The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is preparing to hold nationwide intra-party elections on September 25, with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) first in line.
The elections will be conducted on the Union Council, tehsil and district level.Four provincial leaders of the PTI have expressed willingness to contest the intra-party elections for provincial leadership. These include former president Asad Qaiser, former political advisor to the party chairman Shoukat Yousafzai, and Masood Sharif Khattak and Pervaiz Khattak.
Qaiser joined the PTI in 1996 and was one of the founding members of the party in K-P. Previously, he was an active member of Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing and leader of Pasban in K-P.
Qaiser became prominent when former PTI chief in K-P Akbhar Khan Matta resigned after losing the elections in 2008. Matta had gone against the party, which had boycotted the previous elections.
Sources told The Express Tribune that Qaiser would be a strong contender for provincial president because of his relationship with old party workers.
Qaiser also facilitated the establishment of the Insaf Student Federation (ISF) and Insaf Youth Wing (IYW), which are said to play a decisive role in the upcoming elections. Many party workers, however, are unsatisfied with Qaiser, saying he lacks leadership skills.
A former provincial irrigation minister, Khattak, was previously part of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and later PPP-Sherpao (PPP-S) before joining the PTI in December 2011.
He is said to have significant electoral influence in his constituency, PK-14, from where he was elected twice for the provincial assembly. He was also a district nazim in Nowshera during the local government system.
Khattak joined the PTI after the party held its largest rally in Lahore on October 30. I
Sources say that the real contest in the intra-party election will be between Qaiser and Khattak. Khattak may be at the receiving end because of changing political affiliations over the years, but his past experience in politics could help him gain supporters.
Yousafzai, a journalist by profession, is among the founding members of the PTI in the province. He still lacks prominence in the party, which he joined in 1996. He contested for the provincial assembly in 2007 on the PTI’s ticket and lost.
Party sources told The Express tribune that he might support Pervaiz Khattak at the last moment. Before declaring his candidacy in these elections, he was Imran Khan’s political advisor and resigned following his announcement.
Masood Sharif Khattak
Masood Sharif Khattak claims to contest for the provincial chief with a vision to bring the party on the ‘winning track.’ He joined the PTI on November 11, 2011 and is a member of the party’s central executive committee.
“I have a military, bureaucratic and political background, and am better placed than other candidates,” he said. He was the former director general of the Intelligence Bureau in 1996. Later he was sent to jail for three years on charges of wiretapping conversations between government officials. After Pervez Musharraf’s coup in 1999, Masood was released and contested the 2002 general elections on a PPP ticket.
Masood opposed the National Reconciliation Ordinance and developed differences with the PPP. In December 2007, he resigned from the PPP’s central executive committee and his position as the party’s central vice president.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2012.