Khan's Furious Over Internal Rifts made Public
ISLAMABAD: Differences within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that had been simmering for some time now became public on Tuesday.
Pulled to pieces by the media over the cracks within its ranks, PTI Chairman Imran Khan issued a ‘gag order’ warning all party leaders — regardless of their position within the party — against providing information to the media about what he called “PTI’s internal issues”.
In a curtly-worded press statement, Mr Khan said: “The party will not tolerate any internal matter or document being discussed or released to the media by anyone, no matter how senior a position he/she holds.”
The party election tribunal, led by a former judge, Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad, which had earlier sent a report raising serious questions over the fairness of the PTI’s intra-party elections, is said to be unhappy with the role of Secretary General Jahangir Tareen. Justice Ahmad reportedly issued a show-cause notice to Mr Tareen, seeking clarification on why he didn’t offer his services to the tribunal and assist it in discharging its duty.
Then, Umar Cheema, the recently-appointed spokesperson for the PTI chairman, questioned the role of senior party leader Hamid Khan, who was the chairman of the party’s election commission. Although the PTI has yet to officially confirm it, Mr Cheema is said to have been removed from his position in the shakeup following the adoption of the Justice Wajih report.
According to PTI insiders, a group within the party — led by Mr Tareen — had opposed releasing the Justice Wajih report at this point in time. The report holds that the party’s internal elections, held in early 2013, were not genuine.
Differences over fate of Justice Wajih report prompt Imran Khan to issue ‘gag order’ barring discussion of internal matters with media
As a consequence of the report, all organisational committees within the party have been dissolved, but most key office-bearers are continuing with their responsibilities until the next elections.
Mr Khan said the PTI was a democratic party, “But there has to be discipline and confidentiality about internal discussions and proceedings relating to party matters.” Therefore, Mr Khan warned, any party member, including the senior leadership, was found leaking or deliberately making public any internal matters or documents dealing with internal party affairs, they would be immediately suspended and proceeded against.
Although the press statement mentioned the controversy surrounding the election tribunal report, it avoided naming the protagonists.
“Mr Khan expressed his anger over the recent leakage of documents and statements relating to the election tribunal,” said the statement. Mr Khan said such things were deliberately being made public to harm the party.
The statement, without naming anyone, also mentioned the serving of a show-cause notice within the party to an influential office-bearer.
“The PTI chairman took serious note of the show-cause notice served to a senior party leader being made public. Subsequent revelations in the media of documents and letters to and from the tribunal, accompanied by statements, were also noted by the chairman, who made it clear that the party would not tolerate such irresponsible and damaging behaviour.”
New PTI CEC
Also on Tuesday, Mr Khan appointed former interior secretary Tasnim Noorani as new chief election commissioner for the party. The chairman appointed Mr Noorani on the recommendation of the PTI’s election tribunal “with full powers that he might need to carry out all tasks relating to membership and electoral rolls including formation of any committee to assist him in any of these functions”.
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