ISLAMABAD: The last-ditch effort by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan at his Bani Gala residence to deter the party’s disgruntled elements from holding a workers convention on February 9 turned ugly.
Sources privy to the fast-paced developments during the day, told The News that after the failure of PTI leaders to get the event cancelled, Imran agreed to meet a ten-member delegation, who was invited from Lahore Saturday.
Imran insisted on seeing the visitors at his residence, as he rejected outright the proposal of meeting them at one of the leading Islamabad hotels, citing security reasons, sources claimed.
The delegation, headed by Mehboob Aslam, who is also vice-president of the ‘transparency and accountability cell force’, apprised the party chairman of their serious concerns of the way party matters were being handled and presented a charter of demands and sought his written assurance for cancelling the planned moot, sources said.
When Mehboob wanted to know the details of $3 million donations sent to the party last year, Imran said that he was the only party head who ordered a forensic audit on the demand of party veteran Akbar S Babar and insisted there was a well-established culture of transparency and accountability in the PTI.
Mehboob is active in organising the convention, expected to be participated by thousands of angry party workers and some noted pro-PTI journalists at the Aiwan-e-Iqbal, Lahore, and it will be followed by such events in other cities to push the party for returning to transparency and accountability.
On this, Mehboob asked could the forensic audit be called an audit that it was managed by those, who faced serious allegations. Mehboob later told The News that while reacting to his objection, Imran stepped forward and grabbed him by his neck. Then the furious PTI chairman, he alleged, asked him to get lost immediately.
“I left Bani Gala in utter disbelief. I could not believe my eyes on seeing all this. I am considering legal action for what treatment I was subjected to by my hosts,” said Mehboob while talking to The News afterwards.
When contacted for her side of the story of the issue, PTI Information Secretary MNA Dr Shireen Mazari remarked, “Charges regarding funds are totally wrong, as all funds are always audited and reports are available on the website”.
She continued that a forensic audit was also done that found no wrongdoing. About Imran’s charge on Mehboob, she said that this was totally wrong and added that Mehboob was thrown out of the party almost a year ago. Mazari continued he got abusive with the party chairman and on this he was asked to leave his house.
Earlier, during the meeting, the delegation head presented a charter of demands that include formation of a task force, consisting of Akbar S Babar, PTI Secretary General Jehangir Tareen and a person to be nominated by the president of the party’s US chapter that must chart out terms of reference of an independent accountability cell. Party veterans - namely Dr Arif Alvi, Saifullah Niazi, Ejaz Chaudhry, Sardar Azhar Tariqa and Amir Kayani - should be suspended till the inquiry into the allegations, they face since long, is completed.
A fresh intra-party election should be held for which the schedule be announced on April 25 by a newly-constituted election commission of the party, as the exercise held previously, was highly controversial and had been declared as a farce.
Similarly, the delegation called for inquiry against certain PTI’s key post-holders during the transitional period, as despite serious allegations, they still clung to those positions.