Saturday July 02, 2022

Poor public participation in long march irks Imran

Much of the anger seems to stem from the fact that even in Punjab, where the PTI holds 83 National Assembly and 158 provincial assembly seats people only came out in Lahore

By News Desk
May 28, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan speaks at a press conference along with Asad Umar, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Barrister Muhammad Ali Khan Saif.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan speaks at a press conference along with Asad Umar, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Barrister Muhammad Ali Khan Saif.

KARACHI: PTI Chairman Imran Khan is upset at his party's leaders for not doing enough to bring people out to join his long march to Islamabad. As revealed in a report by Geo's Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath (Geo ASKKS), apparently the PTI leader had been expecting much larger crowds — hoping people would turn out on their own, like they did right after his government's ouster.

Much of the anger seems to stem from the fact that even in Punjab, where the PTI holds 83 National Assembly and 158 provincial assembly seats people only came out in Lahore, and that too in not enough numbers.

Karachi too saw some organic movement at Numaish Chowrangi first, after which PTI leaders came and some arrangements were attempted at a protest. Sindh too saw negligible political activity by the PTI. While in Pindi, people did not turn up; even PTI leaders seemed to have gone Missing In Action (MIA).

The PTI chairman is said to be angry at the poor showing of both people and PTI leaders in all these cities, asking why despite a large political rally in Lahore just a short while back, the city saw such a small turnout for the march.

When Geo ASKKS reached out to PTI leaders with questions regarding Imran's anger at their performance, they countered with details on the disconnect between the statement and reality regarding Imran's long march.

The PTI leaders said that, first off, they were not given enough time to prepare. They say they had told Imran that since he himself had said the date of the march would be between May 25 and May 29, fixing May 25 as the day was a bad idea since they needed to arrange transport and logistics: how would people get there? Where would they stay? Food? Logistics?

They say they had asked Imran Khan to extend the date by a few days. But the PTI chairman seemed to maintain an element of surprise over the government and was concerned that if they extended the date, the government would be able to make plans to stop the march. [Apparently, Imran Khan was expecting 2,000,000 people at the march -- much like he had expected 1,000,000 people at the 2014 dharna; both times his calculations fell way above the reality of the numbers that turned out].

PTI leaders told Geo ASKKS that they had told Imran that an active supporter of the PTI generally comes to jalsas and protests on his/her own -- but the caveat was that other than supporters from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the PTI does not have supporters elsewhere who would brave the police or tear gas or the heat in an effort to try and reach Islamabad.

In 2014 too, without Tahirul Qadri's workers, the dharna would not have been sustained. Like their leader, PTI supporters used to return home instead of spending the whole day at the sit-in.

Geo ASKKS was told by the PTI sources that they had tried to explain to Imran Khan that without a proper plan, the long march would not be a good idea, the announcement of a dharna would end up more of a problem for the PTI, and that a threat of their impending arrival in the capital without a fixed date would be a far more potent strategy.

Contrary to Imran's plans, others in the party had hoped this threat would keep the pressure alive on the 'neutrals' and the government both. Imran, though, was confident that there would such a sea of people that the government would buckle even before the march reached Islamabad; that the police would fail to stop such a large number of people; and that the 'neutrals' and the government too would not be able to withstand such a show of people power.

Now, with Imran unhappy at his MNAs and MPAs for what he sees is a failure to bring out people, some of the party insiders Geo ASKKS spoke with have said that they are instead unhappy at the six-day threat given by Imran again yesterday. They ask: when people didn't come out two days back, why would they come out six days later? And that even if they were to somehow make arrangements, where would they get the people from to stage a dharna long enough to get the government to resign?

According to PTI sources, at the moment Imran Khan seems to be only listening to a handful of people close to him, instead of to politicians better adept at traditional constituency politics. As summed up by Shahzeb Khanzada, the inside story of the PTI right now seems to be a tale of a series of disappointments -- supporters upset at why the party didn't give a dharna after having announced it. Imran angry at party leaders for not getting people to reach Islamabad or hold protests in their own cities. And PTI leaders upset at not getting enough time to prepare in the first place and now again at Imran Khan not listening to wiser counsel.


    Love Your Country commented a month ago

    Coming out for a few hours in the evening is easier - simple answer.

    14 5

    Khuli Aankh commented a month ago

    People follow IK like an only showoff

    11 6

    WASIF AHMED commented a month ago

    It was wrong time, should have given time to gov and wait for good weather and school holidays. This time was senseless.

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    sportsman commented a month ago

    he doesnot even made any arrangements for his supporters, like he made no arrangments for people of Pakistan for the last 4 years. why the surprise?sore loser.

    7 4

    sportsman commented a month ago

    has he left anyoneelse to blame?

    5 1

    Ad vadm commented a month ago

    How about bring your own wife and sister out for protest, mr Imran khan

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    Wasif commented a month ago

    People are on edge with the dwindling economic situation. All hands should join to save Pakistan rather than destabilize it further.

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    Zahid commented a month ago

    Now the powers don't arrange his shows and first time he has to do it himself. Result zero just like economy disaster he created in last almost 4 years. Failure written all over.

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