Promised tsunami of change seems to have hit PTI hard

After the new party constitution is approved, new party structure will be announced


Rizwan Asif March 21, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: The promised nationwide tsunami of change seems to have hit the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf hard.

Due to the reservations of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, the advisory committee for good governance made on Prime minister and party chief Imran Khan’s directives, has seen Rabia Aziz removed from her post.

Aziz is considered a close confidante of Special Adviser to the PM Naeemul Haq and Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar.

In addition, Imran, amid rising organisational difficulties and dissatisfaction with PTI Secretary General Irshad Daad’s performance, had nominated long-time party member Saifullah Niazi as chief organiser. Niazi has in turn stopped the recruitment of people on important party positions by Daad.

Meanwhile, after the new party constitution is approved – expected to be next month – the new party structure will also be announced.

A committee formed under the supervision of Daad for political appointments on governmental positions has been frozen, and till the finalisation of the list, suggested changes will not be notified. After Imran’s trusted aide and party secretary general Jahangir Tareen’s disqualification in light of the SC verdict on May 26, 2018, the party chief made Irshad Daad PTI’s additional secretary general.

On October 1, 2018 Daad was made the secretary general. In January 2019, reports surfaced that due to the rising number of issues and controversies facing PTI from within and without, Imran was not happy with Daad’s performance. Meanwhile, Daad and Naeemul Haq’s interference in the Punjab government led to rumours of strains with Usman Buzdar, while objections to lists made by the committee for political appointments on governmental positions also started becoming more noticeable.

Meanwhile, some of the changes expected in the new PTI constitution include the dissolution of regional positions. These will be replaced by party presidents and secretaries general on provincial level, with division, district, tehsil, union council, and primary unit structures below them. In Punjab, there are currently four regional presidents, while in the new structure there will be 9 divisional presidents. There is also no chief organiser position in the party’s current constitution.

On November 6, 2018, Daad made the committee for good governance, serving as its chief, while members included Naeemul Haq, Central Additional Secretary Aijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Aijaz Minhas, and Rabia Zia. The committee was placing political appointees at various non-political positions. The committee’s lists were strongly protested, even from within PTI, and were changed multiple times.

CM Buzdar’s strained relationship with Haq and Daad also made headlines, due to which a notification on dozens of positions was withheld. Sources said that a few days back, in a meeting with the PM in Islamabad, Buzdar expressed his reservations regarding a few of the advisory committee members, especially Haq, after which Imran issued his latest directives.

According to sources, the newly formed committee will consult Niazi and it is likely that a few more important changes will be made.

Speaking to Express, Niazi said that consultations regarding the new organisational structure and constitution are underway. “I’m overseeing these issues…but all decisions will be made after consultations and mutual consent.”

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