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March 26, 2015

PTI mulling over dissolving party organisations


March 26, 2015

PESHAWAR: As local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are two months away, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is mulling to dissolve party organisations to address rigging concerns in the intra-party polls.
The move apparently could hurt PTI in the polls but the party leaders believe it would pay off.These leaders have confidence that the dissolution decision would increase PTI’s credibility as a principled and clean party in the eyes of people. Trying to scotch concerns about the bad timing of the decision, they said this action was long due.
“The decision will take the party forward. It will have positive impact on PTI,” said Zafar Khattak, former PTI president of Peshawar. “The next intra-party election will be held in a transparent manner and help bring genuine workers as elected party leaders,” he hoped.
PTI is considering dissolution of the party organisations in light of Justice (R) Wajihuddin’s recommendations. After charges of rigging in the intra-party election, the PTI Chairman Imran Khan tasked a party tribunal led by Justice Wajihuddin to probe the allegations. The report he submitted to the party recommended dissolution of all organisations across the country and the conduct of fresh election.
PTI has not yet dissolved the organisations but the decision seems to be on the cards. A party leader said it was not possible for the leadership to ignore the report that confirmed irregularities in intra-party polls at a time when PTI took to streets over allegations of rigging in the general elections.
“We took this decision because we are a democratic party, not because of any pressure,” said Khalid Masood, PTI’s KP general secretary.
The PTI decision to hold intra-party election before the last general polls consumed so much time and effort in the run-up to the election that it affected its campaign. Party leaders admitted on several occasions that it hobbled their preparations for the general election in

2013. Will it be different this time?
Khalid Masood replied in affirmative. “The dissolution of party organisations will have no damaging effect on our performance in local bodies’ elections. Workers have allegiance to PTI and not to some individuals,” he argued.
PTI popularity will be judged by its performance in the local bodies’ elections, at least in KP. But Khalid Masood did not concur. “The result of local bodies’ elections is no indicator of PTI’s popularity. These are village-level elections and parties hardly matter in these contests,” he said.
Is it a coincidence that PTI is making up its mind for fresh intra-party election again ahead of crucial local bodies polls? PTI leaders said it was being contemplated for many months but the party’s anti-government activities stopped it from taking this decision. They said it was already late to implement the party tribunal’s recommendations and PTI could hardly afford to further delay it.
Zahid Hussain, a senior PTI leader who earlier served as provincial information secretary in the party, hailed the consideration about the dissolution of the organisations. He said incompetent people who were not sincere with the party ideology had dishonestly occupied party offices. “These people awarded PTI tickets to wrong people in general elections that harmed the party and they will do it again in the local bodies’ polls if not removed,” he said.
Dr Ijaz Khan, a professor at the Department of International Relations in University of Peshawar, also praised PTI for considering such a bold step. “I think it will be a good decision if they make it. It will gain, not lose, from it,” he said.
“This action might strengthen its claim that it is a party that believes in principles and clean politics. And this decision will have positive impact on its performance in elections as its credibility will go up,” he added.But Dr Ijaz said PTI must not spare those who were involved in rigging or used money to manipulate the intra-party contests.
They should either be expelled from the party or barred from taking part in intra-party election, he added.However, a leader of the PTI who requested anonymity said the decision just ahead of the local government polls might prove disastrous. He believed it could damage the party in these elections that are expected to be held in the last week of May. “I think the dissolution of party organisations should be deferred till the local bodies’ elections,” he said.

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