PESHAWAR, Feb 10: The old guards of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) have lost ground to the newcomers in the intra-party elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as except Malakand division founding members of the party have been shown the door by those, who joined Imran Khan only a year or so ago.
In tree towns of Peshawar district, the intra-party elections of PTI were won by the group of new entrants, led by PMA Pervez Khan Khattak. Only in Town-I, the old workers were able to elect a panel supported by PTI former president Asad Qaisar.
Khattak and Asad are in the run for the slot of provincial president of PTI.
Some of the losers in Peshawar said that elections were transparent and other political parties should follow PTI and hold intra-party elections.
“We are proud that our party has taken lead in holding intra-party elections at union council, tehsil and district levels. It is unprecedented because none of the parties in the country has ever held elections,” said Zafarullah Khattak, PTI former president of Peshawar city.
Zafarullah Khattak, who ran for the slot of general secretary but lost, said that elections were democratic process that didn’t dent their resolve to support PTI in its campaign against the present ‘rotten’ system.
“We will continue to support Imran Khan as we have been doing for the past 16 years. We will continue our struggle within the party,” he said.
Other senior PTI members, who were routed in the elections, said that they had reservations over the electoral lists and influence of the new entrants to manipulate the elections and communicated the same to the election commission.
“We are awaiting the outcome of our complaints regarding the eligibility of Yasin Khalil, a former nazim and president-elect of Peshawar. According to PTI’s constitution, he stands ineligible to become PTI office-bearer,” one of them said.
A senior leader of the party said that an email reply from the provincial election commission a fortnight ago had assured them that those, who didn’t fulfil PTI membership criteria would stand disqualified even if they were elected.
Not furious at the defeat of old party guards in the intra-party election, he said that complaints had also been lodged with the election commission of the party regarding printed mistakes in ballot papers and absence of computerised identity card numbers that created confusion.
The division within the old party workers also failed to put up a matching response to battle against the new but unified group. The old workers stood divided in three different groups that gave clear edge to their rivals. “Election results are not surprising given the prevalent disunity among old PTI workers but they still have bright chances to win the provincial president seat,” he said.
Elections for the slot of PTI provincial president would take place within two weeks and the Asad Qaisar-led group believes it will win, arguing it has got elected more tehsil presidents in the province and each one of them is member of the provincial council that constitutes electoral college for electing provincial president.
The members of Pervez Khattak group are also undeterred and say they would settle their matters within the party constitution. “Elections in the party are of historic significance and would prove detrimental in producing genuine and representative leadership,” said an elected office-bearer in Peshawar.