Moeed Pirzada | FB Blog |

Rana Sanaullah’s new definition of Imran Khan & PTI as “Fahashi Party” on Ptv, but why? – Just heard Rana Sanaullah on Ptv, while moving in between different news bulletins (12.30-12.37pm– 22nd Oct, Thu). Rana was talking to press, perhaps only Ptv was covering it live. Rana said that Imran Khan’s PTI and its “Naya Pakistan” represents dishonor of families and disrespect to the elders, now soon grown up children will say: “Go Abba Go”; PTI represents dancing boys and girls, and open fahashi etc. People will reject this “Naya Pakistan” in favor of “Jinnah’s Pakistan” because otherwise their “thees ie Daughters” will soon emerge on dharanas dancing and thus dishonoring their families and elders. He talked for several minutes but this is a gist of what he said, in more or less his words and I am sure TV channels will dig up this clip and can put it on internet.

Why is he saying this? Is this only an expression of his or PMLN’s social conservatism or this represents a political strategy? And will Pakistani liberals and Feminists, Diplomatic and Development communities take notice of this political communication which militates against all what they stand for? or at least give the impression that they do?

Rana is a very intelligent man. He is PMLN’s point man for shaping political narratives, for defending party’s interests and for hobnobbing for religious and sectarian organizations. And that is why there is serious talk of bringing him back to the forefront and ministerial position. And despite his involvement with the Model Town massacre he is increasingly being given limelight from PMLN; it is not without a purpose that his press briefings are being covered live by Ptv. So what is trying to achieve?

First we need to understand that PMLN’s vote bank is mostly rural, is less educated, ultra-conservative and has a narrow world view. It is also more “older”. Most PMLN support comes from fathers and mothers and older people over 40, who also become conservative and thus very insecure about “daughters” and the young especially daughters not obeying them. Though PMLN’s vote bank is still more aware of the world than the PPP vote bank in interior Sindh, Achakzai’s vote bank amongst Pashtuns in Baluchistan and Maulana Fazal ur Rehman’s supporters in rural parts of KPK, but is decidedly less educated, less socially developed than PTI, MQM and ANP.

Secondly we need to understand that Rana, and PMLN are now trying to scare the rural Punjab that Imran Khan and PTI represents a threat to your traditional values, respect for elders and father and brother’s control on his daughter and sister. May be everything is fair in love and war and our politics aferall now represents a war like situation, so Rana and PMLN may be able to justify what they are trying to do. However this kind of political communication should be challenged by Pakistan’s liberal community, NGO crowd, Development community and should be brought in front of the international community, all of whom have always advocated a more equal and progressive role for Pakistani woman and her greater participation in political process. This is a test case for their commitment to better governance.

Third, Rana is saying this at the eve of provincial bye-elections in Sheikhupura; though its a safe PMLN seat vacated after the death of a PMLN MPA and his brother or cousin is contesting from PMLN, and is hardly being monitored by media but PMLN is worried that a victory by slim majority may be interpreted as a symptom of their growing unpopularity.

Fourth and in conclusion, we need to understand how political parties and factions need to communicate different messages at different level. To international community CM Punjab presents himself as a symbol of development and modernity, to rural conservative Punjab PMLN sends the message that “modern and thus assertive daughters will be a threat”. Previously at the height of Long March and dharnas, PMLN told the liberals and international community that marchers are a conspiracy by the military and thus represent a ‘civil military problem’ but to rural and conservative Punjab, PMLN told that Qadri and Imran represent an international conspiracy against Pakistan and China being funded by Americans, British and Canadians. Let me add PMLN has done that quiet successfully and PTI despite a middle class party did not have good communication strategies. May be PTI wallas need to read Machiavelli.

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