Following Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s colossal washout in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa local government elections, an overhaul of party organisation in the province is on the cards, insiders told The Express Tribune on Monday.
Pir Sabir Shah has been leading the party in the region for the past 22 years. The party’s recent performance has raised doubts over his leadership. While some claim the party’s central bigwigs are least bothered about the situation, others say intervention from heavyweights has pushed the envelope. While party members continue to raise questions over lack of attention despite abysmal performances in the 2013 general elections and the recent LG polls, fissures within their ranks have given birth to two distinct groups.
While some are lobbying to bring their own men in, others want Shah replaced by Advisor to Prime Minister Amir Muqam. A PML-N K-P leader, requesting anonymity, said if the bigwigs want to restore the party’s 1997 glory, it should take steps on war footing. “Muqam has become a favourite for the provincial presidency while Abdul Subhan is in the run for the general secretary position,” another party insider told The Express Tribune. He said the other group wants the president to be elected from Hazara division while the general secretary should belong to any of the southern districts of K-P.
He said intra-party elections are likely to be held in the near future, terming Rehmat Salam Khattak’s resignation another nail in the coffin. Khattak, who recently resign from the post of K-P general secretary, termed the connection baseless and reaffirmed that he quit over the party’s performance in the LG polls. “No, I don’t foresee intra-party elections in the near future. Let me inform those who say I am preparing for polls: if the party position remains the same, I will not contest any polls,” Khattak told The Express Tribune.
Khattak’s resignation has not been accepted as yet. He also informed that PM Nawaz Sharif has summoned him on Tuesday (today) to discuss issues pertinent to party organisation.
When contacted, Muqam said the provincial leadership’s tenure has already ended, however it is up to the central leadership to dissolve the organisation and announce polls. “I do not have substantial information but restructuring of the party in K-P is under consideration,” Muqam said. He added the idea was floated soon after the 2013 general elections. Shah and Subhan could not be reached for their versions despite repeated attempts.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2015.
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