LAHORE: Defending decisions by his party to admit people with some questionable backgrounds including Mian Azhar and Zaffar Iqbal, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said that his part was still under construction and it was vital for party survival that it was open to all points of view when admitting members while filtering out those who were financially corrupt.
Imran Khan was put through the wringer on Express News flagship show Frontline with Kamran Shahid, who put the enigmatic cricketer-turned–politician in front of a young crowd, comprising former party members, school students and aspiring voters to face hard questions over his party policies and the admission of some questionable people into the party fold recently.
Asked about why he had let in people like Zaffar Iqbal, who over saw the Lal Masjid incident, and Mian Azhar who had stood with former President General Pervez Musharraf when he had subverted the constitution.
Khan responded, saying that neither of these men were involved in financial corruption and hence were good choices for the party. “If you enlist politicians, they often come with a baggage,” stressing that it was important to include those who shared the leaders vision of the party. He went on to quote an example from the early days of Islam when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) included people from Makkah, many of those had killed Muslims, but were included because they shared the Prophet (PBUH) vision.
The PTI chief clarified that the party was still under construction, with a cabinet committee yet to be formed and tickets yet to be handed out. He insisted that tickets and posts will only be given out on merit.
Though repeated questions pertaining to new members including the prized capture of Shah Mahmood Qureishi, forced Khan to defend his party, saying unless the party took on board political heavy weights, he would be fighting elections alone, and he would then not be able to acquire the power in parliament that he needed to bring about change.
“You are asking me to close doors to PTI, the party then would not have anyone in the ranks,” he said, before calling the line of questioning as part of a conspiracy against PTI’s membership drive.
Explaining about the candidates that he would field in different constituencies, Khan said that urban centres would see young, educated people handed tickets. Those in rural areas would see members accordingly.
Asked about allegations that he was supported by the establishment, and since PML-N had at one point been supported by the establishment, as was the PML-Q, and why could not the PTI then be open about it, Khan agreed. He said that PML-N and Q were supported by the establishment, but the establishment, Khan argued, could not bring about a tsunami.
One question though made Khan squirm in his seat. A former PTI member from Balochistan, said he had resigned from the party after no clear policy on the crisis ridden province was forthcoming from the party leader. He said that people were being killed in Balochistan, and if there was Indian involvement there, why has not Khan come out and taken a stand on it?
Khan could only supplicate a weak reply saying “the situation in Balochistan is very bad but we cannot do anything till we come in power”.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ