Imran triggers a media tsunami | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Imran triggers a media tsunami

Pakistan Press Foundation

LONDON: Imran Khan’s fall from stage at the Lahore rally caused panic all over the world, and every western media outlet gave huge prominence to this news as Pakistani satellite channels devoted their full airtime to this news for several hours on end.

British television channels ran the news for several hours as Khan was rushed to hospital with a skull fracture and sent the media outlets into probably the biggest spin since the start of the chaotic Pakistani election campaigning, triggering a wave of concern and sympathy in Pakistan and outside. Within a few hours of his fall, Imran Khan had been mentioned millions of time on social media such as facebook and twitter.

Overseas Pakistanis remained glued to TV screens for several hours seeing images of the bloodied leader and several roads across British major cities, populated by Pakistanis, were deserted as worried Pakistanis huddled to keep themselves updated on Khan’s health.

The BBC report said that Imran Khan’s fall “prompted a rare moment of fair play on Pakistan’s political playing fields” and “with his fall, the political high ground rose”. It noted that comments poured in to commend Nawaz Sharif on social media after he halted his campaign to show support to Imran Khan.

“The debate is certain to go on until election day and beyond over whether sympathy votes will now go to Mr Khan as he emerges, bandaged, from hospital to continue the fight.”The Guardian report stated that the accident triggered a flood of concern and support on social media, where Khan already has a passionate following.

The paper said: “Although most analysts do not think the PTI will emerge as the biggest party, Khan had appeared to be gaining momentum in recent days with a frantic schedule of back-to-back campaign events that have helped to galvanise a young, middle-class fanbase with huge numbers of supporters flocking to his events. The more seats he wins, the harder it will be for frontrunner Nawaz Sharif, a two-term prime minister who heads a wing of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), to win an outright majority or even enough seats to form a strong coalition.”

The Daily Telegraph analysed that Imran Khan’s absence from the election will be a “bitter blow” to his party. The paper said that Khan has been able to “build a sense of momentum” that change is in the air “with a punishing schedule, crisscrossing the country and holding chaotic, noisy jalsas – or rallies”.

The paper said that Pakistan is awash with sympathy for Khan’s plight and “Imran has shown himself as a man of the people, and his high dive is the price of that”.

The Daily Mail said in a commentary that Imran Khan has emerged “as a wild card candidate, and it is unclear how much his massive personal popularity will translate into votes at the polls. But his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is considered one of the top three parties in the country”.

The Mirror said Imran Khan’s party would be a force in the election, with hundreds of thousands attending his rallies.The Guardian wrote that energy shortages, inflation and insecurity are concentrating the minds of a generation about to vote for the first time. It said that with help from young voters, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI) party is “eating into the lead of the frontrunner, Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N)”.

The paper said that Sharif “would be cruising to an easy victory were it not for the immense political disruption caused by what Khan calls his political “tsunami”. Because the youth vote is thought to be more inclined towards Khan, a high turnout could make all the difference to Khan.”

Source: The News

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