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October 21, 2019

JI facing internal issues as party’s KP chief resigns

National

October 21, 2019

PESHAWAR: Still struggling to recover from the humiliating defeat it had suffered in the 2018 general election, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is facing internal issues which have complicated the situation for a party considered the most organised democratic political force.

Provincial president of the party Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan has resigned, but the central leadership is still indecisive whether to accept or reject it.

The perpetual indecisiveness, especially on the part of JI’s central chief Senator Sirajul Haq on important matters is seen as a major reason for putting the party on a downslide track. According to sources, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan had resigned two weeks back after the central executive council meeting of the party in Mansoora, Lahore, the headquarters of the party, which was chaired by Sirajul Haq.

During the meeting, a committee that had been formed after the 2018 election to find out reasons for failure in the polls presented its report. The committee worked under the chairmanship of central deputy chief of the party Asadullah Bhutto.

A member of the executive council told The News that the committee had suggested that Mushtaq Ahmad Khan should focus attention on his role in the Senate. He said the committee was not satisfied with his performance as the party’s provincial chief during the general election.

The member said that the committee had also made an observation about the party’s central chief Sirajul Haq that he should not have contested the general election for the National Assembly as he had already been serving as a senator. However, the committee’s ‘findings’ about Mushtaq Ahmad Khan were more specific and it led him to resign.

Some reports suggested that the committee’s ‘findings’ were not based on solid grounds and even facts had been distorted in it. The executive council also neither approved the report nor rejected it, a source privy to the meeting said. But after the meeting, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan was heard saying that he had lost the moral ground to hold the office anymore.

An effort was, however, made to convince him to review his decision and withdraw his resignation until the situation was resolved, but to no avail as he refused to do so. The party leadership, on the other hand, asked provincial deputy chief Maulana Mohammad Ismail to lead the party in the province provisionally till the matter is resolved, the sources said.

The party’s standpoint on the issue was circulated to the media as well wherein central general secretary Amirul Azim said that Mushtaq Ahmad Khan had resigned on health grounds. Besides, he added that Mushtaq Ahmad Khan wanted to focus attention on his role in the Senate. However, he noted that his resignation as the provincial head of the party has not yet been accepted.

Central spokesman for the party Qaiser Sharif said on his Twitter account that the resignation had not been accepted and Mushtaq Ahmad Khan was advised to appoint a caretaker and take some leave to focus attention on his health.

A high-level meeting of the party was held on Sunday night in Islamabad with Sirajul Haq in the chair to discuss the situation and find out a reasonable solution. Though the details of the meeting were not known, it was speculated that the central chief Sirajul Haq may accept the resignation of Mushtaq Ahmad Khan and announce fresh election for the office with him (Mushtaq) as one of the candidates so that he could get a fresh mandate from the party’s arkan (members).

The issue which had been kept secret from the media for two weeks, suddenly appeared in social media and then in the mainstream media. It triggered a heated debate within and outside the party circles.

Some interesting comments and speculations were made by some senior and former members of the party.

Most of them believed that Mushtaq Ahmad Khan had been made a scapegoat for the party’s poor performance in national politics.

However, a senior leader of the party told The News that this was not something new in the JI and the issue would be sorted out effectively. He said the JI was no doubt an organised party having a forum for taking up every relevant issue in a proper manner and getting it resolved.

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