Tehrik-i-Insaf is doomed if it doesn't avoid snakes in the grass

People from various walks of life are joining the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf in droves, as a result of which it is getting as much media coverage daily as other major parties, especially the PPP and the PML-N.
Because of the fast emergence of the PTI on political scene after 15 years of dormancy, most of the religious parties and the All Pakistan Muslim League of Gen Pervez Musharraf appear to be going into the background. The situation in the weeks and months ahead will, ostensibly, remain the same as Imran Khan is doing his best to bring maximum people to the PTI’s fold. In fact, as the elections are drawing nearer, those aspiring for power but feeling uncomfortable in the parties are already looking for new ‘nests’. They feel that from the new platforms they will stand better prospects of winning elections.
The PTI and the PML-N are the most favourite destinations of such elements. Both these parties have opened their doors to all kinds of people to be able to get enough electable candidates for the next elections. The outcasts of the past are also welcome – as everything is fair in love and war. If ‘everybody-is-welcome’ policy continued, the PTI may have to pay a very heavy price for it. People with a lot of baggage, if allowed entry, will rock the boat pretty soon.
He had said recently that for the time being he would let everyone in, but at the time of elections he would award tickets only to those who declared their assets and were men of integrity. Imran Khan, who doesn’t have much experience of contesting elections, doesn’t know the implication of such an approach.
He must bear in mind that those joining the PTI, especially the senior crooks, would not like to stay as silent spectators in the elections. Also, they cannot be expected to work for the success of others. They would be in search of party tickets to be able to reach the corridors of power. In case the party awarded tickets to others in the same constituency, the new converts would, though secretly, work to ensure the defeat of such people. Politicians do such things to make the leadership realise their importance in their constituencies.
This means if Imran Khan allows every Tom, Dick and Harry to join his party, he will not be able to refuse tickets to all of them. Or they will prove to be snakes in the grass.
The PTI leadership should not forget that in Pakistan’s politics there are many whose only ideology is to stay in power by whatever means. For them there is no difference between the PPP, the PML-N, the PML-Q – and now the PTI. To obviate the possibility of machinations of the party hoppers, Imran Khan must be very cautious in welcoming new people to the PTI. Or he would repent when they damage the party. International reports say that Pakistan is among the most corrupt countries in the world. Political leaders and bureaucrats are responsible for tarnishing the image of the Islamic Republic in the comity of nations.
Imran Khan, who is committed to making the country corruption-free by providing honest leadership is under greater responsibility to keep only men of integrity in the party. Otherwise, a single corrupt person in the party or government is sufficient to defame everybody.
The PTI chairman, therefore, should try to form his own team in which everyone has an impeccable character. Such an exercise many take a bit longer to bear fruit, but its results will be long lasting. Party hoppers and turncoats cannot be expected to bring about revolutions – the main target of the PTI. Instead of joining hands with turncoats, Imran Khan should consider forming alliance with like-minded rightist parties. This will be a better option for him.
At a time when even the PPP, the country’s biggest party, has formed alliance with the PML-Q, the MQM, the ANP and the PML-Functional, and the PML-N is also not averse to joining hands with other parties to strengthen its own position, the PTI should also not close the door.
However, the party will have to be extra careful in selecting its allies.
Another question that needs Imran Khan’s attention is whether he should focus on some provinces or the entire country.
As things stand, Imran Khan has little experience of politics in rural areas. The position of his young supporters is also no different. They have yet to learn the art of interacting with farming community, the illiterate and the slum dwellers and persuading them to support the PTI in elections.
For the time being, the PTI has either no or only symbolic presence in some provinces.
Thus, if the party focuses on Punjab alone – where the decisive battle for Islamabad is fought – it may be a good strategy for them. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the PTI is already working, may also be mobilised.
But in case it tried to spread itself too thin, it will not be able to get favourable results from anywhere.

Spell Bounder

I'm journalist in Pakistan,And working in this field about 20 years.