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Wajih-led tribunal reports misuse of funds, divisions within PTI

Updated July 15, 2015

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Over the past few months the PTI chief and Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad had engaged in a war of words, with both challenging each other’s authority within the constitution of the party. —AFP/File
Over the past few months the PTI chief and Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad had engaged in a war of words, with both challenging each other’s authority within the constitution of the party. —AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Intrigues, misuse of funds and factionalism within the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) have been reported by the party’s two-member election tribunal, headed by retired Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad, in its final order in response to multiple petitions against intra-party elections.

In an apparent lowering of the months-long tension between PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Justice Wajih over the status of the election tribunal, the latter in his order dated July 13 has suspended the election tribunal for the time being with a warning that “the tribunal remains in place and can come into action as it deems fit”.

Quite damning for the party though, interestingly the order was released by the PTI’s media wing on Tuesday.

Over the past few months the PTI chief and Justice Wajih had engaged in a war of words, with both challenging each other’s authority within the constitution of the party.

Despite Imran Khan’s clear orders that the tribunal has been dissolved, the retired judge would every now and then issue orders against senior leaders of the party. His concern was that rulings of the tribunal had never been implemented.

The tribunal recorded same concerns in the latest order before adjourning its proceedings sine die.

“Reverting to the woes of implementation, while the tribunal has recorded its findings on practically all relevant matters, executive compliance is totally missing. This cannot be allowed to go on. Accordingly, we have decided that the tribunal should assume a state of suspended animation. It may, at discretion, re-emerge when deemed fit, required or warranted,” it said.

Likewise, about the status of two members of the tribunal, it wrote: “One or both of the tribunal members may re-emerge or, depending upon evolving circumstances, both the members may be totally different. All that has to be ensured is that the tribunal remains a permanent institution with a constitutional mandate and that it is manned by persons of merit and high integrity.”

However, the PTI chief says that after completing its task of investigations the tribunal stands dissolved.

The tribunal said its current members would continue to pursue the task of implementation at the political level, both inside and outside the party. In so doing, the available record, including orders of the tribunal so far passed, may be also be invoked.

Drawing upon various petitions which came before the tribunal, the order explained how intra-party elections, held prior to the May 2013 general election, were rigged. Going by various petitions, it noted down how elections for the office of general secretary and provincial offices in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were heavily rigged.

The tribunal questioned the role of incumbent KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, speaker Asad Qaisar, general secretary Jahangir Tareen, additional secretary Saifullah Khan and the party’s present chief organiser and MNA Dr Arif Alvi during the elections.

Quoting from various petitions, the tribunal said how “buckets of money” and factionalism massively came into play during the party polls to achieve the desired results.

The order also spoke of allegations of misuse of funds by the PTI members against each other.

Coming to the flawed party elections, the tribunal also underlined the PTI’s dismal show in cantonment boards and other recently held by-elections. “PTI has lost the cantonment boards and KP local government elections. Of late, the performance in by-elections, also, has not been encouraging. One after the other two PTI ministers in KP have been threatened by or actually arrested for allegedly errant public conduct.”

The tribunal also didn’t miss shedding light on entrants to the PTI from other parties. “While self-seekers from other opposition parties are being welcomed in the PTI without scrutiny, the party ideologues, activists and workers either stand sidelined or are quietly beating retreat. This is a direct result of forsaking ideology and institutionalisation and embracing alien political cultures,” it said.

Published in Dawn ,July 15th, 2015

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