ISLAMABAD: Even though his basic membership of the party had already been suspended, retired Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad finally decided to bid farewell to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Justice Wajih, who developed serious differences with PTI Chairman Imran Khan over the last couple of years, formally submitted his resignation.

He told Dawn over the phone that he had emailed his resignation letter to the party chairman and other concerned quarters on Saturday night, and “they must have received it by now”. Sounding dejected, he said: “The party has reached the stage where neither am I interested to remain part of it, nor is there space for people like me.”

However, PTI’s chief spokesperson Naeemul Haq said the party had yet to receive Justice Wajih’s resignation. He added that since the suspension of his basic party membership, he had not been active within the party.

“We have come to know that Justice Wajih and some like-minded friends have decided to launch a new political party and I wish him the very best,” he said.

When asked about the new party, Justice Wajih said he and a few friends had written a constitution for a new political party, and would see whether there was space for the initiative in the coming days. “However, my friends are quite sanguine about the need for a new political party in the country,” he added.

He claimed he had left the PTI because it had lost its way and its ideology. “At the moment, the PTI is doing absolutely no constructive work and is under the occupation of those who are not interested in positive politics,” he said.

Justice Wajih said there was “no place” for people like him, who had worked to upload the rule of law and implementation of the Constitution.

In August last year, the PTI chairman suspended Justice Wajih’s basic membership for repeatedly violating party discipline by issuing statements to the press. Despite written instructions from Mr Khan, Mr Ahmad went public with the party’s internal affairs and, according to the Aug 4, 2015, notification, Mr Khan was left with no choice but to suspend Justice Wajih’s membership for deliberately breaching party discipline.

The rift between him and the party leadership began when he recommended the cancellation of membership of senior and key party leaders, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Secretary General Jahangir Tareen and others, for influencing the outcome of intra-party elections held in March 2013.

Justice Wajih then supervised party elections as the chief election commissioner, and later headed a two member committee to investigate complaints of irregularities during the party elections.

However, according to one senior PTI leader, Mr Ahmad’s sole objective of late was to vilify the PTI and its leaders, vis-à-vis the government of the day.

Whenever Mr Khan goes hard against the government, Justice sb appears to draw media attention, said a senior PTI leader in an off-the-record remark. He added: “I am not saying he does that at the behest of the ruling party. It may be a coincidence, but this how the pattern suggests.”

He said Mr Khan’s demands to investigate the 2013 general elections and his call for the accountability of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family in light of the Panama Papers did not seem to go well with Justice sb.

However, Justice Wajih said he had and would continue to fight for clean politics in the country.

Published in Dawn September 26th, 2016

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