Imran’s tsunami: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa lives up to tradition

Published: May 13, 2013
A PTI supporter sits in a queue waiting for his turn to cast vote outside a polling station in Jalozai camp on Saturday. PHOTO: AFP

A PTI supporter sits in a queue waiting for his turn to cast vote outside a polling station in Jalozai camp on Saturday. PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: ‘They came, they saw, and they conquered’ was what Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa witnessed on May 11.

The crushing defeat of the mainstream political parties across the province at the hands of the supposed underdogs of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was reminiscent of Muttahida Majlis Amal’s landslide victory in the 2002 elections.

Imran Khan’s ‘tsunami’ swept through Peshawar, Nowshera and Mardan district, besides making deep inroads in the districts of Swabi, Swat, Kohat, Karak, Dir and the Hazara division.

PTI’s rise was unpredicted, literally. Barring a few constituencies, no one had expected the PTI – which was believed to be a party followed by a bunch of hyper-active cyber revolutionaries – to emerge as the strongest party in the province. But May 11 has changed this misperception.

K-P, a swing state?

K-P, however, has not been new to such surprises. Back in 2002, the province witnessed a ‘religious revolution’ when the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal was voted to power. In 2008, the K-P people voted out the MMA and elected the moderate Awami National Party to the assembly.

In the 2013 election, people rejected the religious, nationalist and federalist parties in favour of PTI’s ‘Naya Pakistan’. The party has caused a major dent in the vote-banks of ANP, PPP and JUI-F, which have virtually been reduced to nothing. All hopes of JUI-F were dashed to the ground as it expected to cash in on the disillusionment with ANP.

The PTI challenge

PTI’s win deprived the K-P Assembly of its veteran faces introducing a new breed of politicians. Living up to its name, ‘tsunami’ swept away most powerbrokers and influential politicians of the province.

Confident candidates like PPP’s former president Syed Zahir Shah, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Pir Sabir Shah, Anwar Saifullah, Syed Aqil Shah, the Bilour family, Kiramatullah Chagarmati, Javed Abbasi and almost all lawmakers in the previous assembly were ousted. Some of these politicians had their eyes set on the provincial top slot.

The first task ahead is formation of a coalition government.

PTI needs 63 seats in the provincial assembly to form the government. Presently, it is leading the race with 34 seats. The party is also all set to have at least eight reserved seats in the 124-memmber house. It can also pin its hope on 10 independents who traditionally join the winning party.

Together with the independents and reserved seats, PTI will manage to cross the 50-seat mark. The party can then also look forward to forming a coalition with Jamaat Islami and Qaumi Watan Party in the province. The coalition will have to face a tough opposition which will comprise all the mainstream political parties.

If PTI manages to form the government, it will have to live up to its election promises. Foremost of which will be restoring peace in the province plagued by militant violence. Other major challenges will be provincial economy, infrastructure, development, corruption in the province.

In a nutshell, if any lesson one can learn from this victory is that the K-P people are averse to doctrines, rhetoric and empty promises. They want their representatives to deliver and, if they fail to deliver, they are rejected in the next elections.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2013.

Correction: An earlier version of the article was running an incorrect graph. The errors in the graph have been rectified.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Khan
    May 13, 2013 - 9:36AM

    Two corrections 1. ANP is not moderate but a secular party that rightly reflects our way of life. 2. MMA in 2002 swept elections because they were totally rigged elections.
    This time round we have voted PTI not just for peace but because we want them to work for the country .. By overhauling education system, reforming police etc by bringing professionalism in them, repatriation of refugees, solving power shortage among other.


  • Eshal
    May 13, 2013 - 9:42AM

    …Because people of KP use their brains while casting votes EVERY time


  • GhostRider
    May 13, 2013 - 10:27AM

    KP– the most vibrant, rational and mature political space


  • Junaid
    May 13, 2013 - 10:43AM

    This graph is wrong. The total KPK seats are 99. if you sum above figures they make more than 99. i doubt either PMLN or JUIF figures. please give us correct information.


  • qasim
    May 13, 2013 - 11:24AM

    I am surprised by people of Punjab to decide in favor of Sharif family


  • Hasan Hasni
    May 13, 2013 - 11:35AM

    I can’t understand why only one province seems democratic. They voted for MMA in 2002, voted them out in 2008 and replaced with ANP. In 2013 they voted for PTI but other provinces are still attached the longstanding culture of patronage of family and language.


  • May 13, 2013 - 11:44AM

    People of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had voted for a change in their province now it’s up to the leadership that what plan they make for making it a better place.


  • Saad
    May 13, 2013 - 11:57AM

    Allah tests him bitterly who has to be given a bigger responsibility and KP is by all means a most difficult province to be governed. Allah has given us the opportunity to create a new KP before being tested at the national level. Just pray to God that we live up to the expectations of KP people with our performance.


  • M. A. Changezi
    May 13, 2013 - 12:13PM

    PTI should consider this as a test to national power. If they bring peace and prosperity to KP then I’m sure the whole Pakistan will vote them to power come next elections.


  • Parvez
    May 13, 2013 - 12:40PM

    I salute the people of KP. This appears to be the only province where democracy has prevailed…………..despite all the problems.


  • A. Khan
    May 13, 2013 - 2:47PM

    It is for the best. PTI is a new party and needs to get its feet wet before it dives into running a full fledged country. What better way than to come to grips with all the shenanigans and intrigues first at provincial level.


  • Durrani
    May 13, 2013 - 2:49PM

    In a nutshell, if any lesson one can learn from this victory is that the K-P people are averse to doctrines, rhetoric and empty promises. They want their representatives to deliver and, if they fail to deliver, they are rejected in the next elections.

    A key feature of Pashtuns.


  • kbmir
    May 13, 2013 - 4:27PM

    may ALLAH PAK help imran khan and his party members to bring change in that we can call it a naya KPK inshaaAllah….best wishes for PTI especially from imran khan! and by the way there was so much cheating during elections…this is not fair…….election commission should have taken a stand….anhyhow…..may ALLAH PAK bring a positive change in KPK so that whole country unites next time to vote for imran khan….amin


  • Ali tanoli
    May 13, 2013 - 4:50PM

    indeed great revolutionary peoples just need mahatir mohammad…..


  • Ali tanoli
    May 13, 2013 - 4:50PM

    karachi need lesson from kpk.


  • May 13, 2013 - 5:21PM

    KPK your choice made me to love you even more.


  • Campaigner for Good
    May 13, 2013 - 7:11PM

    For those of you supporting PTI. Please I beg of you campaign for Imran Khan to become CM. The people of KPK need a leader and severely need a morale booster. His vision needs a canvas! He might not even get Opposition Leader because of the PPP and he can easily bring members to his party to form the next government in KPK. It could show his skills as an administrator for all of Pakistan to see. He could help expand his base and finally abolish the religious parties hold, who did more damage than the ANP or PPP ever could. What is happening in KPK and FATA is result of their rule. Please join: Imran Khan CM Pakhtunkhwa


  • Falcon
    May 13, 2013 - 9:35PM

    @Campaigner for Good:
    While your proposal is noble, I think IK needs to focus on the bigger picture and that is whole of Pakistan while keeping a strong eye on governance in KPK because that will be the result card of PTI in the next round of elections in 2018.


  • Helmand Khan
    May 13, 2013 - 9:51PM

    What happened to the so called liberal, modern and forward thinking Karachaiites and Lahoris? It’s a shame, truly, that a visionary leader, like Imran Khan, provided a perfect platform to build a country free of inherited politics and corruption, and yet the so called modern and forward thinking people of Lahore and Karachi have miserably failed to support such revolution.

    The Lahore voted for their old masters, where Karachi voted for terrorists who made them vote under the shadow of guns. LEARN, brethern, LEARN from the people of Pakhtunkhwa, who were and are consistently under the shadow of guns, violence and force, and yet they never budge, yet sacrifice, but live to the standards of freedom. Learn from Pakhtuns, how to defeat the evil. Don’t be scared of MQM. Stand for your kids, your city and your country.

    Or as its said, the next time the voter should be minimum a Graduate or a Pakhtun. Recommend

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