Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): Is Imran Khan’s slogan of ‘Change’ going to be the focal point or it is just rhetoric?
Sohail Warraich (SW): Definitely, and the main reason is that people want a real change. The question arises that what sort of change do the people want; political, social or economic? I think people, mostly, aspire to a big economic change, therefore, whoever assures them economic change, will be the winner.
JWT: You must have gone through the manifestos of political parties so, in your opinion, which political party has focused more on the economy?
SW: Well, PTI and PML (N) both have focused a lot on economy but I think the economic plan of PML (N) is more comprehensive than that of PTI because their main slogan for the election ‘Strong economy, Strong Pakistan’ speaks for itself.
JWT: What are some potential factors to bring about a big change in the electoral results?
SW: I think only voting turnout is going to be a decisive factor to determine any substantial change in the results. For instance, if we take Lahore, in 2008 elections, the turnout was 38 per cent and if it remains unchanged now, then we cannot expect any considerable change in the results except for two seats; NA-122 and NA-126. From NA-122, Imran Khan is himself contesting while NA-126 is considered as a strong centre of PTI voters but results will change only if the turnout increases.
JWT: Do you expect some sort of surprise from PTI?
SW: I think it would be premature to say something on this issue. But, in Punjab, the situation is quite interesting because both parties ‘ PTI and PML (N) ‘ are popular in the same urban constituencies. Moreover, Punjab has a trend of being, mainly, a two-party contest and this time it is going to be PTI vs. PML (N). Now, it all depends on PTI as to how they manage to bring out their voters on the polling day owing to the reason that only PTI has attracted new votes, other parties rely on their traditional vote banks. This election is a big challenge for PTI as a party especially in Punjab and Khyber PK.
JWT: What is the PPP’s strategy for the elections or had they given up?
SW: Absolutely not! PPP didn’t and will never give up. In fact, they have set target of 30 seats from rural Sindh, 24 or 25 from South Punjab and almost 30 seats from rest of the country.
They believe that if they win 80 seats, they will form the next government because they could, possibly, forge alliances to install a coalition government. It’s a fact that wherever PPP exists, it attracts the vote. Moreover, it is also true if we see the BISP network. Then another factor, at least in Sindh, goes in their favour and that is the caretaker government which, for the first time in history, is not anti-PPP.