Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan announced on April 4, 2016, to hold the intraparty election after a party meeting in Islamabad.
In April 2016, Khan promised that keeping in view past experiences, “the PTI has decided to conduct direct intraparty elections.”
Going a step forward, Khan had then said his party had adopted the model of the United States and the United Kingdom in order to hold ballots within the party.
On April 11, Khan said the PTI intraparty ballots were on track to be conducted and preparations were underway.
“But after the Panama Papers’ revelations, the party then decided to postpone the elections,” he had said.
The Panama Papers, famous as ‘Panama Leaks’ is a global investigation, conducted by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that revealed more than 11.5 million financial and legal records that exposed secretive offshore companies owned by hundreds of world politicians, business tycoons and celebrities. The Panama Papers revealed that children of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – Hussain Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz and Maryam Safdar – also own offshore companies. PTI and other political parties allege that these offshore companies were established through corruption. The case is under proceedings in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
According to a PTI notification released on November 8, the PTI said it would “close down” the party’s election commission citing “prevailing political conditions” of the country.
Accordingly, the staff be laid off and its entire staff and the equipment and hardware with complete inventory be handed over to the administration of central secretariat, the statement states.
“The PTI Election Commission will be revived as and when internal election are announced,” the statement added.
Truth Tracker approached PTI Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak, then party’s chief election commissioner, who said that the intraparty elections had to be postponed because of Panama Leaks as the issue is of paramount importance for the country.
Secondly, he said that intraparty election is a lengthy process and needs around 75 days to be completed. “Had we gone for intraparty elections, we could not have pursued the Panama Leaks issue,” he remarked.
The PTI launched a movement through street protests and public rallies to press Prime Minister Sharif to resign from his office and set an independent inquiry commission to probe the offshore companies of his children.
Before the general election in May 2013, PTI held intraparty polls but that process was marred by rigging allegations. The PTI chairman had to form a two-member commission to probe the matter, which eventually dissolved all elected offices.
Khattak said it is nearly impossible to hold the intraparty election because of the upcoming 2018 general election. “I think holding the intraparty ballot before general elections will create division within the party,” he said.
“In near future, there is no plan of conducting intraparty elections,” Khattak added.
Nihal Hashmi, senator of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said of Khan’s promise to hold intraparty elections that Khan is an inexperienced and emotional person.
“Politics need patience and restraints. I think PTI workers should ask Khan to materialise his promise and even the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should swing in action against this,” Hashmi added.
He said that Khan is working according to his own nature and no one can change his nature.
Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former ambassador who was told two years back to oversee PTI’s intraparty election in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), said the PTI had nominated Tasneem Noorani as the party’s chief election commissioner but he left because of his differences with the party leadership on the method of holding the intraparty ballots.
Shah said the PTI had scrapped the entire election cell of the party – a fact known to all lawmakers of the party.
“I think their (PTI) priority is no more holding the intraparty ballot. The PTI now is of the opinion that all issues will be settled once they oust Nawaz Sharif from his office,” he added.
He said that in the future the PTI has to conduct the intraparty polls because their credibility is at stake.
In the light of the facts and statements of PTI’s own Senator and independent observers, Truth Tracker rules that the promise of holding intraparty elections stands broken.