you're reading...

Social media’s impact on Pakistani politics and political twitterati

There has been a lot of talk in the media about PTI’s (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) social media footprint and their successful online campaigning when it comes to any political event of substance in Pakistan. To the effect that Facebook and Twitter have been primary source of information in Pakistan bypassing dozens news channels. This, to some extent, is attributed to real-time and unadulterated content coming directly from people on the ground. People’s journalism is on the rise.

One noteworthy mention here of PTI’s ability to successfully cash in the social media opportunity (despite harsh criticism in the mainstream print and electronic media) with transforming itself from a small party to current status of one of the main contenders for power in the coming elections. PTI’s four official facebook pages generate a total footprint of 1.5 million and Imran Khan is followed by 0.4 million people on twitter. Other political parties followed the trail and are trying to establish themselves on social media but have not met with much success in the masses.

Below I tried to compile some notable Pakistani politicians active on twitter (in no particular order) and their net worth in terms of engaging the audience:

Imran Khan @ImranKhanPTI (PTI)
The most followed person in Pakistan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, with his twitter followers reaching 0.4 million in number. Imran Khan uses twitter to voice his opinions and post updates of his political activities. He is often seen taking photos for his twitter updates.

Shireen Mazari @ShireenMazari1 (formerly PTI)
Former PTI member and leader. A nationalist and strong critic of US foreign policy.

Masood Sharif Khattak @MSharifKhattak (PTI)
Former chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and member of PPP. Masood Sharif Khattak is one of the most prominent voice of southern KPK. His native district Karak has one of the highest literacy rates in Pakistan i.e. 95%.

Marvi Memon @marvi_memon (PMLN)
Pakistani political queen of twitter before it went mainstream. Highly irritable and blocks anybody who criticizes her. She must have blocked almost half of Pakistanis on twitter. Her tweets are more of a  philanthropist than a politician.

Arif Alvi @ArifAlvi (PTI)
Secretary General of PTI. Most updates are about party’s political activities and opinions.

Khurram Dastagir Khan @kdastgirkhan (PMLN)
Perhaps the only noteworthy member of PMLN who has an idea what twitter is for. Shares news, opinions and party’s agenda mostly.

Bushra Gohar @BushraGohar (ANP)
The lone ANP warrior on twitter defending their government’s incompetence. Bushra gives voice to KPK’s people.

Fawad (Hussain) Chaudhry @fawadchaudhry (PPP)
At one time ardent supporter of General Pervez Musharraf known for blasting Nawaz Sharif and PMLN is not mostly criticizing judiciary for pressing government over corruption cases of PPP’s leadership. Then again, that’s what he’s been taken in for.

Sharmila Faruqi @sharmilafaruqi (PPP)
PPP Sindh Minister and human rights activist. Sharmila Faruqi deserves accolades for taking flak of all kinds from all sorts of people but still keeping composure and not blocking anyone. Over time she has learnt to deal with the harshest of criticism with witty retorts.

Nadir Leghari @nadirlegharipti (PTI)
Former member of Sindh assembly and current President of PTI Sindh. Very active and responsive to comments and quesitons.

Maiza Hameed @MaizaHameed (PMLN)
Member Punjab assembly. Heads PMLN’s social media team. Most updates are pro-PMLN without much value.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif @MaryamNSharif (PMLN)
Daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Many believe PMLN’s social media robots run the account. In the first six months the average tweets/hour were 62!

Faisal Subzwari @faisalsubzwari (MQM)
Member Sindh assembly. Criticizes Taliban and share Urdu poetry gems. Engages in discussions a lot.

Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed @ShRashidAhmed (AML)
Finally, the loudmouth arrived on twitter in 2012! His twitter account is an effort to muster up support of his new political party Awami Muslim League. Strong critic of Federal and Punjab government.

Jahangir Khan Tareen @JahangirKTareen (PTI)
Industrialist and Politician. Jahangir Khan Tareen has been heading PTI’s policy wing and mostly posts updates on policies and engages in related discussion.

Shehbaz Sharif @CMShehbaz (PMLN)
Chief Minister of Punjab province. The account is run by his media cell and only broadcasts his activities.

Ijaz Ul Haq @ijazulhaq (PMLZ)
Former member parliament and Minister of Religious Affairs. He is most active when Pakistan Cricket team is playing.

Rehman Malik @SenRehmanMalik (PPP)
The only official account you should not abuse while in Pakistan since he head Interior Ministry. Lies come directly from his own blackberry (which he often uses to take photographs of terrorist clad as star-wars jedi).

Salman Taseer (late) @SalmaanTaseer (PPP)
The pioneer of Pakistani politicians who started using Twitter for public exposure. He was known for his liberal views and quick retorts.

Pervez Musharraf @PMPakistan (APML)
Former President and military dictator.

Syed Munawwar Hasan @SMunawarHasan (JI)
Head of Jamaat-e-Islami, the biggest religious party. Most updates are party activities and policy statements.

Imran Ismail @ImranIsmailPTI (PTI)
Deputy Secretary General PTI and media advisor to Imran Khan. Iman Ismail regularly participates in political debates on electronic media and drags them onto Twitter.

Jamal Khan Leghari @JamalLeghari & Awais Leghari @akleghari (PTI)
Known as Leghari brothers and sons of former President Farooq Leghari. Give a voice to most under-developed areas of southern Punjab.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari @BBhuttoZardari (PPP)
Co-chairperson of PPP. Most tweets come from far far away lands not known to Pakistanis. Political value: 0

Faisal Karim Kundi @faisalkkundi (PPP)
Deputy Speaker of National Assembly. Faisal Kundi mostly tweets about political activities in his native town Dera Ismail Khan (DIK).

Asad Umar @Asad_Umar (PTI)
The Steve Jobs of Pakistan and the highest paid CEO of the country is not busy making economic policy for PTI. He shares his personal experiences and activities on Twitter.

For my own easy, I created a twitter list of Pakistani politicians of note who use Twitter. You can access my PakPoliticians list here and another one by @SMehdiShah here.

Further read: 
Wajahat S. Khan (@WajSKhan) of CNBC Pakistan wonders if social media can propel Imran Khan to power in Pakistan?

About Yasir Hussain Sheikh

Sells carpets and crunches numbers. Ecommerce and geospatial analytics.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


October 2012


%d bloggers like this: