Differences in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) party cadres have reportedly led chairman Imran Khan to indefinitely delay intra-party elections, according to some sources.
To justify his decision, the PTI chairman has extended the party’s ongoing membership campaign, without setting a clear deadline for its conclusion.
“Imran assented to the point of view of two party leaders, who had asked the PTI chief to first prepare for the general elections,” said a party leader while talking to The Express Tribune.
According to sources, party president Javed Hashmi and Additional Secretary General Saifullah Niazi, as well as some influential members of the steering committee, had recommended ‘putting off party elections’ for now.
Earlier, Imran had dissolved all regional bodies by constituting regional steering committees in all the provinces, a move that aimed to pave way for holding party elections.
However, the party’s top leadership held many meetings to resolve all outstanding issues but failed to generate an agreement to hold intra-party polls before the next general elections.
“PTI is unlikely to hold elections at the council level before the general elections,” said one of the sources.
New inductees into the party, especially Sikander Hayat Bosan and Javed Hashmi, had advised Imran Khan to focus on the next general elections first.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Bosan said that he had opposed the idea of holding intra-party polls first, since that would take the focus away from the challenge of the general elections.
On the other hand, some leaders from the old guard had wanted intra-party elections to precede the general elections.
According to sources, there were serious differences among the echelons of the party leadership over the exact framework to be followed in formulating a party hierarchy as well.
Party leaders including Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri, Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali, Sikandar Bosan, Jamal Khan Leghari, Mian Azhar and Mian Mehmood Rashid had conveyed their concerns, highlighting the fact that they had not been given any party office as yet.
They had also opposed direct nomination of seven new senior vice presidents as well as a president without holding appropriate consultations.
“The decision not to hold party elections was based on the fact that the party’s constitutional document is still being studied by its legal attorneys,” said a senior leader, while talking to The Express Tribune.
When asked to comment, Khursheed Kasuri dismissed these differences as trivial, adding that all emerging parties undergo such challenges.
“The PTI is an emerging political party so differences are a part of the democratic cycle,” he pointed out.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2012.