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Pak Tea House » Democracy, Lahore, Rural, urban » What are Imran Khan’s Chances?

What are Imran Khan’s Chances?

Raza Habib Raja

I will be lying, if I underestimate the PTI show in Lahore. No matter, how cynical you are, grand rallies like these never fail to impress.

Imran Khan is back and with a bang. In an eerily similar way to 30th October 2011 ( when he came out of age and announced himself as a potential political force), I once again witnessed an inspiring display of patriotism and passion. I have differed with Imran and continue to differ in terms of ideological leanings, but I do appreciate the effect he is having on urban Pakistan.

Many of my close friends actually attended the rally and as I go through the pictures, I am actually impressed. I like the fact that many of our urban middleclass professionals instead of looking towards a benevolent dictator are actually getting politically mobilized.

Yes, I may have a disagreement with their choice, but I respect them for becoming politically participative.

This rally, as rightly indicated by several political commentators, was a do or die thing. There is absolutely no doubt that PTI was losing steam and one of the major reasons was continuous loss of anti PPP vote to PML (N).

This particular dynamic has to be kept in mind. Although PTI and PML (N) have their own vote bank but these parties also capture anti PPP vote in the urban areas of Punjab. This anti PPP vote is generally not “committed” to any particular party but merely throws its weight towards the alternative which has a better chance of winning against PPP.

I remember that in 1997, when PTI was launched, many though ideologically in line with PTI and despite respecting Imran Khan, decided not to vote for him because they feared that PPP would benefit due to “split” vote.

Many a times, I have heard individuals claiming that despite respecting Imran, they had never voted for the fear of “wasting” their vote. However, Imran’s successful rally on 30th October 2011 suddenly changed it and many who had been sitting on the fences decided to rope in.

In recent months, this kind of voter had again started to drift away as PTI remained low and PML N scored heavy by election victories. The combination of these two developments also dented PTI’s prospects with the aforementioned type of voter in Punjab. In fact, PML (N) gained a lot of ground from July 2012 to March 2013 as indicated by several surveys with the latest one actually displacing PTI from second position to third behind PPP.

This rally was extremely important to PTI to stop and then reverse this momentum in the urban areas. Imran’s timely and successful rally may have just done that. However, it remains to be seen whether this would actually translate into any sort of electoral victory.

In my opinion, Imran Khan’s PTI does stand a good chance in urban Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Urban Punjab also has a sizeable youth population and by and large is ideologically conservative. However, around 100 seats come from rural Punjab where politics is all about local influences and darha bandi. These areas have remained frozen in time and as the by elections prove that May 2013 may not witness a change in the pattern.

Here clearly PPP and PML (N) have the advantage. In fact, many of the recent locally influential entrants in PTI have left it and joined PML N further bolstering its electoral prospects. Moreover the two political parties have the better organizational apparatus at the grass root level to actually mobilize and bring voters on the election day to the polling station.

To overcome this obvious disadvantage, Imran Khan may have to do what Bhutto did in 1970. His sweeping victory in 1970 dislodged many local politicians against the predictions. Bhutto travelled extensively and conducted rallies at smaller cities and even villages. But, in some ways he was acting in a political vacuum as there were no established mainstream POPULAR political parties. However, the time is short for Imran as elections are less than two months away and he will be competing against PPP and PML (N), who are well entrenched and contrary to what PTI trolls believe, are popular also.

So while my friends may yell “Tsunami” and revolution at the top of their voices, the actual reality may play out very differently.

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38 Responses to "What are Imran Khan’s Chances?"

  1. Adnan Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    nice article. pakistan ws created 7 yrs aftr 23rd mrch resolution…imran khan is installin a political culture here.this elections results r important but nt final thin.but important thing is he is gatherin all under pakistan’s flag unlike conventionals.n he is rock solid…u wont get a this much principled man after quaid e azam.u may nt agree with him..but u shd support him…

  2. Dr A Mishra, Harrowgate United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Nice article Raza, your unease about Imran shines through.

    Let me start off by saying something different. As an outsider, a neutral but who follows Pakistan politics closely-

    ” Each of these- Imran, Parvez, Sharif and even Zardari- have some good in them. But no one is a complete whole. I do NOT see any of the following in Pakistan, and these I term the finished articles, either in terms of governance or sound economic policies, or both-

    PC Chiadambaram, Nitish Kumar, Manmohan Singh, Chandrababu Naidu, Advani, Narasimha Rao, Modi, Vajpayee, A K Antony.
    Pl tell me if you or the others agree

  3. Kaalchakra United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Mishra Ji, I am perplexed by your choice of “leaders” whom you’ve so grandly called finished articles! Going down your list I find one who was until recently a lawyer and patron of corrupt corporations like Enron and Vedanta, one was called the Mayor of Hyderabad and presided over the greatest number of farmer suicides in the history of Andhra Pradesh, one blew up the great Babri Mosque and directly caused deaths of 10,000 men and women in riots and terrorism, one was a grand disciple of Nemi Chand Jain a. k. a. Chandraswami the prodigal godman of Lakhubhai Pathak (in)fame and playmate of Pamela Bordes, one is a mass murderer of 2000 Gujaratis whose visa application still gets rejected from every civilized country in the world, and one is a Christian atheist directly linked to the AugustaWestland bribery scam worth hundreds of crores of Rupees. I fail to see under what kind of logic you compare these imperfect and corrupt men from India with the immensely popular and incorruptible born leaders from Pakistan like Imran Khan and Pervez Musharraf.

  4. Dr A Mishra, Harrowgate United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    kaalchakra- the key words were governance and sound economic policies.

    I did not mean to insult your country Pakistan’s heroes, I do think Imran is incorruptible but he is naive in many respects and a bit of a Talebani in bow tie.

    Some of yr points about farmer suicides are well made, cant just blame Naidu solely for that. As Chotey mian and finglofin said earlier on, if 700 million live in the agricultural sector, then you need to count the number of suicides against 100,000 farmers and compare internationally

    kc- u still have not apologised for peddling lies last week. You did not mention that Sanjay was caught with grenades, and you lied about his 3 wives and family being ‘muslim’

  5. kaalchakra United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Misra ji, storing grenades at home may sound unusual, but in a lawless land, it cannot be the crime you make it out to be. Sanjay was a youngster then, hardly to be blamed to attempting to protect his own life and his family under assault from Hindu radicals, Hindu fundamentalists, and Hindu majoritarians.


    Aleph? :)

  6. kaalchakra United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    RHR, excellent, as usual. As Adnan mentioned, IK might be setting the stage for glory on another day. Yet his alliance with JI – wonder how that would play out! Since many of his supporters see him as the ‘savior’ – as Musharraf is being projected by his supporters – nothing may hurt him in the eyes of his dedicated fans.

  7. Ajit Canada Safari Unknow Os says:


    Great analysis. However this article is a complete waste on PTH. It woulf have been better if you had sent it to Tribune or Dawn.Here only Islam, Jinnah, India and related stuff works.

  8. Pious United Kingdom Safari Mac OS says:

    Dear Dr Mishra,

    As always you are so biased. It’s shameful….Ah man,,, what can the world do about people like you,, who are no harm to anyone,, but are so biased in their words that you don’t even want to have a debate with them.

  9. Dr A Mishra, Harrowgate United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Dear Pious, sorry if you think I am biased, but please do engage me. I am keen to exchange ideas.
    I said- “Each of these- Imran, Parvez, Sharif and even Zardari- have some good in them, but none is whole” sorry if it offended but many Pakistanis would agree with that

  10. RHR United States Google Chrome Windows says:


    I think you are right. I should have sent it to Express tribune!



  11. Kaalchakra United States Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    RHR, I second Ajit.

  12. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Mishra Ji,
    “As Chotey mian and finglofin said earlier on, if 700 million live in the agricultural sector, then you need to count the number of suicides against 100,000 farmers and compare internationally”
    I have never made such deductions. While I am careful about quoting statistics, it’s driven purely by a desire for accuracy. By no means I intend to reduce human suffering to a statistic. My comment about farmer suicides was meant to convey that such suicides are not new. It’s our fault that we have suddenly discovered it. That shouldn’t be construed as merely reducing their plight to a fraction and moving on. Aside my quibble with the numbers quoted by Roy and co., I have a problem with their ***prescription***.
    I am not entirely sure about the reason for your smugness about our leaders vis-a-vis Pakistani leaders. Even a biased commentator cannot but help notice that Zardari has achieved an almost impossible task. I am not sure there is any Indian leader that can match his sheer doggedness, bravery, and political savvy. In comparison, Manmohan, no matter how honest he may be, rightly deserves the title of Alibaba and forty thieves. About the rest, the less said, the better. Let’s not engage in such petty comparison. Pakistanis are doing it one step at a time. Let’s applaud a momentous occasion in their history. I am going to stick my neck out and claim that if Pakistan gets out of its current morass, Zardari may be hailed as one of the most influential leaders of modern Pakistan, more than Bhutto, Jinnah, et al. History is going to be kinder to him.

  13. RHR United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Chotey Mian

    ” I am going to stick my neck out and claim that if Pakistan gets out of its current morass, Zardari may be hailed as one of the most influential leaders of modern Pakistan, more than Bhutto, Jinnah, et al. History is going to be kinder to him.”

    Absolutely brilliant..

    Yes I have to agree ( not withstanding his incompetency and corruption as well) but history gives its verdict over long term

    At times a clever and even corrupt ruler takes steps which solidify democracy much better than is often assumed.

    I fully second with you here



  14. RHR United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    I will actually write an article over Zardari and his contribution to democracy.



  15. Madhav Singh India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Raza Sahib,
    Teeming fanatics like Kaal, having such an amazing blind faith and belief, in twisted Pakistani ideals and unworthy leaders, have done tremendous contribution to the perennial deterioration and have kicked the troubled country downhill.

    A lot has been said about the deft political maneuvering and crisis management skills of Zardari, along with his unassailable contributions to democracy in Pakistan.

    But the reality is that the well-known existence and effects of Kerry Luger bill have served him and troubled democracy in Pakistan. Otherwise a new Musharraf would have mounted another misadventure in Kashmir, become an overnight national icon and easily become the next dictator of Pakistan. It would not matter to any one that the journey to power would have sacrificed and betrayed about thousand clueless, helpless soldiers?

    As you have outlined, has Imran Khan offered anything substantial and different to make the much needed change over? Like others, he is merely riding all the wrong horses to get power, along with displaying extraordinary ignorance and oversimplification of vital issues and concerns.

  16. Mohan United Arab Emirates Safari iPad says:


    Once again a good article. Waiting for your article on Zardari. I hope the wait won’t be long.

  17. kaalchakra United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Let’s face it Hinduism has always reduced human suffering to a mere statistic. To put it simply the Indian religions have never given priority to egalitarian concepts such as justice and equality the way the Ibrahimic religions, especially Islam, have. In our case the past Sufi Masters have been the real trailblazers in this.

  18. Romain United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    I will actually write an article over Zardari and his contribution to democracy.

    @RHR Mian,

    any chances of filtering Kaal out before you launch into that article.

    This is a very humble request, I am grovelling :)

  19. Maggu India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    ” In our case the past Sufi Masters have been the real trailblazers in this.”
    I am literally rolling on the floor!!! A wahabi/Salafi claiming sufis as “ours”. This is “gadhey ko baap banana”! This same man and his au pair rex would be the first in the queue to slit poor sufi throats

  20. IndianDude India Google Chrome Windows says:

    chhote and kalu mian are right, pakistan have the best of leaders in zardai, nawaz and immi bhai, deserving so.

  21. Balwinder Sandhu. UK United Kingdom Safari  Android 2.2 Dell Streak Build/FRF91 says:

    Mishraji well said. Pakistanis may not have heard of Anthony for example would be flabergasted at the amazing honesty of a cabinet minister whose wife travels on public transport in kerala.
    Paks may also have not heard of Nitish who turned anarchic state Bihar around. And this sudden rush to exalt Zardari seems comedic. He is a grt manipulator, politician, has survived five years, is pro peace with India, but he is not in category of Indian greats.

    Chotey would surely emigrate if Zardari came to rule India. Hehe. Higher stds

  22. Madhav Singh India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Raza Sahib,

    Lets accept the fact that the leaders only represent the most prominent cultural traits, desires, aspirations, ethos of the people at large. They cant be fundamentally different than from where they come from. Some societies and countries are lucky when they some how elect some one, so different from them. But one cant be lucky forever,as the law of averages eventfully catches up.

    Its amazing to know that Nawab Zardari and Sahebzada Bilawal differed so strongly, that he had no options but left for Dubai. Don’t we see this kind of repetitive abysmal lack of negotiating skills. Don’t they have democratic norms, able and wise advisers? And for gods sake it is happening in a supposedly democratic country. Its is nothing else but age old feudalism in practice.

    It is not a drama but a sad and repetitive reality. If the drama is so bad, the skills of script writers, directors and actors is only exposed. If clueless people still flock to such dramas, they deserve the same age old experience.

  23. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Balwinder, IndianDude

    Neither CM nor Raza were making cross-border comparisons. If Pakistan is to change (and at least I will not hold it against you if you pointed to the enormous odds faced by Pakistani liberals), then this is the time of transition, of first steps. It may be that history will look back upon Zardar’s time, and on Zardari himself, with considerable affection, measured against what has else is out there. Much depends upon how the wheel of time turns in the future.

  24. Chote Miyan United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Madhav Singh,
    I am rather embarrassed as a fellow Indian by the complete lack of recognition of irony in your statements.
    “Lets accept the fact that the leaders only represent the most prominent cultural traits, desires, aspirations, ethos of the people at large.”
    Doesn’t that hold true for us as well? Zara apne girebaan mein bhi jhank kar dekhein saab. We are hardly qualified to give lectures of fiscal probity to Pakistani leaders. If anything, they are less hypocrites. None of our leaders can pass even an hour without claiming the simplicity of Indian life and how simple living high thinking bakwas should be our motto and then they go an amass billions.
    At least there is only Army that can muscle Zardari into a corner. Our Manmohan has become a Draupadi rotated between panch pandavas. Did you miss out how H’onble Jaya Ji is now cracking whip.

  25. Chote Miyan United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Sandhu Saab,
    You forgot that under the same squeaky clean Anthony, the defense ministry has been rocked by scandals. Clearly, his personal honesty had no positive effect on his peers and his juniors. Yes, we have a few good leaders like Nitish, etc. But so has Pakistan. Apparently, Shabaaz Sharif has been a wonderful chief minister of Punjab. The system is somewhat messed up in both countries. Just like Pakistan, we need an able, strong leader who can reorient our aims.

    Madhav Ji,
    “But the reality is that the well-known existence and effects of Kerry Luger bill have served him and troubled democracy in Pakistan.”
    Yaar, what kind of argument is this? Everyone is ready to pounce on him for the mess in Pakistan, but you don’t want to give him credit for the good that he has done.
    Yeh kya baat hui?
    ” Its is nothing else but age old feudalism in practice.”
    Talk about feudalism! Well, we have something even better: monarchy, where the post is passed on from one generation to the next.

  26. dte India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    to chote miyan……..

    Islam cannot bring forth good leaders.

    Islam means mental slavery under a 7th century self-glorifying totalitarian finalist-fascist ideology.

    Those muslims who inwardly kick islam out of their lives may become good leaders.

  27. Madhav Singh India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Chote Miyan,

    Where and how what you assume, is implied?

    Moreover, I am not at all trying to lecture, but humbly stating few well know facts.

    In spite of whatever little good is done, Reign of Zardari survived greatly due to Kerry Luger Bill, by stiffing the penchant of Pakistani Army to stage a coup along with new attack in Kashmir.

    If you in your wisdom, take Indian and Pakistani political systems as equal diseased and similarly stiffed, I have nothing to add.

  28. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Madhav Ji,
    First of all, please tell me what’s the point of gratuitously offering comparisons with Indian leaders if not to enjoy a bit of schadenfreude. And when someone points out that our leaders are not that clean either, you promptly assume that it is a indictment of the whole Indian democratic system. The conditions in our countries are different so I am not sure what is the point of such comparisons. But if you insist on “facts” then just tell me one leader who can survive the way Zardari has. You point about Kerry and what not has some merit but the same case can be made for Manmohan Singh and, in fact, our whole economic liberalism. If we were not at the point of bankruptcy in the 90s all this tall talk of superpower would have been just that–idle talk. Zardari may have got some leeway because of his position as BB’s husband but let’s not lose sight that he is his own man. Before you forget, he did his jail time instead of running away to some foreign country. In the long run, Pakistanis who never cease to complain that he is a crook, Mr. 10%, will thank their stars that they, in fact, got a better deal.
    It’d be interesting to read your write up on Zardari. I must confess I do have a soft corner for him as I have for every underdog. I think both our countries would be better off if we chuck out some of our ideologues into Arabian Sea. They have brought nothing but misery. From my limited interaction with Pakistanis in the US, I always get the feeling that they are very impatient and want their leaders to be Salauddin, Hazrat Umar, Faiz, Iqbal, Jinnah rolled into one. It’s an impossible benchmark.

  29. dte India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    to chote miyan……

    Islamic indoctrination has caused muslims to become self-deceivers. Hence they can’t live peacefully with each, and also not with non-muslims. The word “honesty’ is replaced through the word “mental slavery” in islam, although the two words are opposed to each other.

  30. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Chote Miyan

    I will try to write it soon. At times a nation needs a Machivilli price. And Zardari is that. In Pakistan, mere survival of a democratic regime is astounding achievement and he did that. In the process democracy got strenghened. Very slowly pattern has emerged that it is no longer feasible for the military to just over rule civilians. And one important thing which has never been acknowledged by our “corrupton” obsessed middleclass is that Zardari willingly gave up his powers to dissolve assemblies.

    He is not perfect but then neither are any third world leaders.



  31. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @ dte

    either stay relevant or kindly leave the discussion..

    On internet maturity is showing restaint and civility and avoiding non sense. I know it gives cheap thrills to hurl profanities while enjoyng the safety of the internet. But what is the point?

    I am being polite here.



  32. Mohan United Arab Emirates Safari iPad says:

    ‘First of all, please tell me what’s the point of gratuitously offering comparisons with Indian leaders if not to enjoy a bit of schadenfreude’. Good one.
    The attitude – I am bad but still I am happy beacause you are worse than me – prevents us from improving.

  33. nwdte India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    respected raza

    i never used any profanities.

    pakistan’s problems are mainly due to this 7th century totalitarian ideology exported from makkah.

    to be frank about this is the most helpful contribution.

    that is no profanity at all.

    regarding zardari

    he was born in a muslim family and forced to become a muslim.

    but he has now shown that he can transcend this shame and become beter human being and leader and that all muslims can and need to do it.

    he is not perfect, but yet exemplary.

  34. Madhav Singh India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Chote Miyan Ji,

    I did not compare any thing between two countries.You some how ended up doing it, for some mysterious reasons.

    Irrespective of forms and types of political system and variety of leaders, societies and countries get-the leaders they deserve.

    If completing a five terms is taken as the most important barometer,even after 65 years, nothing much can be imagined to happen, and nothing did. Just being in power while doing nothing to change any thing, is insignificant achievement of a so called leader.

    How ever, it is also a fact that the crop of real leaders, have been stifled and stopped being produced in the region, as well.

    Pakistan has been very unfortunate in-this regard from from the start.

    Good leaders help produce more good leaders, while bad leaders sow a deadly harvest of all kind of wrong leaders, which is the most unfortunate and damaging, in-long term.

  35. rajshekhar new delhi United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    When 2 top Brahmins spoke the truth
    Bangalore: The problem with DV is it walks too fast, thinks well in advance of the rest. It is this ability that made DV predict that Hindu India’s free fall has begun. The collapse is all-round. Nothing can stop this crisis after crisis. Here is a proof of perfection of our predictions.
    Collapse of education system
    Bangalore: “We are producing sub-standard doctors, engineers, lawyers and other professionals. There is not a single educational institution in India that is par-excellence. The chairman of Medical Council of India (MCI) is in jail. I got to know the condition of some medical colleges. The lesser that is said, the better”, said Karnataka Governor H.R. Bharadwaj. (Times of India, June 26, 2010).
    Brahmin speaks Truth
    The education sector lays the foundation for a society’s forward march.
    Governor H.R. Bharadwaj is a former Union Law Minister and top Brahmin of the country. A great quality of the Brahmin is they never criticise themselves, particularly the education system which is their 100% monopoly.
    But Bharadwaj says India’s entire education system has collapsed. There is no village in India with a functioning primary school. The ruling class (read Brahminists) want to keep the Bahujans (SC/ST/BCs and Muslims etc.) totally illiterate. Bharadwaj knows all this but in a state of excitement at a Bangalore function truth burst out of his mouth unconsciously.
    Iyer reveals where money is going
    There is yet another Brahmin (a Tamil Nadu Iyer), an ex-Union Minister who was a former diplomat who also spoke the truth which will not be liked by his jatwalas:
    Bangalore: The UN human development index for India was 134 in 1984 and it remained at 134 even in 2007, despite so much of being spent on development, said Mani Shankar Iyer, former Union minister for Panchayat Raj.
    The centre spent a nominal Rs. 7,500 crore on the social sector and the poor in 1984, but by 2007, it went up to Rs. 1,20,000 crore though the human development index remained the same.
    We are now among the top four nations having dollar-billionaires and dollar-millionaires now.
    But there are nearly 836 million people who are earning Rs. 20 per day, which is lower than the NREGA pay scale. There has been a regression in terms of panchayat raj which was supposed to take us to development.
    Quoting late PM Rajiv Gandhi who once said that “out of Re.1, only 15 paise reaches the poor and the rest is lost in corruption”, Aiyar said: “It has actually been misinterpreted. What he actually said was that 85 paise goes to administration costs”.

    A rough estimate shows that Rs. 30,000 crore is being spent for the Commonwealth Games, for sheer entertainment of the middle class (read upper castes — Editor). However, there is a furore when there is a Rs. 70,000 waiver for farmers and the poor, he said.
    Now with nearly 47% of the children suffering from malnutrition and 9 in 10 mothers being anaemic, the chances of children becoming athletes are very slim”, he said. (TOI June 29, 2010).
    Both are TOI reports by the country’s topmost Brahminical daily and reports quoted above are speeches made by two Brahmin leaders of India. The impression given to public is that Brahmin alone speaks truth and nothing but truth.
    But the above two truths will not shock the Brahmins because they have already become the unquestioned leaders with one leg in America supported by their Jewish cousins.
    DV has said all this over 10 years ago.

  36. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    rajshekhar…….this is nothing new hindus never built any educational institution or library in last 3000years of their vedic rule.this was darkest period of indian history.when only bhagwans were made and sold.

  37. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    tajender/rajshekhar new delhi

    I know you are the same person..

    Please stop trollng



  38. Mohan United Arab Emirates Google Chrome Windows says:


    It seems everybody has stopped talking to Tajender that is why he has started taking to himself. Bechara, shayad sathiya gaya hai.

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