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February 3, 2016

Justice Wajih writes to Imran, PTI leaders

Islamabad

 
February 3, 2016

Justise wajihuddin has written a letter to Imran Khan and PTI leadership. Following is the text of the letter:

This is with specific reference to the process of PTI Intra Party Elections (IPE), currently in hand and issues with the concurrence of Mr. Yusuf Malik Gabol.

It will be recalled that, per emailed letter dated 7-12-2015, addressed to Chairman Imran Khan, the following was concluded:

“On the basis of foregoing narration, for the time being, only two aspects need to be addressed. Both pertain to the holding of free, fair and transparent Intra Party Election, as currently underway.

In the first place, in terms of the Tribunal’s orders, which alone are the sanction behind the forthcoming IPE, the existing voters list cannot be disregarded. It has to be updated, in terms already quoted above.  

Any new membership, at such a short notice, is likely to revive the acts of malfeasance and misfeasance, attending the now defunct previous IPE.

In a meeting with Mr. Tasleem Norrani, CEC, it was maintained that the existing voters list were in such a state of disorder that more than 7 or 8 percent thereof could not be retrieved. From a total membership of 7.2 million, such verifiable number would still be in lacs, which at this stage could do. Besides, Ms. Mariam Riaz, an IT expert, in addition to being an active PTI member, committed to do more, if access to relevant data was accorded together with due technical assistance.

If the desire is to hold worthwhile elections and to bring up the best amongst the PTI members to run the party, the above alone may be an answer. Failing that, we should be prepared for outcomes, similar to those which have followed the disregard of the erstwhile orders of the PTI Election Tribunal.

Another matter pertains to the disqualifications, above recalled and recorded. This of course is a reminder to the PTI Election Commission which, to say the least, is a product of the Election Tribunal orders.”  

We don’t seem to have received any response to the said email dated, 7-12-2015.

Meanwhile, vide press release dated 15-1-2016 of the PTI Election Commission, membership drive for a period of six weeks was announced. The press release, inter alia, also incorporated the method of members registration through the Commission’s own short code with an in-house technical capability. In short, the SMS methodology was readopted, more or less, as prevailed in the last IPE of 2013. The method involved a three-tier process (a, b, c). During the interregnum, one of such steps (b, call to 8300) also seems to have been by-passed, giving rise to well-founded apprehensions and suspicions. One may here note that, contrary to convention, the PTI Election Commission consists only of three persons, the Provincial Election Commissioners themselves not been accorded the status of EC membership.  

Implications?

While, on the one hand, PTI grievances concerning the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and NADRA seem to be pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, on the other, the same electronic system, which had failed during the last IPE of 2013, resulting in a change of horses in the mid-stream i.e. a retreat to the hard copy ballot system, has, none-the-less, been opted for.

There, thus, may be substance in the PTI activists’ remos-trances that the system, attemptedly put in place by the PTI Election Commission, does not inspire confidence and , being non-transparent, may produce a repeat of what came about in the last IPE.

It is extraordinary that, in total disregard of the above quoted pointations from the PTI Election Tribunal’s orders, the existing membership of the party seems to have been scraped, topped by the under-noted observation:

“PTI members, who had earlier registered their names in various membership drives, are also requested to register again as PTI EC wants all the data of members in a uniform pattern”

This kind of membership drive provides for no gestation period for members to qualify as voters. In line with good international practices, the proposed reviewed version of the PTI Constitution, still awaiting to be placed before the PTI National Council, envisaged a minimum gestation period to be of 120 days, prior to the announcement of a party election. The Constitution Review Committee (details in the PTI Tribunal’s order dated 17-10-2014) comprised of a score of senior PTI members.

Thus an open invitation to membership, presently holding sway, has the potential of activists of other political parties to maliciously enter the fray by clandestinely donning the PTI membership.

This is not all. The current exercise also translates into attracting hundreds of thousands of mureeds, mazdoors and mazaras at the behest of their pirs, factory owners and jagirdars.

In the cases last mentioned, the registered member strength in specific districts has the potential of out-weighing the smaller but genuine membership of a large majority of other districts, where such pirs, factory owners and jagirdars have no access.

According to the PTI Election Commission, as of now, the party consists of the Chairman, the Central Finance Secretary and the Central Information Secretary (Press Release dated 15-1-2016).

In other words, even though the so called organizers have gone, once again, in utter disregard of PTI Election Tribunal’s orders, no caretakers have been appointed. Even so, the erstwhile office bearers are wantonly shown in the electronic media as close confidants of the Chairman. This, notwithstanding the Election Commission saying on 29-1-2016:

“Chairman Tehreek-e-Insaf per Intra Party Intikhabat mein hissa lainay waley kisi bhi umeedwar ki himayat par mukammal pabandi aayed hogi.”

Having said as much, the most mind boggling of all developments is the one, where the PTI Chairman is reported to have ordained that there should be election only for the top slot at every level i.e. union council, tehsil, district, region, province and center. In turn, it would be for the top person to not only nominate but also appoint his own team/ cabinet. The nearest parallel is the US presidential system. But there too when the President nominates (advises), the Senate appoints (consents). Where is the equivalent of a senate in PTI and what about the specific contrary provisions in the PTI Constitution?

This communication is addressed, hoping that we may have learned from our past mistakes. If so, it is never too late to mend.