The performance of the ruling PTI in the recently concluded cantonment board elections was lamentable. While the common voter sees it as an open indictment by PM Imran Khan’s supporters of the perceived non performance of the PTI elected reps, there is deeper fight going on within the PTI Karachi itself.
Ever since the victory of 2018 elections, the leadership of the party has been overtaken by individuals who have completely deviated from the ethics and morals which enabled the party to sell its vision to the people of Karachi and put its trust in Imran Khan. Accusations of corruption are rife, with the present leadership showing neither the will nor the desire to tackle it.
A brave attempt by party stalwarts was made to somehow act as a counterweight to the incompetent position holders. A group by the name of Puritans was started, and efforts were made to bring honest likeminded workers under one umbrella. But these measures quickly fizzled out as the very individuals it was supposed to stand up against were themselves added to the group.
Similarly, the senior DHA workers responsible for the famous 2013 PTI victory in NA250 and the subsequent challenge to MQM, formed a group by the name of Old Squad. They had realised the extent of organisational decay which had set in DHA, once the bastion of PTI. A blunt message was delivered to Shahzad Qureshi, who was blamed for alienating almost everyone of the senior workers of the party.
A party which once boasted of notable businessman, professionals and highly educated workers under Dr Alvi and Samar Ali Khan, was cast aside and replaced by colony workers who in some cases were not even Matric passed. Several meetings were held, in an effort to explain just how far the things had fallen but unfortunately everything fell on deaf ears.
PTI candidates’ selection process embarrassing
The set of candidates chosen for elections were an embarrassment. The selection process, a complete sham. Well educated, deserving candidates were set aside in favour of yes-men whose strength was solely in singing praises of the MPA on all forums and being available to open his car doors. All personal appeals by senior members were arrogantly caste aside — with the attitude that “we know ground realities better”. Several candidates appealed to the PTI Karachi Board.
However, in one colony, workers meeting Shahzad Qureshi openly boasted that “Khurram and Arsalan will not dare go against my wishes, they owe me big”. The open implication was that Shahzad Qureshi had supported Khurram Sherzaman when he was accused of paybacks in development funds, and had shielded Arsalan Ghumman when some prominent builders had started complaining about receiving forceful donation calls from his workers.
Whatever the actual reason, he was proven right. The selection criteria was thrown in the dustbin and favouritism prevailed.
A party which once boasted of notable businessman, professionals and highly educated workers under Dr Alvi and Samar Ali Khan, was cast aside and replaced by colony workers who in some cases were not even Matric-pass.
Disappointed and dejected, the Old Squad gave up and left with little choice, and reluctantly worked for the success of PTI.
September 12 was a day of reckoning. Perhaps the biggest upset was that the very two Candidates whom Shahzad Qureshi was openly criticising during the whole campaign managed to win. Shagufta Nasreen wasn’t even chosen at first, and only got nominated as a third choice.
Any hope that the result will be a wakeup call, an eye opener, proved to be an elusive wish. Immediately after the election, an aggressive stance was taken and the loss was mostly blamed on the party’s ‘traitors’ who didn’t work hard enough to win.
Dr Pervez, during his campaign, had to put up with various taunts and his victory was met with a statement “I seriously don’t understand why you won”.
The DHA public had given its verdict. Glorifying oneself in all public meetings and claiming to be a warrior of all that is good does not cover evident incompetence. And educated voters can see through a sham when they come across it. However any hope that the result will be a wakeup call, an eye opener, proved to be an elusive wish. Immediately after the election, an aggressive stance was taken and the loss was mostly blamed on the party’s ‘traitors’ who didn’t work hard enough to win. The remaining blame lied with the ‘lazy’ DHA voters who despite being social media warriors, couldn’t be bothered to come out and vote.
How can an MPA be wrong? He is a mujahid of Imran Khan, and anyone who dares to criticise him is a turncoat — a traitor to the cause
The senior workers did not put in their heart and soul in the campaign because they could read the writing on the wall. They didn’t work with Shahzad Qureshi because they didn’t believe in him. Not trusting him is not the same as being a turncoat.
Aftab Siddiqui, though appearing quite humble and genuine, has proved himself to be completely inadequate in leading his constituency. He was unable to stand up to Shahzad Qureshi earlier and it doesn’t look like he has the guts to do so even now. Both CBC and KBC elections under his two MPAs were a total disaster. Will they be held accountable?
Despite whatever both MPA and MNA say during every public meeting, the DHA voter is not lazy. They have sent you a message, loud and clear: don’t take our vote for granted. They will not vote for the corrupt PPP and MQM nor will they vote for a sectarian Jamaat-e-Islami. But they will not vote for a non-performing PTI either.
The PTI leadership must know that it has been warned for 2023.