New PTI office-bearers face huge challenges

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 12:13 PM, 26 Dec, 2021
New PTI office-bearers face huge challenges

The unexpected setback in the first phase of local government elections in KP has shattered the dreams of the ruling PTI leadership, after which Chairman Imran Khan has dissolved party organizations and designated new office-bearers with the hope that they will be able to avert such ‘setbacks’ in future.

Now, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar is the new PTI secretary-general, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood is Punjab president, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak is K-P president, Federal Minister for Industries Khusro Bakhtiar is South Punjab president, Maritime Minister Ali Haider Zaidi is Sindh president and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri is Balochistan president.

Mr Aamir Mahmood Kiani has been designated as PTI’s additional secretary-general.

The performance of these people in their present roles is known to most people, after which not much hope can be pinned on them, especially because of the gravity of challenges ahead. Hopefully, they will take the party to new elections that are due to be held in 2023.   

The new setup faces very serious challenges because of which everybody will have to work very hard to prevent any embarrassment in future. In other words, now the fate of the party depends on the performance of the new office-bearers.  

An immediate challenge before the new setup will be the second phase of the local elections to be held in KP in January i.e. after a few weeks.

This will test the nerves of the new provincial president Pervez Khattak, who is also a former chief minister of the province.

He is supposed to be fully aware of the strong and weak points of the party in all areas and the mindset of the voters.

Although time is very short, Mr Khattak will have to spend sleepless nights to be able to come up to the expectations of the leadership and save the image of the party.

The districts where the second phase of local elections are to be held are said to be strongholds of opposition parties. This being so, the defence minister will have to use all weapons in his quiver to prove that he is a better leader than his predecessor.

Thereafter, the new office-bearers will have to face a similar challenge in Punjab, the largest province of the country that is regarded as a stronghold of the PML-N.

Although at present the PTI is in power in Punjab, the three-year performance of the provincial government has failed to solve people’s problems.  

Now the voters are in a better position to compare the PTI government’s performance with that the PML-N during its continuous 10-year rule. They will choose their favourite party on the yardstick of performance.

At present, the PML-N is happy that the Buzdar government has failed to address people’s problems, as a result of which the PML-N alone is the alternative with the voters.

The defeat of the PTI in various by-elections in Punjab in recent months also bearers testimony that winning people’s hearts in the local elections will not be an easy task.

Another factor that will add to the challenges of the new PTI office-bearers is the likely return of former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif from London to Pakistan.

Former National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who had recently met the former prime minister in London, claims that some major development is going to take place on the political front in the near future. He says he will be going to London on January 20 to bring Mr Sharif back.  

According to him, Mr Sharif may also return home even earlier.  

This may or may not be true, but the PML-N will try to change the political environment in its favour.     

The local elections in Sindh will also be nerve-testing for the PTI leaders. The PPP has been in power in the province for the past 13 years and the government has taken a number of measures to solve people’s problems.

Although the PTI claims that the next provincial government will be the PTI’s, the preceding local elections will be an indication of the times ahead.     

Similar challenges will be facing the PTI in Balochistan.  

Then will come the general elections, timing for which will be decided by the prime minister.  

If the general elections are held on the completion of the assembly term, they are to be staged in 2023. But before that the PTI will have to deal with the March 23 long march, planned by the PDM.  

Categories : Opinion
Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.