Sunday, January 1, 2012

Politics and Social Media in Pakistan - The struggle for new power within an immature democracy!

English: Picture of imran khan giving speech i...
Image via Wikipedia
The political scene in Pakistan is in full heat midst all the uncomfortable steam of the governance chaos, economic instability, war on terror, energy crisis and all that is constantly aired on the domestic and global news and media. It definitely is the complete package perfect for setting the stage for a Wild West movie or the perfect take over of the government by a bunch of gringos right here in South Asia's heart.

Chaotic History with a Chaotic Today, and Future?
With the massive terror attacks and daily target and political killings carnage across the nation, the never ending NRO case hearings, political unrest with fading accountability, death of Osama Bin Laden, the chaotic mishandling of Raymond Davis case, the political Memo Gate scandal, the crisis after NATO and ISAF's murderous attack on the Pakistani military border checkpoints, the protesting crushed citizenry against the unavailability of electricity, natural gas, rising prices of daily commodities with increasing inflation, the highest rates of joblessness in the world, no law or legal protection even at the basic level, with constant human rights violations midst constant media threats of martial law over an immature democracy, the country remains struggling to withhold its weight and avoid a total collapsing failure. 

Cooking pot for an Epic political drama of the century!
Despite all this chaos and pitfalls of democracy in Pakistan, the political stage is getting ready for the best election drama of the new millennium, a moment in history that everyone across the world will be interested in following. What will be the future of Pakistan and its governance? Hardcore dirty politics is not the focus of this discussion but more on how the political parties and key political actors have taken to the Internet, World Wide Web and Social Media to heat up the political battle ground for upcoming elections.

Social Media, a political goldmine in Pakistan?
Social Media continues to be a very undermined and less interesting space for the majority of the country's population. This is fueled by the rising illiteracy rates, fading access to the Internet, the constant threat by the governance that political outbursts will be treated as defamatory content and treason but this is the very same Social Media interest that outcried ex-President Mr. Musharraf's Emergency Crackdown on the Media in Pakistan during the last days of his government. Social Media burst out from all corners of the country reacting against the then emergency situation across the nation. 

The same Social Media has been constantly following and commenting on the political happenings in Pakistan and is slowly building a strong grip on the electronic media within the country. There is not a single domestic television program, anchor or analyst who may not be using the Internet and World Wide Web as a means to have an interactive dialogue with their audiences and citizenry of Pakistan. Who does not have a Facebook Page or a Twitter account today would actually be an alarming exposition among the Social Media aware online crowd. 

Imran Khan's slap on the rotten face of traditional politics!
So far the leading political actor is former cricketer hero turned politician Imran Khan leading the scene with his party The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (The Movement for Justice) of which he is the Chairman. Imran Khan has somehow resurfaced with a strong image in the recent years building the lead in the political drama by portraying an accountable and transparent personal, social and political character that is seducing the young generation of voters across Pakistan by leaps and bounds.

Imran Khan's supporters widely relate to the party leader's strong willed, determined, motivated and consistent persona for leading social, political and economic change. Not only that, Imran Khan's continuously successful political rallies across the country have attracted millions of supporters firing up support for his party that once had failed to make a mark on the Pakistani Political scene.

Imran Khan's progressive party is building upon the support from the country's middle class citizenry as this class has the very resources that are required to help the poorer majority nationwide while bring change across the governance and legislation to redirect the focus on what really matters to the common man. This middle class with its online resources is helping to build and fuel an online social media revolution. PTI online videos giving out the call to participate in the party's rallies like the following are spread across the domestic Social Media scene and are an indicator of the party's outlook towards using Social Media to reach out:

Imran Khan - Online call to Lahore Rally on October 30th 2011

The progressive Tehreek-e-Insaf is both online and offline 
Imran Khan surely has some of the country's finest Internet and Social Media talent supporting and watching his back online. Though volunteers, these talented young people are really cooking up his party's image and support online driving millions to him using Facebook groups and pages, Twitter updates and Livestream broadcasts.

Role of Social media Team in PTI Lahore Jalsa and Politics 31 october, 2011 by Dawn News.

During the recent Pakistan Blog Awards 2011 ceremony in Karachi, Imran Khan stated that social media played an important part in harboring a revolution in any country because most of the social media activists and users are the Youth acknowledging this role played by the young during the Arab Spring and revolutions in the Middle East and Northern Africa. His rally was broadcast live by the party Social Media Team across the world using Livestream generating a continuously rising following of over 30,000 viewers mostly from around the globe.
PTI Social Media at work on Karachi Rally on December 25, 2011 by CNBC News Pakistan

Political Social Media backfiring already?
Despite the all the beauty and flare on the political Social Media scene in Pakistan, there are also reports of backfiring by trolls and people not happy with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Social Media accomplishments. Despite images like the one below popping up around blogs by Pakistani bloggers depicting what the Social Media crowd in the country is getting ready for, there also have been discouraging backfiring as according to this post by a PTI supporter here * Sorry but the image and website were removed!

As is evident from this blogger's distrust with the PTI Social Media Team and its Social Media Strategy, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf appears to stand strong in its Social Media strategy and channels with an active party blog here, the official party Facebook page at with over 236,496 likes (at the time of this writing) and 93,038 talking about it, over 700,000 new party members joining PTI via a SMS campaign by sending a TEXT MESSAGE with name and city to 80022 where 300,000 (at the time of this writing) people have registered through the SMS campaign. and finally a Twitter following here of about 20,676 followers (at the time of this writing) and a bunch of patriotic songs catching the attention of youth. The PTI Blog mentions the party's Social Media progress here.

Image courtesy of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Official party website here.
Politics from the computer screen to smart phones
Despite the discouraging trolls and angry Social Media PML or PPP supporters online plus the inexperienced Social Media Team, PTI is still advancing its political Social Media campaign while being positively determined to capture everyone's support across the country and outside with every possible mean. For example, CIO Pakistan recently reported here about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's Android Application for Smart Phones running the Android Operating System. In continuation of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's Social Media strategy that has been very active in using the social media as a tool to promote the party’s tactics and activities.

A young party supporter named Dayem Pasha has been developing an unofficial PTI application titled as Pakistan  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, an application that will help users and party supporters find the party’s posts, status updates, social videos and Tweets on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter while the app can be downloaded for free on the Android platform.

Teeth Maestro and PTI
So whether one uses the Internet online through a computer or a cell phone, Tehreek-e-Insaf seems to be using every technological mean in the market to reach out to its future voting masses in and outside Pakistan. During its recent rallies PTI supporters and bloggers used their online sources to help build following using a variety of strategies. The following image is an invitation to supporters for the recent PTI rally in Karachi on 25th December 2011 decorated on Teeth Maestros' blog here:
Image courtesy Teeth Maestro's Blog here.
If Teeth Maestro talks about you on his blog, consider the world following you from that very moment. This Dentist cum blogger is a leading blogging pulse for the domestic political social media discussions and an inclination towards the Movement for Justice is evident through his postings. This is a prime example of the online changing allegiances towards a rapidly evolving political force in Pakistan by the online content contributors in the country.

Pakistan Muslim League PML(N) still in the hot seat but not cooking well?
The second political actor in the race is twice ex-Prime Minister Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N), one of the long standing Muslim League leaders but a very close ally of the country's establishment in the past though was overthrown in his last tenure by his own self-appointed Military Chief's of Staff General (Retired) Mr. Pervaiz Musharraf. Mr. Nawaz Sharif and his brother Mr.Shahbaz Sharif made a strong comeback in the post-Musharraf democratic elections but fell victim to the sympathy vote casted by the majority of Pakistani voters in lieu of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto's assassination. 

The PML(N) ended up in coalition federal government while forming the ruling party government in its native Province of Punjab but its conflicting participation and statements with the Pakistan People's Party led coalition government has deterred the majority of young Pakistani citizenry now inclining towards Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party. Not being able to back claims has been the major drawback for PML(N) that has resulted in its own parliamentary and party members to breakaway and join Imran Khan in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. 

PML(N) is now seemingly using its provincial government infrastructure to initiate and lead a Social Media effort that is not displaying much support online as the online Pakistani Social Media crowd is already bending towards  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's Social Media revolution.

PML(N) official website mostly portraying its leader's imagery is located here. Mr. Shahbaz Sharif has a Facebook Page here and Twitter following here that appears to be more personality driven than party driven but lacking the following that Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf enjoy online. It is also widely claimed by the Pakistani media and Civil Society that current Chief Minister of the Province of Punjab Mr. Shahbaz Sharif may also be enjoying the benefit of his government's machinery to support his online presence as opposed to Mr. Imran Khan's Social Media Team originally composed of volunteer PTI party supporters.

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) looking for a way out?
There is not much to say about this party as the world reads about its current state in the media everywhere. PPP remains the ruling party in the federal government of Pakistan but on the Internet, the PPP both as a party and government is taking the worst bashing ever with the whole political and activist online crowd giving it the best they can for the party's turmoil and blurring grip on the affairs of the country at all levels. The Social Media scene here is not the only one to blame as the Electronic and Print Media across the country is treating the issue in a similar fashion and public opinion appears to be concluding to a similar stance both online and offline.

The web is filled daily with coverage of criticism and hell seems to break loose on the PPP on every political space on Facebook, Twitter or Blog that follows the politics of Pakistan. Even non-blogging or tweeting citizens online are updating their statuses scolding the government for losing focus of all the issues that concern the non-feudal and non-capitalist middle and poor class citizenry of Pakistan.

PPP appears to be losing its ground both offline and online while any Social Media strategy on their part does not seem to be working as the Pakistani Social Media crowd is already displaying their allegiance to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Collateral damage but is it so for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf?
While Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is building up as Pakistan's most recent but most progressive political party, it is heavily inflicting damage to the traditional Pakistani political stage for the better or worse. Most of its damage is being absorbed by the Pakistan People's Party as it is finding hard day by day to counter the massive force Imran Khan is gradually building up. 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is breaking old political relationships in all the political parties across the country inviting and opening arms to the old, experienced, seasoned and traditional politicians from PML and PPP whom feel betrayed by their parties or seek homage to a non-corrupt and more transparent and accountable political and governance future for Pakistan. This is also raising eyebrows within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf whether these old faces will support the new vision of the party.

Media now bending over to Imran Khan and a renewed vision of Justice with the progressive Tehreek-e-Insaf 
It is evident from what goes on in the electronic media in Pakistan that all media forces are slowly bending towards Imran Khan's political wave building a national thrust of support across all channels for backing Imran Khan. This is turning into a grueling battle for all political parties that somehow continue to believe that the traditional hierarchy of the Politics in Pakistan can be sustained through their misled and impoverished doctrines of class and religious confusion and oppression. 

Marking Political Social Media milestones for Pakistan
Tehreek-e-Insaf 's recent political rallies in the cities of Lahore on 30th October and in Karachi on the 25th of December 2011 launched the party's Social Media team to the nation. The team appeared to really have done an amazing job keeping the interest going, gathering the masses, keeping the masses in other cities and outside the country aware on what was happening on the ground though Twitter and Livestream while maintaining a storm of blog posts across the Pakistani Internet scene.  In fact, Tehreek-e-Insaf is the only political party that publicly recognizes its Social Media Team on its main website at

Imran Khan definitely has made a mark on the Social Media history in Pakistan with his progressive Social Media Team that has over nine social media managers, a writers group and an IT Head. More interestingly, all the members of the party's Social Media Team have public profiles on Tehreek-e-Insaf's official website showing that the party honors and values them. This breaks the traditional political facade of not recognizing the efforts of party workers. Imran Khan is definitely striving for a new approach to party worker team building as well as portraying the contributions of these members to the public at-large. 

Imran Khan and his party the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf definitely have a strong Social Media strategy in place. Its not rocket science but its definitely working wonders for PTI and building a strong online following that might just work for their elections. 

Wake-up call for all political actors online or offline
For all those political leaders and their parties that lack interest or do not follow the Social Media in Pakistan should be alerted that the largest voter base of Pakistan irrespective of their rural or urban location are following and commenting on the political carnage in Pakistan. These young minds are reading, commenting and creating the political social media scene in Pakistan generating interest across the country building a political revolution online in support of the Imran Khan's progressive and revolutionary movement for the people in the form of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.   

Social Media Political Elite of Pakistan online and exposed
Though this may sound like some celebrity's sex video being exposed but the interest that is evolving online with regards to politics in Pakistan gives a similar feeling. Almost every political actor in Pakistan is trying to grab the opposition by their neck and shake the sanity out of them only displaying how scared and unsure everyone is about the future of politics and governance in the country. 

The damage that Tehreek-e-Insaf has already inflicted to all the political actors across Pakistan by employing strong and progressive approaches online and offline to both the electronic media and new media shows the opportunity for Social Media to help determine the future political direction of the country. The politics in Pakistan is cultivating a new, highly aware and socially responsible young Pakistani crowd online that is slowly aligning its allegiance to the Tehreek-e-Insaf. 

The Social Media young are seen politically determined across all Social Media channels and outlets being used by Pakistanis that there is hope with Imran Khan. To what extent is this a reality will only be determined when the election dates are announced and the nation takes to the polling booths. Until then, its a lot of drama and rhetoric with political actors in a struggle to expose each other as if it was the end of the world for them!    

Getting the better of Human Drama in Pakistan
Social Media is continuing to play an important part in shaping the future of Politics and Governance in Pakistan. This is Change happening in Pakistan at its best and this time its the young online crowd building a silent revolution through a frequency even more interesting than the Arab Spring and occupy movements!

So far, the Government has been supportive of Imran Khan to hold his rallies across the country without any human casualties or terrorist attack attempts. Imran Khan's peaceful march towards true political democracy and governance appears to be very stable as opposed to the numerous deaths and brutality witnessed during the Arab Spring and other protests across the world.

I do not know if 2012 is the year during which the world ends but it does seem that the political drama in Pakistan is set for a big chaotic ride and there is hope at the end of the road so one must stay online to follow the developments while not forgetting that each and every vote matters!

Wake up Pakistan and join in defining the Political Social Media Revolution in Pakistan.


  1. PTI social media team has a long way to go - its a group of dedicated volunteers who are passionate for the cause

  2. In situation like this, the social media plays an important role.

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  3. Everyone has the potential to do something better for the country. We should make efforts for a better Pakistan
    pakistani politician of islamabad

  4. "according to this post by a PTI supporter here * Sorry but the image and website were removed!"

    1. I am NOT a PTI supporter
    2. My blog and everything else on it are very much present and have NOT been removed.
    3. I did not express distrust. I only pointed out a very important problem.


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