Punjab By-Polls’ The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Video)

THE GOOD PART is KHAN (called here Khan Sahib) has swept the Punjab by-polls with 15 out of the 20 seats which were up for the grab.His party PTI got the number (according to reports) to form provincial govt. in the heartland -Punjab is Pakistan’s largest and the most populous province -it also has enough lawmakers for the National Assembly to form govt. at the Center.

Rivals are stunned and have accepted the defeat coolly: ‘We accept public’s decision’, PML-N said -the party’s bastion of power is capital Lahore where PTI’s 15 candidates won as compared to 4 of Noon; Khan has said his party PTI ‘is competing against ECP and foreign conspiracy’. He has called for early elections (snap polls), indicative of a groundswell of support for his narratives which he and his party have detected and want to harness come what may rain or sunshine. Khan saying “Democracy requires moral, not military strength” sounds good but it takes the two to tango.

Journalists and politicians have (understandably) congratulated him and his party. Most find in him, I suspect, another fool who can do their bidding!

THE BAD PART is Khan’s latest by-polls victory in the hinterland comes on the heel of not so good goings with the country’s State debt (both forex and domestic) climb-up a more than a few notches. ‘Robbing Peter to Pay Paul’ fiscal debt management has been in the works -for some time now.

A senior official who occasionally shares new reports, videos, etc. with me, forwarded this a few days back: ‘Pakistan’s Coming Collapse Should Worry the World’…”the bubble is collapsing and the result will not be pretty…

And that’s the bad part to me -as his shares have been few over the years. It made me to ask myself: Does Khan Sahib have a rabbit to pull from his hat -to handle this scenario while his populist narratives galvanize the ‘awam’ and his ideological supporters all together into a melting pot? Or does he have a ‘Harvey the Rabbit’ with him?

“The look ahead is a mixed bag for all givers and takers,” an observer says -he has been mostly on the mark with telegraphic views and observations on Pak politics, economy, geopolitics -occasionally some of Tik Tok windy side of care shares have been funny and motivational and at times cryptic.

The gentleman says he’s on hiatus. I don’t blame him. “When you are tired, plan your vacation, don’t quit” was one of his last shares until I guess he is sort of back now with his shares. ‘Lahore Lahore Hai’ was the latest.

THE UGLY PART: When I add all these good and the bad, I get to feesee troubling signs ahead for all and on almost all fronts. As they say, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’!

The nation (ghayyur awam) is united though, and pulling the sensible one’s into their Noah’s Ark filled with stoicism and Pakistan Zindabad determination, etc. At age 66, I’m one of them and won’t let the old man in…


Dispatch from Irshad Salim, Karachi (July 18, 2022)