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Dual offices: Imran’s stance challenged

July 11, 2013
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chief, Imran Khan. — File Photo
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chief, Imran Khan. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: A tug of war has erupted among the leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) with the party’s Chief Election Commissioner Hamid Khan challenging a ruling of Chairman Imran Khan about party posts held by some people in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

Advocate Hamid Khan had issued a notification on Tuesday removing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak from the post of PTI secretary general. He also removed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Health Minister Shaukat Yousafzai from the posts of the party’s provincial president and general secretary.

However, the PTI chairman intervened from London, where he has gone for a medical check-up, announcing that only the central executive committee (CEC) had the authority to take a decision on this matter and other major issues.

The situation took a new turn on Wednesday when Hamid Khan issued a rejoinder to Imran Khan’s statement. “This is with regard to the press release issued by the central media cell, PTI, in response to the decision taken by the central election commission of the party regarding vacation of party offices by those who have assumed public responsibilities.”

He claimed that Imran Khan’s press statement had been issued in complete ignorance of the party’s constitution. “Under article XVII of the PTI’s constitution captioned ‘Qualification of election to party office’ it is clearly stated that ‘in case of challenges with regard to qualification, the party election commission will adjudicate in such matters where disputes arise regarding qualifications of party office-bearers to continue in their respective offices while also being holders of public offices’.”

He said the decision taken by the commission regarding the vacation of party offices by those holding public offices was final and had come into force as of Tuesday.

“Decision has also announced nominating people to perform the functions of the vacated positions pending the announcement of the election schedule. The decisions of the central election commission, being an autonomous institution under the PTI constitution, are final and do not need any confirmation,” Hamid Khan said.—APP

Our Staff Reporter adds: When contacted, the PTI information secretary Dr Shireen Mazari said: “Our constitution has no provision banning dual offices. So we may need to change the constitution once the CEC decides on this issue. The election commission’s view is only recommendatory because no such power lies with it.”

She said the party chief’s statement was the correct one and “we accept it”.

Talking to Dawn, a senior PTI leader said the issue would be discussed within the party and resolved after Imran Khan’s return from London in the last week of this month. He said some people in the party believed that those who were holding public offices should be removed from their party posts.