Failure does teach you a bundle of lessons. The only problem with a failure is loss of hope, but if you haven’t lost the hope, you are not defeated. Try, try again.
The common perception is JI has suffered a heavy loss throughout the country. From Karachi to Khyber, JI managed to win only three seats and grabbed less than a million votes throughout the country. It means that people have rejected JI and its ideology. It eventually means that for the past seventy years since its inception, JI has failed to attract masses and therefore it is a proven fact that JI’s ideology doesn’t have a mass acceptability.
Lets dig deep into this matter and think about the reasons of failure from a scratch. JI’s ideology is to bring back the glory to the Muslim world by following Quran and Sunnah. JI wants to implement the model of Islamic state of Madinah. What does people of Pakistan want? Surveys tell that majority of Pakistanis (84 %) want the implementation of Shariah. JI wants to implement the everlasting principles of Islam and it believes that Islamic teachings are still relevant and implementable. So is there anything wrong with this ideology. People of Pakistan and JI are on the same page as far as the ideology is concerned. Liberal fascist might disagree but the ideology of JI remains the same i.e. to implement Islamic system of life in its full form and that is the aspiration of people of Pakistan.
But then again, why did JI fail? It seems we have to dig deeper to find out the reasons of Failure of JI. There must be something wrong with the people of JI because people have rejected them. There must be huge number of hypocrites, corrupt, bad people in the ranks of JI. JI should be a gang of looters and murderers and that’s why people of Pakistan are rejecting them? Facts tell that there is not a single corruption charge on the Parliamentarians, mayors, councilors or any of the office bearers of JI. They are elected leaders hailing from a common background with decades of association with single party and are not turncoat politicians. Surveys tell that despite lacking popular support, JI still enjoys the confidence of masses and a huge number of people think that only JI has got most credible team with not a single allegation of corruption. Friends and foes admit that character of Syed Munawar Hasan is beyond any doubt. People still trust JI with their charities and know that JI has done incredible social work.
Is the problem that JI failed to communicate its message to the masses about votes. Although media was not considering JI as an option, still JI workers went door to door in majority of areas to educate people about their rights and obligations regarding votes. People responded well but voted for someone else. The results didn’t match the response of the people. People knew that the candidates which JI has fielded are the best among the contesting lot.
JI was surely missing from electronic and print media. Journalists who are writing full length articles on the ideology and electoral performance of JI didn’t write few lines before the elections in favour or against JI. In the talk shows, rarely any importance was given to the candidates of JI. Media does have an impact on the mindsets of people. They made it a two party contest and JI was carefully eliminated from the scene. JI surely didnt have enough funds to run ad campaigns while other parties dedicated billions for it. It also a question worth pondering that ECP didnt bar any party on how much it can spend on TV ads. So media made a mindset of the people that they have literally two choices only. Majority of the people don’t have an opinion of their own. They go with the wind. Media (both print and electronic) can manipulate the mindsets of Pakistanis easily. Also, Pakistanis tend to be more emotional. So much so that an uneducated Molvi of a mosque can change their minds in Friday sermons by calling anyone as a Kafir or Qadyani. Sympathy vote for Bhuttos in 2008 have brought us to this day in Pakistan.
But even media was not the biggest problem. The issue is that majority of Pakistani population revolve around the leaders. They are waiting for a charismatic leader who would come and solve their problems. They don’t want to change their attitudes, rather they want a magic stick in someone else’s hands to turn everything bad into good for them. That’s the dilemma. When you ask a common person that why is he avoiding merit, or why is he misusing his authority, the most common reply you will get that everyone else is doing that, therefore he is also doing it. All of them are waiting for some magic to happen so that the condition of Pakistan gets better. They follow someone who can sell a dream, whether the dream is of ‘roti, kapra, makan‘ or something else. JI wants people to change themselves for a long lasting change. Unless people understand this message, they will continue to vote for those who sell best dreams.
So I can safely say that there is nothing wrong with the ideology of JI. While other parties have been eliminated or divided many times, Only JI has survived such heavy electoral defeats. Seventy years of survival is an evidence in itself that it is only the ideology of JI which has kept it intact.
JI is reflecting upon the strategies to eradicate the weaknesses. There is a strong mechanism of internal accountability in JI which is always active. The sign of hope is that workers of JI have come out stronger after this defeat. They are united under the umbrella of JI and electoral symbol Tarazu. In the words of Qazi Hussain Ahmad (RA)‘ Election hara hey, maidaan nahi chora’ JI has lost the elections but has’t left the field. All those I have met after the defeat are dedicated with the mission they have adopted and this is the dilemma for our liberal elite__ they cant digest the fact that despite such a heavy defeat, JI is alive and standing on the ground. Victory and defeat have different parameters for the workers of JI. They demand their ‘ajar’ from Allah almighty and win or loose, JI workers know that they are successful.