ISLAMABAD, July 29: With Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) set to hold intra-party elections in September, its leaders are busy in shoring up their vote banks which will ultimately determine their position in the party’s hierarchy.
Party positions starting from chairman, vice chairman, president, secretary general and three senior vice presidents have so far been filled through nominations for an interim period.
According to party sources, none of the positions, including the top ones, are permanent because the party will hold elections for each of these positions.
In recent months, the PTI has witnessed a host of politicians joining it along with their supporters who in return were given positions largely based on their past political record. For example, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who joined the PTI after quitting the PPP, was immediately made vice-chairman of the party. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi was made president.
Khwaja Mohammad Hoti, former MNA of the ANP, was given the post of senior vice-president.
Now with the announcement of party elections, all these nominated office-bearers have their places at stake, which they could only secure by show of electoral strength in their respective constituencies, said a senior party leader.
“It will not be a surprise, if any of us, who are presently holding top position in the hierarchy, will not be enjoying the same position after elections. The party leadership has categorically made it clear to each and every one that at the end of the day only final tally of votes will matter not their previous political successes,” said the PTI leader.
Party office-bearers termed the intra-party elections a major milestone, which, unlike other political parties will help set standards of a true democratic party.
Elections will be held for each and every position so that no body could question justification of new position-holders, who would take the party into general election.
A member of the PTI’s central executive committee told Dawn that at present the party was preparing voter lists which would be used in the party elections to make it a free and fair exercise.
Of late the PTI has been in news for differences among its top leaders, which according to some close observers were serious which could undermine the party’s performance in general election.
When asked, the PTI leader, argued since it was an emerging party and people from all walks of life, some of them veteran politicians, have joined it and of course wanted to influence the party from their own point of view.
For example, he said, a section of the party was all for participating in the Multan by-election. Their argument was to win the seat and send a clear signal to opposition parties of the PTI’s electoral strength, but Imran and others didn’t endorse the idea.
“We have had heated debate on the issue of participating in the Multan by-election and some of us were really furious over giving a walkover to son of the former prime minister, who narrowly won with the lead of few thousand votes from an independent candidate,” he said.
Likewise, he said, a majority in the party was not in favour of Sheikh Rashid Ahmad joining the PTI. However, he refused to accept the impression as if some senior members of the party were fed up with Imran Khan’s way of doing politics and repenting their decisions to join the PTI.
PTI’s information secretary Shafqat Mahmood denied any fissures appearing in the top leadership of the party and said the party leaders were united and preparing for general election.