The first phase of the local bodies’ elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are out and the outcome in 46 out of the 64 tehsils declared so far has sent shock waves across the country’s political landscape.The PTI has faced stunning defeat in the local bodies elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while the JUI and other parties have emerged as winners. These elections should serve as a wakeup call for the PTI as they may be a forecast for the 2023 general elections.
Some leaders of the PTI have admitted that their defeat is a result of the recent price hikes. If the government fails to improve its performance and people continue to suffer, the PML-N might sweep the next elections. It is a bitter fact that the PTI has failed to bring about any positive change in the country and has instead pushed it to poverty, unemployment and inflation. The promises made atop the container never materialised. Claims that Pakistan is the world’s cheapest country have further added fuel to the fire. Record loans of Rs26000 billion are also pushing the economy to bankruptcy. People will no longer settle for mere promises, what they need now is so much more.Countless people who supported the PTI during the 2018 elections have been lamenting their decision almost from the start. Even political experts and analysts are of the opinion that the current government has broken all previous records of mismanagement and bad governance owing to its inexperience. But one must remember: Pakistan is not an experiment. The PTI must now take stock of the current political fiasco and revisit its political strategy if it hopes to gain victory in the upcoming general elections.Not only this, the PTI also lost in areas and cities where it had single-handedly defeated all the major political parties. For instance, in Peshawar, the citadel of political power, where the PTI had won five national and 11 provincial assembly seats in the last general elections, the ruling party has ended up with just one tehsil. Many prominent figures in the current government, both federal as well as provincial, have lost their native tehsils.
Surely, the PTI will do some deep soul-searching in the weeks ahead, but it cannot deny the impact of its poor economic policies, the price hike and the power and gas outages that have hit the common man hard — something that many in government have acknowledged. This is probably the major factor responsible for the PTI defeat in the first round of the local bodies polls.Like the PTI, the ANP too needs to look inward and probe its rather poor performance. The Pakhtun national party has been able to win only one seat from Peshawar and has lost all three seats in its birthplace and stronghold of Charsadda. With just six seats in hand, it hardly has any reason to rejoice.