RAWALPINDI: As the deadline ends on Feb 27, PTI will extend its membership drive for two or three more weeks as the campaign has so far failed to attract people to the party fold.

Traditionally political parties establish camps for their membership campaign, but PTI has not set up its camps on the main roads and streets in the city.

The party has invited membership requests from people by sending SMS on their mobile phones.

The party has invited membership requests from people by sending SMS on their mobile phones.

They were asked to send their Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) number and serial number on the voters’ list with the Election Commission of Pakistan on the number given in the message.

A senior PTI leader, while talking to Dawn, admitted that the membership drive had failed to attract people as most of them could not understand the procedure of getting themselves registered.

The leader said that instead of getting membership request, the party should have given a membership card to the people on receipt of their CNIC numbers if it really wanted to increase members.

He said the party also wanted to end the impression that PTI mostly consisted of unregistered voters and that it holds big public meetings but its vote bank was limited.

However, the party workers are not happy with this procedure as it would allow the registered voters, being member of the party, to participate in the intra-party election but exclude youth from the process.

PTI Punjab North former General Secretary Zahid Kazmi told Dawn that the membership drive was launched under the supervision of party’s election commission and after the membership drive, the party would go to intra-party election and the voters would elect better leadership of the party.

He said that the party would likely to extend the membership drive to bring more people to the party.

He admitted that the membership campaign faced problems in villages and small towns as women and young girls failed to understand the procedure but it was better for the party to have genuine members rather than fake.

He said through mobile phone messages, real voters would become the party members and they could be in contact with the party’s local, provincial and central leadership as they would be registered with the central office.

However, PTI MPA Arif Abbasi was of the view that the party membership drive was launched with good intentions but the workers were not happy with the registration of members through mobile phones.

He said that the traditional camps for the membership drive were not set up because the party had not given a procedure for the intra-party elections and the local leaders were hesitant to spend time or money to educate the people about the process of becoming party members.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2016