Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, has achieved a remarkable feat by amassing 19 million followers on Twitter. This achievement solidifies his position as a highly influential figure in Pakistani politics, even though he is relatively new to the field. As the Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party,Khan has gained popularity for his unyielding approach to politics and his focus on tackling corruption.
In 2009, Imran Khan joined Twitter, but it wasn’t until he entered politics in 2011 that he began to use the platform meaningfully. Through Twitter, Khan connects with his supporters and expresses his opinions on a range of issues, often with controversial tweets that provoke strong reactions. Compared to other Pakistani politicians, Khan’s Twitter presence is by far the most significant, with 19 million followers, more than double that of any other politician. This demonstrates his ability to connect with people and appeal to the younger generation, and social media has been instrumental in helping him build a strong following.
Khan’s Twitter feed is a mix of political commentary, personal insights, and calls to action. He often shares his thoughts on issues such as corruption, poverty, and human rights. He has also used Twitter to rally his supporters and to call for protests and demonstrations.
One of the reasons for Khan’s success on Twitter is his ability to speak directly to his followers. He doesn’t rely on canned messages or polished speeches. Instead, he speaks from the heart and connects with people on a personal level. This has earned him a reputation as a populist leader who is not afraid to speak his mind. One such example is a tweet he shared on 30th March, 2023 “All our ppl must come out & support this peaceful protest (the release of Azhar Mashwani) . Gross violation of human rights is ongoing & everyone knows who is behind this wave of fascism unleashed against PTI. We will stand up against this & fight to the last ball & will never accept these crooks imposed upon us. The only solution to get Pakistan out of this political & economic mess is free & fair elections.”
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Another factor contributing to Khan’s popularity on Twitter is his focus on issues that matter to young people. Pakistan has a young population, and many of its citizens are frustrated with the current state of politics. Khan’s focus on corruption and social justice resonates with this demographic and has helped him build a strong following among young people.
Twitter is a vital platform for Pakistani politicians to connect with their constituents and share their views. However, compared to Imran Khan’s Twitter presence, other political leaders in Pakistan have fewer followers and less impact. The leaders of the main opposition parties, Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, all maintain active Twitter accounts, but their content differs significantly.
Nawaz Sharif, leader of the PML-N, uses Twitter to criticise the government’s economic policies and alleged victimisation of opposition politicians, while Maryam Nawaz,a prominent PML-N leader, uses it to share her views on politics, social issues, and human rights, often using candid and critical tweets backed by videos and images. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari , the PPP chairman, shares his party’s stance on politics, human rights, and social issues on Twitter and actively engages with followers and supporters.
Khan’s Twitter success has drawn the attention of his political rivals, who have attempted to emulate his approach. However, none have come close to matching his popularity, and some have criticised him for prioritising social media over traditional political channels. Nevertheless, Khan’s use of Twitter has been crucial to his political achievements, enabling him to build a strong following, engage his supporters, and highlight key issues. Additionally, his personal approach has helped him connect with people on a deeper level.
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Imran Khan’s achievement of reaching 19 million followers on Twitter is a significant milestone that reflects his ability to connect with people on a personal level and his popularity among young people. His strong Twitter following has been instrumental in building his support base and bringing attention to important issues. As he continues to lead the PTI party and advocate for social justice and anti-corruption measures, Twitter will undoubtedly remain a key part of his political strategy.