ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf [PTI] on Saturday approved some drastic amendments to its constitution to pave the way for the first phase of intra-party elections scheduled to be held on June 11.
The amendments, approved by the party’s Central Executive Committee, provide for holding the next intra-party elections on the basis of direct representation.
In 2012, the PTI held its intra-party elections on the basis of indirect representation where registered party members first elected their representatives, who subsequently voted to choose top leaders.
Another amendment calls for abolishing the requirement of holding elections to all posts simultaneously. The polls would now be held in a phased manner.
In the first phase, more than 2.3 million registered party members would directly vote on June 11 via their cell phones to fill top 13 positions, including the posts of chairman, vice-chairman, secretary-general, four regional presidents [two each from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one each from Balochistan and Sindh].
Through another amendment, powers for the party chief have been enhanced. The chief is now empowered to form a party election commission and appoint chief election commissioner. Also, the chairman’s office would have the mandate to notify returned candidates.
“The [party] chairman has been given additional powers because currently, there are no elected bodies in the PTI,” PTI MNA Asad Umar told The Express Tribune.
He said that party had adopted direct method of intra-party elections as there was a strong demand for it within the party and “above all it’s a more democratic and transparent way” of holding elections.
Some PTI leaders, however, believe these amendments would effectively convert the party’s upcoming intra-party elections into a ceremonial exercise, matching those of other mainstream political parties just to meet the Election Commission of Pakistan [ECP] criteria.
Call for open JIT proceedings
Speaking to media-persons after chairing the CEC meeting, PTI chief Imran Khan reiterated his call for making the proceedings of the Joint Investigation Team probing Panamagate scandal publicly accessible.
Pakistanis, Khan said, had the right to know and the investigations should not be held behind closed doors to end all speculations.
But if this was not possible for some reason, the nation should be informed in detail about the progress of the JIT after every fortnight, he demanded.
Khan said the JIT would submit its first fortnightly report before the Supreme Court, adding these reports should be made public. He said any delay in the completion of investigations would lead to suspicion that the Sharif family wanted to drag out the process to make it less effective.
A statement quoted Khan as saying that during the CEC meeting, the PTI expressed concerns over the potential influence of a sitting Prime Minister on an investigation being conducted by his subordinates.
Commenting on the outcome of the Dawn Leaks issue, Khan said it was more damaging to national security than the Memogate scandal.
The CEC also passed a resolution urging the ECP to grant voting right to overseas Pakistanis, besides calling for electoral reforms, ensuring free, fair and transparent elections.
Khan said the PTI would submit its recommendations over electoral reforms in the Parliamentary Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday. “If our demands are rejected, the PTI will consider other options, including moving the Supreme Court.”
“The PTI will not allow holding 2018 general election on the pattern of the elections held in 2013. This time around, we will give our recommendations well before elections,” he said.