Undeniably after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf making the government in the 2018 elections, the opposition has fuelled contrary narratives in the wake. By blaming the incumbent government for rigging the elections, it had tried to develop a trust deficit among the public and the ruling party. Additionally, with the formation of the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) the opposition has worked on selling multiple agendas and stances against the PTI government to mar their credibility and efforts.
Recently, there has been a change in the tone and content of these narratives. The opposition has tried to sell their perspectives at multiple forums in the lieu of discrediting the incumbent government’s chances to gather popular support in the next election. But the question remains; can it sell any narrative that has blatant loopholes to maneuver public opinion easily?
PM Imran Khan is the US agent?
Fazul Rehman in his speech in Swat tried to sell his perspective that Prime Minister Imran Khan in the US and Israeli agent is working with the concealed motive of harming Pakistan. Over time, the “Israeli-agent” narrative has become over-rated and reflects the lack of basic understanding over construed evidence.
Before Indian elections, Imran Khan said Kashmir issue would be resolved if Modi won. He won and resolved the issue too.. The govt is shedding crocodile tears after selling out Kashmir. No one voted for us at the UNSC: Fazlur Rehman. pic.twitter.com/35KwDaZ83O
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) November 1, 2019
Maulana Fazul Rehman pitched his stance in the wake of Imran Khan’s meeting with Former President Donald Trump when the latter drew parallels with “winning the world cup. Even by taking this statement out of context, Maulana Sahab cannot sell his narrative so easily.
It is because the public opinion is centered over the fact that PM Imran Khan’s meeting with Donald Trump was a notable event in Pakistan’s foreign relations with the US. After all, for the first time, the US agreed to view Pakistan out of the lens of Afghanistan. The important gains from this meeting were conducive to revitalizing the fractured Pak-US ties and the leverage Pakistan attained over areas of strategic interest in the region.
Selling Kashmir for vested interests
Similarly, Marium Nawaz, tried to sell her stance on Imran Khan that the latter had sold Kashmir to India in the context of fulfilling his vested interests. She reiterated this view by claiming the Indian government’s decision to scrap Article 370 and 35A from the Indian constitution was due to a negotiated agreement between PM Imran Khan and Indian PM Narendra Modi.
Those selling a preposterous narrative of Kashmir being ‘sold’ by PM @ImranKhanPTI should be ashamed of themselves. No one has highlighted the plight of Kashmiris more than Khan in recent decades. Don’t try to misguide the public for the sake of your petty politics or journalism!
— Hassan Khan (@mhassankhan06) September 1, 2019
She explicated the fact by arguing that our PM’s endeavors to raise Kashmir Issue internationally are only garbs to convince the public of his loyalty to Pakistan and Kashmiris brethren. Once again, such a stance is difficult to convince the public opinion as PM Imran Khan’s international laudability and extensive diplomatic support to the Kashmiris prove otherwise.
The incumbent government has perpetuated corruption
Shahbaz Shareef, in his press conference, claimed that PM Imran Khan is a corrupt politician and the alleged corruption by the government officials bears testimony to his flawed governance. Yet again, this standpoint is taken with a grain of salt because PTI’s performance in these three years speaks volumes about their zero-tolerance on corruption.
— Dr Sidra Niazi PTI 🇵🇰 (@Dr_10K) May 20, 2021
The PTI government came to power after the 2018 elections by effectively selling the narrative of eradicating corruption from Pakistan which is the mother of all ills. Also, their anti-corruption drives by empowering the autonomy of NAB over fake accounts and overseas investment have countered this narrative.
Strengths and weaknesses
Nonetheless, there are certain areas where the PTI government is unable to deliver the results. They include lowering inflation, building infrastructure, ensuring strong governance in Punjab, conducting local government elections, and strengthening the bureaucracy.
Such shortcomings can become strong evidence against PTI’s performance, however, Pakistan’s perceived successes on the foreign policy front, ensuring socio-economic development through Ehsaas and PM Yes scheme along with the Covid-19 curtailment measures are worth laudable.