Experts weigh in on PTI’s decision-making after reserved seats verdict

Analysts warn persisting with hasty decisions could exacerbate party's existing problems

Noman Awan March 15, 2024


Experts unanimously expressed concerns on Thursday regarding the Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI)'s decision-making capabilities following the incarceration of its founder, former premier Imran Khan. They warned that persisting with hasty decisions could exacerbate the party's existing problems.

The Express Tribune Chief Editor Naveed Hussain, responding to host Dua Jamil’s questions on Express News’ talk show ‘Experts’, said there was no doubt the PTI was lacking decision-making expertise.

Underscoring the PTI’s compulsions, he said, “Attempts were made to dismantle and eliminate the PTI as a party. It was not even allowed to contest elections as a party, and its top-tier leadership was put in jail. In these circumstances, what is it supposed to do? Fight cases concerning its leadership, or pursue cases such as the reserved seats one.”

The senior journalist believed the election results left the PTI equally astonished as it did the rest of the country. They surpassed their expectations by securing such a significant number of seats, he said, adding that the only person who believed that people would come out was captive and was not even allowed to campaign.

Hussain condemned labelling the PTI as an ‘enemy of the state’, asserting that this was a dangerous practice. He questioned whether by this extension the Pakistanis who voted for the party, despite the pre- and post-poll as well as Election Day rigging, in such huge numbers were also enemies of the state. He stressed that this narrative should end.

“Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif used to deem slain Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Benazir Bhutto as a security threat,” he said, acknowledging that subsequently Imran Khan also levelled similar accusations against Nawaz Sharif. “In a twist of fate, Imran now finds himself facing similar allegations,” Hussain said.

He stressed that if the government believes in democracy and expects others to play fair then it should do so itself. He said the courts have decided that the PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) will not get reserved seats in the national and provincial legislatures. He condemned how parties that refer to themselves as ‘champions of democracy’ have collected the vacant seats of the ‘champions’ like they were spoils of war.

Daily Express Group Editor Ayaz Khan while responding to a question regarding the PTI's alliance with the SIC said such irrational decisions are taken when the party doesn’t do its homework.

Khan asserted that the PTI should have had a national alliance with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). He presumed that the PTI may have had to reassess its stance on allying with the JI considering the latter's diminished representation in the assembly.

The senior analyst, while referring to the pre-poll and post-poll scenario surrounding the PTI, claimed that the party had prior awareness of the unfolding events. “When you are facing a fight like this, you need to be more careful and make solid decisions,” he stressed. However, he agreed that the vacant reserved seats should not have been distributed among other parties as per principle.

Express News Islamabad Bureau Chief Amir Ilyas Rana countered both Hussain and Khan’s opinions about the PTI’s weak decision-making. He claimed that Imran Khan is more careful and does not trust anyone.

He claimed Imran checks why a person has come to meet him in jail. “Has he come under some court order or otherwise, or whether the ‘friend’ who has come to meet him has come from the other side,” Rana added.
The bureau chief believed that the PTI’s lawyers already knew that the party could not get reserved seats. He advised the PTI leadership to talk per the law and think with a cool mind.

Express News Karachi Bureau Chief Faisal Husain asserted that the PTI was never good with organizing at any time.

“There is no concept of organization in the PTI,” he said, claiming that the party’s leadership boasts of its reputation of taking ‘U-turns’ as its specialty.

“The PTI's leadership is imprisoned and there is a communication vacuum because of which the party is suffering from mismanagement and chaos. But throughout its political life the party has never demonstrated prowess at decision-making,” Faisal pointed out.

He emphasized the strategic importance of the PTI’s alliance with the JI. By doing so, Faisal suggested that the PTI could have secured seats more effortlessly, while also garnering public support. Such a coalition could have potentially changed the party’s numerical dynamics in the National Assembly, which in turn could have influenced the outcome of the Senate elections.

“Maybe the PTI was afraid that the US would not be happy with its alliance with the JI as it was still taking dictation from it and trying to please someone,” Faisal alleged.

Express News Lahore Bureau Chief Mohammad Ilyas stated that the PTI should have looked at all aspects before allying with the SIC. He was surprised by the PTI’s decision to do so.

Ilyas questioned satirically what would the ECP do if the PTI ended up chopping off its own hands. He said the PTI approached every forum and got nothing. “Problems arise due to a lack of decision-making,” he said.

“The consequences of mistakes will have to be borne. The PTI has lost its seats themselves and if it continues to make hasty decisions it will have to suffer more problems in return,” he concluded.


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