RAWALPINDI: Following the tradition of other political parties, the PTI is all set to choose its office-bearers at the national and regional levels in an intra-party election. However, the party has decided to complete its local organisations through appointments.

The PTI will hold the intra-party election on June 17 but the method of the polls has been changed this time. Imran Khan will bring his panel, including the chairman, general secretary, regional heads in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and provincial heads in Sindh and Balochistan. The rest of the organisations for the city and district will be appointed by the regional heads.

“The holding of the intra-party election was announced to fulfil the requirement of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and after consultations the party decided to follow the PML-Q to pick its office-bearers,” a senior PTI leader told Dawn.

He said on May 10 the PTI Central Executive Committee held a meeting in Islamabad where it was announced that the intra-party election would be held on June 17, 18 and 19 and the results would be announced on June 20.

Candidates against Imran’s panel required to have support of at least 20pc MPs

“More than 2.7 million registered workers will cast their votes to elect the national and regional heads through short messages from their mobile phones. But this method will not be adopted for the city and district heads who will be appointed by the regional heads,” he said.

“After the ECP declared that the PTI had failed to conduct an intra-party election and was not eligible to get its election symbol of ‘Bat’, the party decided to follow the intra-party election of the PML-Q,” he said.

In the past, he added, groupings within the PTI from the national to city levels had forced the party to postpone the election and run the affairs through appointments of office-bearers.

“The party leadership will announce a panel and to compete this, there would be another panel which should have the support of at least 20pc members of the provincial and national assemblies. But under this formula, nobody will be able to compete the panel announced by Imran Khan,” he said.

He said political parties in the country lacked democracy and Imran Khan’s PTI was also following the same pattern to elect its office-bearers despite making tall claims of bringing a change in the political culture.

“The PTI spent millions of rupees on development of software for intra-party election and registered its workers along with their mobile phone numbers so they could cast votes for picking office-bearers from national to district levels. However, it became useless as the workers now can only participate to elect the panel led by Imran Khan to meet the formality of the ECP,” he said.

On the other hand, some party workers expressed resentment for not consulting them in choosing their leaders at the local level.

Mohammad Imran, a PTI worker from Satellite Town, said the party should not follow the political culture of the PPP and PML-N and should hold intra-party election to select the local leaders.

Sajid Khan from Shamsabad said there was a need to change the system and at the first step the party should avoid making appointments and pick the office-bearers through a proper election so that genuine leaders would emerge.

“In appointments, the chances of bribe increase and the regional heads would appointment their favorites as it was done in the past. In Rawalpindi, there is no district office as the office-bearers were appointed by the regional head, Amir Kiani, without consulting the party workers and supporters,” he said.

When contacted, PTI City President Chaudhry Asghar said the party had announced an intra-party election but did not give the details about how the city and district office-bearers would be picked.

He said he was unaware of matters related to the intra-party election but was sure that the national and regional heads of the party would be selected by registered workers through messages sent from their registered mobile phones.

PTI MPA Arif Abbasi told Dawn that the workers would choose the national office-bearers and regional heads. However, he refused to comment on the election of the city and district chapters saying the party had stopped them from commenting on the subject.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2017