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Dynamics of PTI #ShutDownToRebuild Strike in Karachi

The strike call for 12th December in Karachi was a tough & a strategic call made by Chairman Imran Khan on 30th Nov, it was a bold move to tactically increase pressure on the PML govt to rethink its negotiation strategy viz-a-viz to proceeding with an independent investigation of alleged election rigging in 2013. If peaceful protests for 120 days is not enough of a pressure tactic, it seems the govt needs to be physically shown that this is injustice in acceptable and proof of this contagious movement has taken a bigger momentum resonating all across Pakistan — Faisalabad on the 8th, Karachi on the 12th and soon Lahore on the 15th – Shutdowns are Pressure tactics to push for justice in Pakistan. What does one have to do, to get an investigation started in Pakistan? — When Push comes to shove, it seems shoving is then the order of the day.

Many supporters have a strong disagreement as to why PTI choose to adopt this strike strategy in Karachi, which to them resembles so much like the MQM-thug style politics and to make matters worse, images of burning tires were not helping as it portrayed violence, seemingly on the same track with MQM’s 30-min barrle of the gun-based shutter down calls seen too often in Karachi. Each Karachiite knows very well that the was a fundamental difference between MQM calling a strike and PTI appealing to people to join in a ShutDownToRebuild movement – Everyone knows that MQM uses militants on bikes roaming the streets and that this display interspersed with aerial firing, simply serves as the threat to establish the “voluntarily closure” along with other unfortunate tactics, they need not have to “work hard” to convince people, the guns do the convincing part quite well. PTI on the other hand DOES NOT SUBSCRIBE TO MILITANCY.

To organize the lockdown one must know the grass root dynamics of planning and ensuring a strike and I give credit to the PTI Karachi leadership to have understood the dynamics, planned well and executed to near perfection.

Before the shutdown there was a long debate on choosing to adopt the need to use tire burning strategy, but after a long discussion & a majority vote PTI teams allowed limited use of this method only for the sake of visual optics, but strictly NO threatening militant / armed strategy — only peacefully block roads, lobby aggressively, campaign and convince the public to join Imran Khan’s call to rebuild Pakistan. On the tire burning issue, I’m aware of many valid objections, I personally was a silent 50-50 spectator, personally felt we need to create the “environment” to be successful. So in part I would say I agreed, and hence I stand by the judgment call and the reason to write this blog post to explain why it was needed

A strike call in Karachi should be understood on a number of critical stages


Strong campaigning for the cause, car rallies, flyer distribution, aggressive media statements & timely press conference all helped keep the public informed of the plan.  MQM played its usual dirty role, we had confirmed reports of sector in-charges calling shop keepers all evening, the day before, threatening them to open their shops on Friday in defiance or else…. There were also interesting rouge elements across Site & Korangi where a few armed men in bikes identifying themselves as PTI, giving out flyers (reportedly) and threatening to close business, what I found odd was that they came identified themselves as PTI (why?) credibility or discredibility tactic? the biggest giveaway is that PTI organisation in Site & Korangi is next to non-existent.  I confirmed that these were Anti-PTI rogue elements masquerading as PTI, threatening and irritating the factory owners to have a reverse effect and factory owners were ready to open their business instead. So with a number of Anti forces working against us, we were genuinely worried that the pressure from sector in-charges & the rouge elements would have a drastic effect on our cause

7am: Establish your barricades

This is the most critical point — only die-hard activists are motivated enough to get up early and come out to the rally for support, usually means leadership and active workers, which in PTI are many but had to have the organization stress tested & divided over 30+ locations would have been a dicey gamble — To embrace a non-tire burning blockade you need the physical presence of hundreds of supporters to have “a convincing” road block, but early in the morning at 7am we in our hearts knew “hundreds” would not show up, so it was important to create enough visual optics to show the media that roadblocks were in effect. Had if we depended upon hundreds of workers showing up at 30+ locations, and tragical if they had not turned up, the visual optics would have been weak and the media & public would have perceived it as a failing strike

7am to 9am: Abundant Media and Social Media Hype

Immediately from 7am the social media team (hats of to the PTI Social Media teams) which started flooding images of blocked important intersection and sadly yes there were some tire burning images too, the media picked up these stories and started showing “favorable optics of blocked roads all across Karachi”. Tire burning provides easy optics of a blocked road, combined with the presence of PTI supporters (even a handful) ensured the media saw blocked roads and conveyed the same to the public – Tire burning in my opinion (biased) has no destruction of public property, it is visual impression which we needed to extract and nothing more probably , if you will, staged for the media. From 7am to 9am the media gathered enough story material to ensure the next phase of the strike to be successful

9am: Public wakes up to news of blocked streets and is convinced to stay home

Around 9am the public slowly tumbles of out of their bed to open their TV sets or social media feeds, showing images of blocked roads, with these optics the public is slowly convinced that the PTI has succeeded in establishing, it almost convinces the indivdiual to skip work and stay home, it is also then that to the relief to the timid shopkeepers who had received threatening calls from the sector in-charges to have the courage to say that they tried but could not get through, seemingly a credible excuse to overcome the fear & threat from MQM. They choose to stay home as well

10am: Some people attempt, some get thru, most stay home

With most public staying home – very few, tries to tempt their luck, PTI is not a fear-based threat and I personally saw many people approaching arguing and trying to convince to allow them passage, many were turned back, a few lucky to have convinced someone on some roadblock to let them through, committed travellers found alternate routes and by-passed the blocks and it is good they had clear and safe passage on those avenues – eg – Teen Talwar intersection was blocked by Ch Khaliq-uz-zaman road (Submarine-Askari-1) road was open.

Sindh Police / Traffic Police support

I will admit, and give credit where due, Sindh police was very cooperative, the only condition being, PTI be non-violent and in turn the police will ensure non-violence.  The police was helpful that they setup barricades around the dharna locations diverting traffic to alteranate routes instead, infact they partly helped us, traffic diversions ahead of the blockades ensured most of the traffic pressure not to reach and challenge our locations, avoiding any uncessaray confrontation, had if these diversions not transpired, pressure on our roadblock volunteers would have increased and unnecessary confrontation, leading to issues as seen in Faisalabad

11am onwards: PTI Supporters join in hundreds to build human barricades

Our supporter is a causal and a little timid Karachitte, which has seen unimaginable violence – waking up a little late, not being able to go to work, seeing peaceful protests, they start coming out to show support, had if this same sizable crowd showed up at 7am human chains would have been enough to barricade streets and no tire burning needed, but PTI reality is different, and the crowd buildup at all/most locations was festive, played cricket and just enjoyed waiting for Imran Khan sb’s arrival at 3pm, generally I believe no additional unnecessary tires were burnt beyond 9am or maybe 9:30am – the media hype and the subsequent crowd buildup ensured automatic blockade without violence.

Had if the Strike been a failure

Had if we not strategized well the early morning 7am effort, crowd failed to show up at 7 > no tired burning > no media hype, the public (also influenced by sector incharges) would have been forced to come out and attempt to test the PTI blockads, the weak  human shields would not have sustained the traffic buildup and confrontations started, things could have gotten violent, and to be honest, PTI was never prepared with any form of violence of any sort, except probably sticks lying around for self defense as we denounce the use of guns throughout the organisation, had if the stike tuned out to be a failure the social media instead of harping about burning tyres would have been busy mocking the organizational failure of PTI Karachi to deliver a strike, and a major dent to the Imran Khan’s movement.

So having explained all the critical dynamics necessary for a real-life strike in Karachi i it is not a mere walk in the park, many important aspects have to be factored, I personally would have loved to see no tires burning, but it is in the larger picture necessary visual optics to set the media coverage in the right direction, tires were not public property, and as per all reports I have received there were no forced shop clousre, apart from shopkeepers not reaching there becuase of road blocks, but any who reached their shops opened and probably remained open throughout

As elections are not won on social media, it needs grassroot mobiliaaztion of polling officers etc to spin a victory, even strikes are not achieved on social media, it has needed clever planning avoiding the much known typical MQM-threat-style militant shutdown. PTI showed to Karachi that you can peacefully protest without guns and still be serious to force a city to shutdown

I unequivally appreciate the PTI leadership to have read the situation well – avoided all forms of threats (militant) methods but coordinated the lockdowns understanding the reality and dynamics of the city – SUCCESSFUL PEACEFUL STRIKE BY PTI IN KARACHI

ECP Grave for Extra Ballot printing papers digs deeper from Zero to 9.3 Million

Quite shockingly the more you dig into the ECP hoping to expose the facts of this esteemed organisation entrusted to conduct Free and Fair elections – is fudging numbers – how can on 11th August 2014 ECP is on record to say

Tribune – 11th August: They refuted allegations that ballot papers were printed through private contractors or that even excess ballot papers were printed. They said that there was no question of extra ballot papers being printed, which were printed by a governmental organisation. They added that the provincial election commission did even add one extra ballot paper.

On 28th November responding to PTI’s allegation that 5.5 Million ECP is on record to raise the extra-ballots printing bar from Zero to 0.8 million

The News – 28th November: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has said that in the general elections 2013, only 800,000 additional ballot papers were printed and that too due to technical reasons.

And finally 3 days later on December 1st the extra ballots increase from 0.8 million to 9.3 million

Geo News – 1st December: According to the details, 8.34 million additional ballot papers were printed in the general elections of 1997, 9.4 million in 1999, 9 million in 2008 and 9.3 million in the elections of 2013.

Please ReTweet ECP on 10 Aug 14: No extra ballot papers printed ECP on 28 Nov 14: 8 lac printed ECP on 1 Dec 14: 93 lac printed

— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) December 1, 2014

10 Aug story ECP stated that No extra ballot papers wer http://t.co/6BwypxpvS2 they admit 9.3 m ECP fraud Plz Retweet http://t.co/uFE4sDywrL

— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) December 1, 2014

So in a span of 113 days each on the insistence and reactionary response to Imran Khan’s allegations of rigging the ECP has stumbled into correcting its own lies one after the other, how can facts of extra ballots differ by a mammoth 9.3 Million – a free and fair elections need to document in black and white and present fact in a total unbiased and fair manner – ECP should not be the political voice of the elected status quo, but the genuine voice in protecting the fundamental right of the people of Pakistan ie their right to vote

A Masterful Political Stroke by Imran Khan to Challenge Sharif’s

A masterful political stroke delivered by Imran Khan / PTI he showed flexibility on the resignation issue, but has clearly pushed to force the Sharif’s to conduct an investigation on Vote Audit – IF NOT, then

Lahore shall be blocked on 4th Dec
Faisalabad shall be blocked on 8th Dec
Karachi shall be blocked on 12th Dec
and Pakistan on 16th Dec

Let it be clear that PTI has been against strikes, but when blatant and simple justice is not served even after 110 days, for the fundamental democratic right to a free and fair elections then it rightly chooses to show seriousness and use this as political (but peaceful) pressure tactic to force them to investigate electoral rigging.

Ideally from today PML-N has FOUR days each to avoid the political pressure of strikes – the checkmate on them, if they are genuine, then they should finally start the electoral vote audit – truly initiating an investigation is NOT a guilty verdict ….. or is it?

Tum Bana Kar Raho Gey, In’sha’Allah Naya Pakistan

Pervaiz Rasheed’s response to Zardari’s Swiss Case – needs French translation

Watch the amazing response by Pakistan’s Information Minister when asked about Swiss Necklace Case on Asif Zardari’s corruption judgement – the judgement was issued by the swiss courts on 29th October, the Attorney General on query acknowledge that they received a copy of the order on Nov 24th and even after three days, the Minister deflects the question by saying that they have sent the case for french translation and will respond to in time – this has the hallmark of the typical compromises / Muk-Muka the PPP and PML have done to cover each other and take their turn at looting Pakistan

Swiss Case judgment issued on 29th October
AGP acknowledge receiving case on a question by media on 24th Nov
Interview 28th Nov … translation fanni kharbi kay baais takheer say aamad

Duplicate Serial Number Printing Scam in May 2013 Elections

Ever wonder the extent of Election Rigging – the more you dig the more comes out here in this picture I share over 130 constituencies where a PRIVATE contractor was given a contract to print SERIAL NUMBERS on Ballot papers – In the process of printing he documents how extra serial #’s (read DUPLICATE) were printed

for example if
Employee A was asked to print serial numbers from 00001-10000
Employee B was asked to print serial numbers from 10001-20000
but in the fray Employee H was slipped a request to print 10001-20000 (he has no idea that Employee B was printing this serial #)

Meaning two duplicate serial numbers of 10,000 (#’s 10001-20000) ballot papers

But the main contractor realised this was happening when all Employees came to collect their dihari (pay), they showed him the #’s slips that they had printed and in turn got paid accordingly – documenting the slips the contractor realizes and his books document a major scam and it hovers into thousands for each constituency – these are not extra provisional ballot papers BUT duplicate ballot papers

Not only does PTI have this as documented evidence, we also recorded video evidence of the employees who serialised these numbers…. The extent of pre-poll rigging may be called organized mafia out to loot Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif’s – Defeatist Body Language

The fundamentals of good leadership is to present yourself with a positive and confident body language, be it limited to mere visual optics, but every public opportunity one needs to be on-top of his game and each photograph taken should portray confidence combined with the subtleties of a good tailored suit, well groomed hair and even if need be a dash of good makeup.  All these subtle tactics present the leader well, even if its only for sake of mere pictures

Sadly, every time the people of Pakistan have seen their Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in public and specifically on the global stage, quite shockingly he has come forth with a weak and a defeatist body language, slouched shoulders, fumbling words, mindlessly gazing into thin air, oft caught with a worried & tense frown, very rarely even a smile?  The subtle message coming through the camera lens is of a stressed out leader, leading a failed state.  Granted I may have a bias against him, but I still do remain a Pakistani and he represents my country on the global stage.

Sparing a few scattered “good-PR” shots, most images that end up being circulated, even by the media houses (Dawn, Tribune, SamaaTV), reflect the mindset of an uninspiring leader, if that alone was the problem it may have been ok, but when he goes to speak, then again the potential for a possible inspirational magic dissipates into thin air, for example a few months back during his joint press conference with the US President Obama at the White House, he as seen to be shuffling ragged pieces of paper, honestly there is no harm in carrying notes, but at this global stage the stakes for visual optics are high and a genuine leaders rises up to the occasion, others flounder in search of glory, and the Pakistani Prime Minister did a massive belly flop, in search of glory.

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JKT refutes Pervaiz Rasheed’s baseless accusations, with Evidence

On Sunday during the coverage of PTI Jalsa in Gujranwala, Pakistan Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed addressed a press conference accusing PTI / Imran Khan and specifically PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen for misusing his public limited company JDW aircraft for personal usage of Imran Khan to commute across the country for his campaigning.

Perviaz Rasheed went on record to accuse that JKT nor PTI had paid for the travel and instead the expenses were borne by the shareholders of the public limited company.   The hour long press conference by the Information Minister (preferably known as DisInformation Minister) was taken at face value by the media and run by all media houses as a genuine fact driven accusation.

Within an hour, JKT immediately countered the accusations on twitter

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Quora: Sadruddin Hashwani’s book & Zardari’s reaction

I asked a question on Quora :- Saduruddin Hashwani has written a book accusing Asif Zardari of conspiring against him on many counts. In counter, Zardari has filed an Rs 1 billion defamation lawsuit. What’s going on? …. Care to answer …. .

By the way the book is off the selves in Karachi, as I personally called Liberty Books and they say its “banned” goodness gracious, until then Kindle version would have to do…

Clarification to Media reports on IK’s protocol in Peshawar

Najiullah Khattak closely linked with KPK Govt has clarified the recent controversy by the media which alleged a 16-vehicle convoy for Imran Khan on his visit to Peshawar on 18th Nov.  He clarifies that the convoy primarily belonged with Chief Minister of KPK, and Imran Khan was a passenger in the same vehicle, the other dignitaries he has also listed also accompanied the convoy which only included the necessary vehicles as stipulated for their respective offices

Samaa and Dunya TV reported 16 vehicles entering CM House on Imran Khan’s visit to Peshawar. IK and CM were in the same Vehicle. CM has to follow an essential protocol by the Book that included only 4 vehicles for Security and Intel.

Following these 5, were the vehicles of Chief Secretary (6), IG Police (7), Secretary Health (8), Chief Executives of HMC (9), LRH (10), KTH (11) and Ayub Medical College (12) and a few MPAs and MNAs (13-14-15-16) who were all coming for that meeting. Where is the PROTOCOL except for the essential ones?

By the way, he travelled from inside the Cantt from the Airport and not a single road was blocked – shared by Najiullah Khattak on Facebook

Is Punjab IGP as powerful as his KP counterpart?

The Nation writes - “Many may not believe it but it is a fact that KP police chief, Nasir Khan Durrani is the most powerful IG the country has ever had in a province…” — “The Chief Minister has even surrendered the powers exclusively meant for him under the rules”, Durrani told The Nation – more

What has PTI done in KPK up until now! [Updated Nov 13th]

KPK Govt

[UPDATED 13th Nov 2014]

PTI remains focused on bringing a positive change in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and these progress notes will continue to be updated highlighting the efforts being made throughout the province

HEC “Fed on Ideology” by Bina Shah

An op-ed by Bina Shah spilling the beans as to what triggered the HEC directive to silence – primarily started from the Islamic University UN Model Conference where students smashed the Israeli stall – but typical bureaucracy, they stretched their imagination to ordering the censorship of all/any voice of political reasoning “The state has no right to dictate the ideals of individuals” read the full op-ed by Bina Shah in Dawn – Fed on Ideology