Islamabad, Pakistan: There is a debate going on in social media and in mainstream media about whether PTI will contest the forthcoming general elections in 2024 or will run away at the last moment from contesting elections.
One can find strong arguments in favor of the possibility that PTI shall contest General Elections 2024 with full force because it is a matter of its survival former Chairman Imran Khan is a fighter and he has refused to bow down to circumstances and he had directed his followers to come out and vote for the party on February 8, 2024. The stated position of PTI to reject electable is also a popular social position against all-time power seekers. Imran Khan has directed his followers not to vote for independent candidates because they would join the A.B. or C party after winning the elections. Another popular discourse is that the majority of over 20 million new voters are against the status quo and will vote against electable and the situation will favor PTI. This possibility is not unfounded and can surely hit PMLN badly because popular Mian Nawaz Sharif is sturdily depending upon electable in forthcoming general elections in 2024.
Who those believe that PTI will run away from General Elections 2024 argue that PTI is no more a party that has the human resources to contest elections as its core team had already disintegrated and all electable PTI gathered in 2018 had left this sinking fleet. They believe that Imran Khan has already lost interest in General Elections 2024 because he knows that forthcoming elections could not help him out of jail. A narcissist like him would not tolerate anyone else getting benefits at his place when he has a meager chance in the future to get hold of the party as Chairman. They argue that narcissists seek out positions of power and Imran Khan knows that he has lost power for all times to come. They are of the view that PTI does not have a party hierarchy that is needed for polling day arrangements and contesting elections does not seem feasible for PTI. They say that there are many reasons for the situation, and the sad events of May 9 are the main ones. If we look at the aftermath of the events of May 9, the structure of the party is in disarray, many old ideological leaders have lost the interest in party.
Instead of being influenced by “Far or Against arguments” about PTI’s contesting General Elections 2024, one should review the empirical situation.
In the proposition “whether PTI will contest 2024 elections?”, has two components to be explained—PTI and general elections 2024. When the component “PTI” is further explained, everybody understands that PTI is no longer a hierarchical party or group after the May 9 mutiny, and thousands of its former members, former elected parliamentarians, and silent voters have already deserted this party. PTI was a bunch of electables who were elected in the 2018 General Elections with “bat” as their symbol so electable left the party and have already joined PMLN—the favorite party of general elections 2024 as PTI was for general elections of 2018.
PTI’s hardcore followers and leaders were arrested due to their direct or indirect involvement in the May 9 mutiny and silent voters believe that PTI miserably failed to get any change while 42 months in power rather PTI ruined old Pakistan and did not bring any New Pakistan. Now even those who followed Imran Khan blindly now expressed their hate against the policies of Imran Khan as the inexplicable policies of him are beyond comprehension. The time has exposed the fact that the party that is playing the tune of democracy lacks democratic tendencies in its ranks – the recent intra-party elections are clear proof of this. Under the new Chairman, even PTI followers are asking each other will the new leadership be accepted by the people on polling day. The politics in Pakistan revolves around the influence of political families in Punjab and Sindh and in KPK and Balochistan candidates get votes based on religious, linguistic, and regional basis. Where does PTI stand in these brutal realities of Pakistani politics?—-practically nowhere indeed. Moreover, how will PTI leadership mobilize people based on just an anti-establishment narrative? is another important question when the majority of its voters have rejected the May 9, 2023 mutiny attempt.
Grouping in the party is also a factor and it is seen by choosing a former PPP candidate as the new chairperson by forgetting PTI workers during intra-party elections and ignoring other political leaders. Won’t it be political suicide to go to the election with such stake realities and disunity?
Intra-party elections confirmed again that Imran Khan is not ready to let the party and its workers decide the fate of the party and he wants to hold all power in his hand because this is part of his personality and history confirms that no cult leader and narcissist has ever shared his popularity and power with anyone till his/her death.
Ramani Durvasula who is a psychologist, professor of psychology at California State University, and author of several books including the famous one “Don’t You Know Who I Am: How to Stay Sane in the Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility” writes that narcissism and hypocrisy go hand in hand because hypocrisy is a form of entitlement and most narcissists believe the rules don’t apply to them, even though they are quick to enforce them on everyone else. This indicates that narcissists never share power and believe that (like flouting of rules in PTI inter-party elections) every word that comes out from their mouth is the rule itself. Durvasula believes that narcissists are some of the most challenging personalities to be around and some of the most common narcissistic traits include grandiosity, superiority, entitlement, and a lack of empathy, therefore accepting others in power around narcissists is Impossible for them.
One can raise a question that if Imran Khan will boycott the General Elections 2024 why then PTI is so aggressive and active on social media as it was ever before this platform indicates that millions and millions of voters are just waiting for polling day to “win the election with two-third majority” for Imran Khan?
One can also ask that if PTI is now a story of bygone days, then why is it still ruling the social media and former Chairman Imran Khan is still the most popular personality in the social media sphere of South Asia? These questions need to be answered. A recent study titled “A Relational-Based and Multiverse Perspective on Leader Narcissism and Follower Engagement Using a Machine Learning Approach” co-authored by Dimitra Karanatsiou, Paul Hanges, Jennifer Golbeck, and Athena Vakali is a useful document to answer the above-mentioned questions and to understand the exceptionally strong appearance of PTI on social media.
The study indicates that destructive leadership emerges when there is a match between leader and follower traits in an environment conducive to unethical behavior. Authors find that social media is the best possible “conducive environment” for such behavior. Authors believe that the social media environment can be described as dynamic (i.e., updates continuously throughout the day), uncertain (e.g., personal attacks can be made against the original poster), and chaotic (e.g., the chain of logic might deteriorate into name-calling or a meaningful exchange of ideas). In other words, the social media environment is conducive to destructive leadership (narcissistic leadership).
Now one can understand why PTI gives special attention to its appearance on social media and why this platform is so useful and successful for spreading PTI’s generated hate among the masses.
An impartial look into the affairs that would Imran Khan boycott General Elections 2024 just a week before the polling day seems a strong possibility because ground realities and empirical data support the proposition that PTI has lost the hierarchy needed for a political party to contest the general elections and Imran Khan does not want rather cannot see anyone else in power using his platform because this is the last possibility for a narcissist to accept.