The Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) is still passing through vicissitude within its ranks, as the 90-day target set by the party to bring ‘change’ in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) comes to an end.
While facing internal incoherence, the party is yet to face the gigantic tasks of bringing reforms and ending corruption in various sectors of the government.
The latest in the series of problems the PTI must confront comes in the shape of asking Law Minister Israrullah Gandapur to explain why he allegedly supported Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami (JUI-F) candidate Asad Mehmud on NA-25 DI Khan-cum-Tank in the by-election campaign instead of PTI candidate Dawar Kundi.
The by-elections on NA-25 were postponed by the Election Commission of Pakistan on account of security concerns in the region. The JUI-F and PTI are rivals on this seat.
The Express Tribune learnt, however, that the PTI is in disharmony in the constituency and is holding Gandapur responsible for his dubious role in supporting the JUI-F as opposed to the PTI ticket holder.
The concerns and complaints made to the PTI’s central leadership by the party’s office bearers regarding the provincial minister led to the constitution of a five-member inquiry committee, which will probe the situation and decide whether the minister really supported a candidate against the PTI.
Earlier, Gandapur, who was elected as an independent candidate on a provincial assembly seat in the general elections and later joined the PTI, was summoned by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak “to clear his position”, said people familiar with the matter.
PTI regional coordinator for southern areas Ali Ameen confirmed an “explanation had been sought from Gandapur”. Ameen added the minister would now have to choose between the PTI and JUI-F.
“His (Gandapur’s) role is suspicious, and PTI chief Imran Khan knows it,” he added. “If he supported the JUI-F then he has double standards. This kind of behaviour is intolerable within the party.”
PTI district leader in Tank, Ayub Bhittani, meanwhile, said Israrullah’s brother Ikramullah Gandapur had been publically supporting the JUI-F candidate in the region. “Recently, I tried to hold a public meeting in support of the PTI but the party leaders, including Israrullah and Ali Ameen, did not turn up”, Bhittani informed.
Irarullah Gandapur, meanwhile, could not be contacted for comments.
Another issue facing the party has to do with PTI MPA from PK-25, Obaid Khan Mayar, who has been served a show-cause notice by the party on charges of corruption. Mayar too, is set to face an inquiry. He told the media he had asked the party leadership in K-P to follow merit-based policies in the province in general and in district Mardan in particular.
In the past 90 days, which the PTI visualised as a crucial timeframe within which to trigger change, the party’s internal rifts in the wake of by-elections have also cost the party the NA-1 Peshawar seat, which was secured by Awami National Party leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour. The PTI never even got off to a smooth start to begin with, as the allocation of provincial ministerial slots to elected candidates was a process in which reservations and expressions of bereavement were commonplace. Some of this discontent within the party lingers to this day.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2013.