There is an invidious discourse that has emerged post election, supported by TV channels, newspapers, and popular blogs on the web. Not just invidious, it is in fact incorrect.
It goes something like this: “PTI is the educated urban elites party of choice, and PML (N) is the party of the lower classes.” The evidence that is brought forward to bolster this assertion is the result of the 2013 Elections. For now I will not delve into the mass rigging that has taken place across Punjab, instead I will try and discredit this claim on evidence from the election results, supplemented by my own campaigning across different localities in Lahore.
Even a cursory look at the results will show that PTI got from all kinds of localities, not just areas where the urban educated elite live. I am not saying that he is not popular among this demographic, just pointing out that he is not just popular there. Let us talk about NA 122 that included the following areas:
Garhi Shahu, Baja Lines, Mayo Garden, Zaman Park, ample area of canal road have been taken from previous NA-94 whereas Shadman, Shah Jamal, GOR, Ichhra, Rehmanpura and Samanabad.
Anyone who has visited these areas will confirm that these are not posh, elite, burger areas. I lived in this area for over 20 years, in fact our family moved out of Garhi Shahu exactly because it was not posh at all, it was a very ‘low class’ area for my family. Now, let us look at the ‘official’ results:
Sardar Ayaz Sadiq: 71,420 votes.
Imran Khan: 61,300 votes.
This is almost a 50% divide; so the argument, if we believe these experts, is that 50% of NA-122 is posh, elite, educated, and 50% is not. Nigger Please!!! Stop talking shit. If you do not believe me just visit these areas, and you will know what I am talking about. Who do you think lives here?? Mostly lower middle class individuals, mostly not very educated, and definitely not what our experts believe PTI supporters are like. This is just one example, let me move onto my experience in other locales of Lahore. For instance, NA-118 that includes, Shahdara; now, again my maternal family has always lived in Shahdara, and I have spent over 30 years in the streets of Shahdara. Compared to Shahdar, Garhi Shahu is DHA. Honestly, just get off your ass and visit these areas. Prior to these elections I spent most weekends in Shahdara with the PTI supporters of that area. None of them was ‘educated’, but they were strong PTI supporters. 8 out of 10 people were.
Let us not just stop there let me give you specifics, go to Sayyid Park in Shahdara, a very lower middle class locale, and visit the popular local general store “Waleed Cash and Carry’, and sit down on the steps outside the shop. Observe the people coming in and out of this shop, stop people while there on their way home, and ask them which party they support. It is very likely that the majority will say PTI, the only exception is a family opposite this store who is related to a senior member of the N-league, and stands to gain from their success. If you get bored just get up, and walk to the main road where you will find a Lemonade street hawker, ask him and you will get the same answer. Posh? I don’t think so.
My point is that a lot of these analysts have had their sorry asses stuck in those sorry seats in front of TV cameras and never really bothered to visit these areas unless there is a sensational news story to cover. While, they are completely disconnected with the situation on the ground they are very quick to brand PTI as the party of the elite. It is just irresponsible reporting, and vacuous assertions. Even our celebrity writers have their two-pence to add, while they have not visited this country for years, and even when they do, it is for celebrity appearances at literature festivals, and the like. It is ironic that most of the people who are relegating PTI’s popularity to a specific demographic, belong to the same demographic, and themselves are not supporters of PTI. They have probably never lived in a neighborhood like Shahdara, but are very quick to give an expert opinion. Pathetic. They are creating an artificial divide that does not exist.
As far as I can tell from talking to PTI supporters – educated, uneducated, working class, middle class, moneyed, and poor – the two things that are common in all of them is that they have very high aspirations for this Nation, and that they all love Imran Khan because in him they see the promise of a prosperous, and just Pakistan.
PTI is not the party of the rich or poor, it is the party of everyone who loves Pakistan, and wants Pakistan to prosper! Who care about the future of this country. And such people belong to all walks of life; education is not a prerequisite for such an attitude, people can have good values understanding without education!
We should not let them create this artificial divide, avoid slogans that create this divide of the educated and uneducated. PTI supporters are Pakistanis from everywhere!!
I conclude with this quote:
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
We all love Imran Khan, let us all be courageous, and not lose heart. Let us work hard to have an even stronger party for the next round!