Home Global Village PTI must change tactics to enlarge its vote-bank in Balochistan

PTI must change tactics to enlarge its vote-bank in Balochistan

Balochistan
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Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan had to face humiliation following a brawl between two rival groups of the party during a rally in Quetta on Thursday. Speaking to the media in Quetta, Khan ridiculed Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Haqqan Abbasi for defending a plunderer [Nawaz] who robbed this country and laundered money abroad.

He lamented Abbasi for conducting an ill-timed meeting with Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) apparently to safeguard the interests of Nawaz. He bashed PM for playing at the hands of Nawaz. He alleged that Abbasi’s long rendezvous was not about judicial reforms and legislation, but an attempt to secure a National Reconciliation Order (NRO) for Nawaz.

Khan in Quetta

PTI chief was on tour of Quetta for membership campaign. He is visiting small towns and cities across the country to participate in the party’s ongoing membership campaign.

Efforts in Senate elections can only pay off if PTI distances itself from pro-establishment individuals and parties, highlights the problems facing Baloch people and focusing on resolving the disputes of its lower-tier leadership.

During the membership drive, Khan addressed the workers at the decided place, amid a fight between two groups of PTI, which erupted after Khan left the venue at Metropolitan Corporation office after the short address.

After the violent clashes, Khan’s rallies at other locations were canceled and he left without addressing the party workers.

Read more: First Senate Chairman from Balochistan: Its Significance

Can PTI Gain Seats in Balochistan?

Amid declining fortunes of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and PML-Q in the province and growing middle class in Balochistan, a new party does stand a chance, if it can tap on to this vote bank with an effective strategy. Traditionally, nationwide parties have enjoyed the support of tribal leaders which have the habit of changing the loyalty very often. It is the reason for lack of grass root structure of these parties in the region and failure in gathering loyal support in the area.

In Punjab, PTI’s voter mainly belongs to the educated middle class and professionals. In Balochistan, these classes vote for Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Balochistan National Party (BNP), and National Party (NP). These parties have deep-rooted penetration in the system of the province. Similarly, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) enjoys support in lower middle class, unskilled and unprofessional voters.

If Imran will stand along with establishment guy, it won’t please too many nationalist voters and PTI may not be able to gain much in the 2018 general elections and may face the same fate as PML-N and PML-Q.

Generally, national parties of the country do the politics of electable and rake in the tribal leaders to join the party. If PTI plays the same game as has been the norm among the national parties, it may not be able to woe the Baloch Nationalist voters, looking to find a credible alternative. If party opts to promote merit and selects candidates under a meritocracy, it can certainly challenge the nationalist parties in the region.

Read more: Can PTI and PPP’s joint nominee Sadiq Sanjrani overpower PML-N &…

PTI played its cards very well in Senate elections and supported the Baloch candidate Sadiq Sanjrani whose name was proposed by Abdul Quddus Bazinjo as an opposition candidate for the coveted position of Senate chairman. On March 8, Imran traveled to the provincial capital and met Bazinjo and extended his support to get the next Senate chairman elected from Balochistan and announced that 13- PTI members will support Balochistan CM.

PTI as a party termed nominating Sanjrani a party policy to mitigate the sense of deprivation among the inhabitants of Balochistan. It was difficult to give a conclusive remark if PTI was genuinely concerned about the plight of Baloch people or was merely playing politics. PTI may have to reach out to Baloch nationalists by using this policy narrative, being a first party which supported a Baloch Senate chairmanship when national parties opted to vote for unpopular nationwide/state party-PML-N.  

Traditionally, nationwide parties have enjoyed the support of tribal leaders which have the habit of changing the loyalty very often. It is the reason for lack of grass root structure of these parties in the region and failure in gathering loyal support in the area.

Nevertheless, Imran will have to show concern for the Baloch people and issues facing the province especially related to the availability of rudimentary requirements for the masses. Bazinjo is considered an establishment guy. He has established a new party- Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) along with the independent Senators.

Read more: Federal government will pay half of Balochistan’s development: PM Abbasi

If Imran will stand along with establishment guy, it won’t please too many nationalist voters and PTI may not be able to gain much in the 2018 general elections and may face the same fate as PML-N and PML-Q.

Finally, the current turmoil following the brawl between party workers points towards divisions and grouping in the party. It can certainly backfire in elections.  Amid rivalry and in a fighting within and animosity amongst their ranks, it may struggle to grow.

Efforts in Senate elections can only pay off if PTI distances itself from pro-establishment individuals and parties, highlights the problems facing Baloch people and focusing on resolving the disputes of its lower-tier leadership.


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