared government, and 2. The general elections may pit them against one another as a result of the growing mistrust, ultimately working in PTI’s favor.
The writer is pursuing M.Phil at Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.