LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreeik-i-Insaf on Tuesday appointed four regional presidents in the Punjab. Abdul Aleem Khan, party’s candidate for the NA-122 by-election, was appointed as the head of the central region, including Lahore and Gujranwala divisions. Amer Kiyani, a founding member of the party from Rawalpindi, was appointed as the head of the northern region (Rawalpindi and Sargodha divisions); Chaudhry Muhammad Ashfaq, a former district nazim of Toba Tek Singh, of the western region (Sahiwal and Faisalabad divisions) and Ishaq Khan Khakwani, a former state minister, of southern region (Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions).
Party leaders in the province said that the central Punjab region would be the focus of attention during the upcoming agitation against the federal government being launched as an anti-corruption campaign.
In a statement on Tuesday, Aleem Khan urged party workers to gear up for the movement set to begin on August 7. He had earlier been at the forefront of the PTI’s campaign against alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Leader of the Opposition in the Provincial Assembly Mehmoodur Rasheed said the party would mobilise its workers across the country but central Punjab districts would play a vital role in agitation. He said a strengthened organisation in the region would be crucial to the movement.
After the national convention held last week in Islamabad, Rasheed said the party planned to hold regional conventions in the coming days to mobilise its district-level leadership and workers for the movement.
Despite the announcement of regional heads in the province, in its initial phase the accountability movement is likely to focus on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the PTI heads the provincial government. Former PTI Punjab president Ejaz Chaudhry said the campaign in the Punjab would begin once party’s organisational structures had been made fully operational to ensure effective mobilisation of workers.
He said the decision to appoint regional heads had taken some time. The party could not afford any more delays given the political situation in the country, he added.
Building on the momentum gained through announcement of new leadership in the province, PTI central information secretary Naeemul Haq also announced on Tuesday that the party would organise protest marches every week starting from August 7. The first such march would be from Rawalpindi to Peshawar.
Earlier, PTI chief Imran Khan had warned party workers that nominations to various party offices would be final. Tuesday’s announcement of appointment of four regional heads had come in view of differences within the party’s top-tier leadership over the leadership of its provincial organisation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2016.