PTI’s “High Moral Ground” is Its Biggest Weakness

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and its leader Imran Khan, bank on a very important assumption about themselves. They say they are not corrupt, they are unfathomable and that they have a high moral ground than any other political party in Pakistan. They haven’t looted the nation, they haven’t robbed it of its wealth and they are against everything that makes this country a worse place to live in for its citizens.

This same moral ground is used by all supporters for PTI. They believe like their leaders that they are better than anyone else, better than any other party and they are unfalable. This is why whenever the PTI loses or does not come out on top, its supporters and some of its leaders say that Pakistan can never change. This is what Pakistan deserves. This is what you people deserve. This form of self-righteousness has been a key feature of both PTI and its followers.

Because of this belief that they are so unfalable and the only ones who are the solution to Pakistan’s problem. The party also believes that whenever it doesn’t come out on top and doesn’t win, it is only because of something that was done against them. It was rigging, it was corruption, it was voter management. Had the contest been fair, there is no possibility that PTI would have ever lost.

When NA154 happened, these were exactly the kind of response we saw. This is what they thought, and this line of thinking can be very dangerous for any political party. Dangerous because it creates this environment where a party will blame other people for its own mistakes.

What happened in NA154 was that after years of preaching against dynastic politics, the PTI nominated Ali Tareen, it gave different definitions of dynastic politics and tried to convince itself and its vote base it wasn’t doing the very thing it has been speaking against for so many years. This obviously was a contributing factor, coupled with a realatively weaker candidate fielded by PMLN.

When you go off message you have consequences. One of the arguments that PTI’s supporters made was that why did people accept dynastic politics in NA120. Well, what they again don’t understand is that PMLNs base is perfectly ok with dynastic politics no matter how much they or even I may disagree with it.

It is also dangerous because when you feel like you can’t do no wrong, and are and always will be victim to external designs: you lose the opportunity to reflect and correct yourself.

PTI has seriously gone off message. It has not revolutionized KPK during its government. It has not ended VIP culture. It has also not ended corruption, and amongst it has corrupt leaders too. It has not ended nepotism and it has not been vastly or even slightly better than any other provincial government over the past five years, no matter what the media or social media wing of PTI may say, and no matter how many abuses it may hurl.

The PTI needs to understand that its urban, middle class and educated base needs it to hold true to its promises. Because, its central assumption is only valid if it didn’t have a shot at power. But, that is not the case anymore.

There is still time. I want to see change in Pakistan. I want to fix this broken system. I can’t expect that change from PMLN, PPP or the religious parties, but it seems sadly I can’t expect that from PTI as well.

PTI’s high moral ground is its biggest downfall. Arrogance never takes you anywhere.

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