Bytes and Ballots

It wasn’t until Maryam Nawaz took reins of PML-N when party realized need to counter cult that PTI has evolved into

Social media has become a powerful tool for political parties in Pakistan, and the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), led by Maryam Nawaz, has made a strategic decision to counter the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in this arena as well.
In the realm of Pakistani politics, the PTI and its leaders were ahead of their time when they recognized that social media would be the next battleground. They invested heavily in creating troll armies to promote their narrative and even resorted to generating Cambridge Analytica-level fake news. Additionally, they supported compliant “journalists” who would advance their cause on YouTube channels, knowing that news serves as a popular form of entertainment in Pakistan.
The more established political parties in Pakistan were slow to catch up and have struggled to combat the PTI’s dominance in the digital space. It was not until Maryam Nawaz assumed the task of reorganizing the PML-N that the party realized the need to counter and confront the PTI’s evolving cult-like following.
Maryam Nawaz’s decision to assemble a team of professionals to rebuild and revitalize the PML-N’s social media wing has already started yielding positive results. Over the past three to four months, it has been remarkable to witness the party take a substantial lead in digital content. Where the PTI once had complete dominance, we now observe a significant surge in the PML-N’s agility in responding to and countering the narrative propagated by the PTI.
What distinguishes the PML-N team from the PTI is not only the quantity of content they produce but also the quality and speed at which they achieve it, with a keen sense of political relevance. The range of content they create and deploy indicates the emergence of a new player on the scene, and the PTI will need to confront this challenge if it wants to maintain its position as a viable political party.
If the PML-N’s new digital setup continues with the same momentum, it won’t take them years to match the capacity that the PTI has built over the past decade. However, the challenge for Maryam Nawaz and her new digital team will be to sustain and maintain this momentum in the long run.