Amidst growing acceptance of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as a powerful political force, certain members of the party feel that underhanded lobbying by key members, growing internal rifts and disorganisation are increasing behind a gleaming public image.
The most apparent example of growing dissent within the party were acts of lobbying and bribery for votes in the intra-party elections by various key members in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Sindh, as observed by PTI members that wished to remain anonymous. It was also observed by members that PTI chief Imran Khan had been unable to curb either of the two issues.
Tarik Ikram, PTI information secretary for Sindh, was the most recent party member to have been removed from his position for attempting to form his own lobby, according to sources.
Nadir Akmal Leghari, president of the Sindh chapter of the PTI, was instrumental in his removal, having the stronger lobby, they added. Ikram was instrumental in arranging Imran Khan’s Hyderabad rally.
Speaking to The Express Tribune Leghari denied any such development saying, “I don’t think Ikram has been sacked, he is working for a think tank, and he himself chose to move from the political limelight.”
Ikram however, denied working for any think tank. “I voluntarily chose to step aside because when I was involved in active politics I saw that I was playing no part in forming the ideology of the party and that is why I left my political position,” he said. Ikram added: “People joining the PTI from other parties, such as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), do politics in their own way. Me and other people who joined the party from a corporate background do not like that kind of ‘street politics’ and therefore chose to step aside,” he said.
Meanwhile, PTI Information Secretary Shafqat Mehmood dismissed the allegations of underhanded lobbying. “The PTI is going to have real elections, in which every member will vote, therefore the contesting candidates are obviously trying to make connections,” he said. PTI elections in Sindh however, that were scheduled for June 30, continue to be postponed while the party reportedly scrambles to increase its scant membership in the province.
Previously, Dr Hassan Raza, PTI’s joint secretary for Sindh was not only removed from his post but also expelled from the party over allegations of corruption in allocation of relief goods that were meant for donation to flood affected areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2012.