PTI on the ascent?


It had been a while since the ruling party won a by-election, even in its own strongholds and for seats that its blue-eyed candidates had held, so the major upset in Sialkot that saw a relatively untried contestant defeat the experience of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) must have been very pleasing for Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI). Was it because the realisation suddenly dawned on the party rank and file that it was better to work than to fight among themselves or was it just pure luck, helped to no end by all the divisions within PML-N? Either way, the Sialkot victory makes for great optics and enables PTI to sell a new narrative to the public just in time to build momentum for the next general election; that after three years the party has finally got a grip on things, put the economy right, etc, and now everything will improve all the way to the vote.
The only thing is that anybody who even casually observed the Sialkot by-election, and events that led to it, understands very well that it was the personal interest and maneuvering of Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhary Pervez Elahi, who spearheads the PML-Q contingent of the ruling alliance in Punjab, that made this victory possible. Even the winning candidate, Chaudhary Ahsan Saleem Baryar, was transferred, so to speak, to PTI from PML-Q, so while the flurry of celebratory statements and tweets from the ruling party are understandable, perhaps it wouldn’t be a good idea to get too complacent based on this and the AJK election victory just yet.
This should, instead, make for a very important pivot point for PTI. The string of earlier losses and then this sudden victory must have made it realise by now that people only react to the realities on the ground, and couldn’t really care less about the kind of venom our senior most politicians reserve for their opposite numbers in other parties. Also, if things were working fine and prices were affordable and the economy was growing and people had jobs then the ruling party wouldn’t really have had to pay the opposition back in kind and badmouth their leaders for mileage in its recent campaigns. So it’s best for everybody if PTI’s ministers and workers alike just keep their heads down and their eyes on the ball, because that way eventually they will be able to arm themselves with the right kind of ammunition when comes time for full-throttled campaigning for the next big election.