Melodramatic and over- the-top are two best expressions for the Pakistani politics scene; at least this is what shows so far. Each of us choses to be on the extreme end of opinion, with initial brow furrowing cynicism followed by unscathed love for a political figure or a political party-especially if something tragic happens to them.
From Bhuttos to Sharifs, the young generation living in grey until struck by IK fad, has decided to party with the new force- Imran Khan. But what does it take to be a real Khan follower? Do people follow him blindly and take a leap of faith with shutters of reason virtually off, or is it an informed choice they make?
From Insaf Student Federation (ISF) team to overseas Pakistanis in the UK, from the crowd on the streets of Pakistan, to Imran Khan himself, I have spoken to, observed and concluded that the PTI followers broadly fall into four categories:
The Intellectuals: Joining PTI as a young educated charged member of youth provides a pedestal that other parties so far have failed to address.
- This include intellectual think-tanks who have a platform to present their issues on a larger socio-political canvas and add value in the policy formation of various sectors at a party level.
- They also have crowd-pullers – youngsters who have developed a solid repute in their respective circle and draw large numbers of audience to jalsas and other public gatherings.
- Then there are active bloggers who voiced PTI’s agenda at several social forums eloquently. PTI also has a creative department with song writers, singers and actors playing an active part in party promotions.
You name it and there you go. PTI has got it all in the form of pure youth power who have added value to the party by injecting their talent to the party for far greater strength than could be imagined. Please note they are not on big payrolls or offered extra-ordinary perks, they are volunteers. It is in fact the appreciation they get from PTI leadership and other PTI followers that acts as a voice of validation and provides them with gratification.
Imran-Smitten: Khan is an quintessentially tough man, an every girl dreams and every guy’s style guru. Crossing the age of 60, he still drips with dashing charms and continues to remain a heartthrob for almost three generations of Pakistani men and women which explains a lot about the massive vote bank of his party.
For a fact, I spoke to my female friends who went to vote in PML-M and MQM majority areas and they confirmed that queues of women boistrously chanted the’ Khan mantra’ while voting, like a bunch of out-grown kids heading to Disney Land.
From Bipasha Basu, (remember the televised confession: “Imran Khan’s hot”), to college girls putting up his signed posters in their rooms, and university guys holding him on high alters for Khan’s bewitching magnetism, makes Mr. Khan’s fan following . And without exaggeration,it is difficult for him even today, to walk without being mobbed by admirers even in a small town like Dundee in Scotland, let alone Pakistan!
Happy-go-lucky: These are the chirpy, fun-loving crowd who don’t necessarily know the party and its policies inside out, but thier conviction in Khan is paramount. They are true and honest to the theme of PTI and they are here to exercise their democratic status asa citizen and playing a pivotal part in helping PTI reach the pinnacle of youth power.
They support PTI and satisfy their creative urge with memes and parodies as well as picking on followers of opposition parties on social media by leveraging on their exceptional talents. This more than often crosses the line of decency and acceptable tolerance threshold levels however it is part and parcel of the blind love for Khan.
Never Mess with an IK follower on social media! You mess with one on twitter, and you are doomed – they will come from right left and centre and throttle you for a word uttered against PTI, specially its leader. Needless to say their personal attacks and sarcastic taunts can crush the opponent’s ego like a sand castle. However their purpose it not to demean people (hopefully), but push away obstacles and negativity that hinders the progression of PTI. As they say, it is all done in good faith.
Biyani-turned-Jalebi confused crowd: It is a sad dichotomy in our country to have black sheep corrupting almost every segment of society . PTI has time and again found it difficult to cater to a few fragile egos who quietly tip-toed in from other parties. Their entry sometimes is not an option – their beloved uncle who belonged to another party, has joined PTI. Earlier they use to be the biggest critics of PTI, calling it a big mistake, and promoted and defended their uncle at top of their lungs for the past many months.
Now after reluctantly joining PTI, they expect everything to be glossy over and flowery as per their likings, seeking a welcome hug whilst craving attention. Such people take the true followers go from annoyance, to indifference and finally to amusement. With their given background, it is tough for them to swing out a new personality therefore it leads to their emotional and information exhaustion, eventually causing detachment.
PTI needs to go through a cleansing process to get rid of the negativity and back sheep, so it maintains the mystique Imran Khan has injected into this movement. It is also important for this charged youth to manage its expectations, as disappointment is an eventuality. The youth have around four years to pave a way by overcoming their internal party matters to be ready to deliver in the future. Indeed, success will be the only destiny.