KARACHI: The appointment of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) new president in Karachi has upset senior party leaders who demand elections for the post, The Express Tribune learnt on Wednesday.
Last week on directives of party chairperson Imran Khan, the PTI’s secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen appointed Syed Ali Haider Zaidi; a central leader of the party, to head the party in Karachi by replacing senior leader Najeeb Haroon.
What upsets some local leaders is that Zaidi, who is popular amongst younger crowd, was directly appointed and not elected.
“Ali Zaidi should have been elected and not nominated,” said PTI’s senior leader and member of the core committee in Karachi, Subhan Ali Sahil. “A notification was issued about him taking over and we were not even consulted.”
For this part, Zaidi said that if the party leaders and members had a problem with his appointment, they should take it up with the PTI chairperson. “Imran Khan appointed me himself,” he said, adding that he had great plans for the party in Karachi. “I secured 50,000 votes from Karachi in the 2013 general elections. People on the grassroot level support me.”
Ali Zaidi, has been with the party since 1999, and was the party’s candidate from NA-252 and NA-208 Karachi in the 2013 general elections.
Since the announcement of his appointment, two workers meeting – one by the Subhan Ali Sahil’s who stood for NA-239 and NA-248 and another by the Insaaf Panel’s Zubair Ali Khan have been held. Workers passed resolutions against Zaidi and demanded that elections should be held to nominate their president in the city. “Ali Zaidi will destroy the party in Karachi,” said Sahil. “He has no experience of dealing with people at the grass-root level. Moreover, he does not even live in Karachi and spends most of his time in Dubai.” He added that the last president was also appointed but only after a consultation.
Another party leader who did not want to be named said that the PTI was popular for holding elections in the party. He said that they had 100 office bearers from town and district committees who could elect a president.
Since his appointment, Zaidi has started making public appearances – he visited the Timber market and has also held a press conference.
MPA Khurram Sherzaman, however, said that he supported the party chief’s decision. “Whatever Imran Khan decides is for the party’s good,” he said, adding that he hoped Ali Zaidi will lead the party successfully in Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2015.