In defiance from its insistence on allowing only ‘clean’ politicians in its ranks, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf has said that its doors are open to all but only those with ‘good reputations’ will be given election tickets.
“People see PTI as the torch-bearer of political change in Pakistan. Therefore, we will welcome everyone but the parliamentary board will award tickets only on merit,” PTI chief Imran Khan said on Thursday, while addressing a press conference at his home in Lahore’s upscale residential area Zaman Park, organised to announce the induction of as many as 36 former Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid members, ranging from MNAs and MPAs to union council nazims from Sheikhupura district.
Merit, he said, was a good reputation in the person’s constituency, which should make him/her the ‘ideal’ candidate for winning the election.
Speaking about Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Imran said that PTI had sent Qureshi an invitation to join but the former PPP stalwart was yet to make a decision. Earlier, PTI’s Sindh leadership had claimed that Qureshi joining the PTI was a ‘done deal’.
Imran was also careful to state that despite the induction of new, ‘heavyweight’ politicians, PTI’s old workers will remain as central to the party as ever.
Calling the PML-N’s opposition a pretence, Khan ruled out the possibly of his PTI allying with the Nawaz league and also with the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.
The PML-N also seems anything but keen on joining forces with PTI. “Imran is a puppet of the establishment, which is patronising him for its ulterior motives,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters in Faisalabad.
He said that PML-N’s November 20 rally in Faisalabad’s historical Dhobi Ghat will pull a record-breaking number of people.
(With additional reporting by Shamsul Islam in Faisalabad)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2011.