PPP wins big on Friday, Jang terms the elections ‘a major setback’ for the party

Mar 3rd, 2012 | By | Category: The News

Party positions in Senate

By all accounts, PPP emerged as the clear winner in Friday’s Senate elections. The Nation carried the headline, ‘PPP, allies win 2/3 majority in Senate’. Dawn carried the headline, ‘Ruling coalition gains a foothold in Senate’, and Pakistan Today announced that PPP, allies sweep Senate polls. Even The News from page carried the headline, PPP emerges as largest party in the Senate. But readers of The News might actually come away with the idea that PPP suffered a major setback in Friday’s elections. Why? Because that’s what they reported.

Despite the clear victory for PPP in the Senate elections, The News ran not one but three different stories about a single PPP candidate who did not win his seat. Carried on the front page, the headline reads, Loser Gill gives a major setback to PPP in Punjab. On page 5, The News carried a story by Asim Yasin that claims ‘Ignorance costs PPP Senate seat, and even a third article by Faizan Bangash that claims ‘Party made Gill scapegoat for Babar victory, fume Jiyalas’. This article even suggests that Gill’s loss was possibly due to ‘poor election strategy’, an allegation that might raise eyebrows considering the party swept the polls. Other parties might be wishing they had an election strategy so bad that they could win a majority.

What is curious about the The News claim of ‘fuming jiyalas’ over the ‘poor election strategy’ is not only that PPP was the biggest winner in the elections, but that even another article in The News describes a sea change in the selection of ticket holders by PPP leadership to give more preference to lesser known party workers.

“The party has always given seats to the workers in the Senate polls; however, this time, far more representation has been given to them,” said the winning candidate, Saeed Ghani, who is a well-known trade union activist in Karachi.

The delighted workers showered rose petals on Saeed Ghani and the other victorious candidate Mukhtiar alias Aajiz Dhamra. Some of the workers, overwhelmed by emotions, even carried the newly-elected senators on their shoulders.

This hardly sounds like ‘fuming jiyalas’ upset over ‘poor election strategy’ that caused the party ‘a major setback’.

It is no secret that there is no love lost between Jang Group and PPP. But that should not be reflected in reporting. If The News wants to publish pieces on the opinion page critical of one party or another, that is one thing. But publishing multiple articles about a single loss following an otherwise very successful election just seems petty. If opposition parties want to try to spin Friday’s results as a defeat for the PPP, they have their own media cells to do that. They don’t need Jang Group‘s help.

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