PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s provincial chapter plans to issue show-cause notices to district and town councillors who resigned to protest the arrest of Minister for Mines and Mineral Development Ziaullah Afridi.
A party insider told The Express Tribune on Tuesday that the decision was taken against 30 newly-elected district and 17 town councillors who submitted their resignations a day earlier.
“The officials have violated the party’s rules and regulations,” he said, requesting anonymity. “These resignations are an attempt to blackmail the party leadership and force it to go back on its promises of rooting out corruption from government institutions.”
According to the insider, the councillors and district members must be taken to task.
“They should not have acted prematurely and waited for a thorough investigation and court decision,” he said. “If the minister is innocent, he will be given a clean chit.”
The insider said a report has been compiled and sent to PTI Chairman Imran Khan. “In this report, we have clearly mentioned that town members and district councillors are blackmailing the party leadership to have cases withdrawn against Ziaullah,” he said.
The party also plans to take action against PTI members who have thrown their weight behind the councillors and encouraged them to resign.
On the fence
However, party leaders have remained ambivalent about whether resignation letters have been submitted or not.
Speaking to The Express Tribune over the phone, PTI Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Organiser Fazal Muhammad Khan said he was not aware of the matter.
“I will meet councillors and persuade them to reconsider their decision,” he said.
“Charges levelled against Ziaullah will be properly investigated and he will be given a fair trial. Councillors will need to trust in the system and not act rashly.”
Khan said the Ehtesab Commission is an independent institution and the provincial government cannot interfere in its affairs.
“As a result, it can ensure a transparent investigation and fair trial into the matter,” he said.
On the other hand, a senior PTI leader said resignation letters had been submitted to PTI members Irfan Saleem and Kamran Bangash. However, Younis Zaheer, a PTI district leader, said resignation letters were submitted with Ziaullah’s brother.
When contacted, an official of the Election Commission of Pakistan said resignation letters have been submitted to the party’s secretariat. ECP Spokesperson Sohail Ahmad said town councillors and district members have not taken oath.
“In these circumstances, their resignations should be referred to ECP,” he said. “The election body will give its recommendations on the matter.”
Ahmed assured the resignations will not affect the re-polls for local government elections scheduled for July 30.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2015.