Imran panel likely to win intra-party polls

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan. PHOTO: AFP / FILE

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan. PHOTO: AFP / FILE

ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan-led Insaf Panel is likely to ‘clean sweep’ Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf intra-party elections, scheduled to be concluded by midnight on Monday.

With the success of the Insaf panel, PTI – that boasted of being more democratic in its internal affairs than other political parties – will join other ‘traditional’ parties which regularly held such ceremonious polls, ritually ‘selecting’ their leaders.

The entire exercise is tailored to subdue internal dissent which the party experienced in 2012 when it genuinely held intra-party polls, fully in line with its constitution.

However, to deflect any possible criticism, another panel – Ehtisab panel – was thrust in whose members are not even known to registered party members.

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Someone named Naik Muhammad Khan is contesting against Imran Khan for the post of the party’s chairman while Syed Aftab Shah is in the race against Shah Mehmood Qureshi for the post of vice-chairman.

At the outset, PTI introduced drastic changes in its constitution, simplifying the structure of intra-party polls to pave the way for what a senior party leader termed “a dummy election”.

In the first phase of elections, 14 top party positions will be filled, including PTI chairman, vice-chairman, secretary-general, four regional presidents, one each for Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and one each for Balochistan, Sindh and Islamabad.

The results are expected to be announced on June 13 (Tuesday).

PTI, which is proud of its women vote bank, has interestingly made no woman candidate in either of the panels contesting the polls.

After key changes in the party’s constitution, panels would now contest polls instead of individual candidates. PTI is holding polls on the basis of direct representation instead of holding indirect elections.

The amended party constitution also abolished the need for holding elections for all positions simultaneously while enhancing the powers of party chief Imran Khan.

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PTI kept the entire exercise low-key and the final schedule for the elections was released to the media just 10 days before the polling day to avoid unwarranted involvement of party activists.

PTI faces technical flaws

The electronic-voting mechanism introduced by the PTI was not working to the satisfaction of the party leadership.

PTI’s chief election commissioner on Sunday confirmed that there were some technical flaws during the polling.

The party boasts 2.7 million registered members – of which some 2.35 million have been verified.

This actually means that nearly 350,000 ‘unverified’ but registered members have been kept out of the polling process.

Swati also expressed the fear that another 300,000 or 400,000 messages the party sent to verified and registered members will not make it to party members’ mobile phones because of two major technical reasons – firstly, some people block promotion schemes and PTI’s messages for voting are being sent under this scheme.

He also said that PTI’s political rivals were also trying to influence the process by sending in wrong messages to registered party members.

“Despite these flaws, polling is progressing in a transparent and fair manner. Voters are casting votes in favour of both panels,” Swati said, adding the party was unable to fix these issues right away, but they will be addressed by the time next intra-party elections are held.

He said that if just 100,000 voters out of 2.35 million successfully cast their votes, it would be considered to be a success.

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