LAHORE – High command of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, in a bid to give equal share to the new and old leaders in their respective areas of Punjab, has decided to replace the regional organisations with regional steering committees, TheNation has learnt.
Sources in the PTI, privy to the development told this correspondent on Thursday that the party’s top leadership had made this decision in an effort to bridge the gulf between the new and old leaders who were busy in dividing the party into several regional groups to grab maximum party offices in the upcoming intra-party polls. PTI chief Imran Khan after a CEC meeting on March 25 had announced that the party will hold Intra-party polls, after the completion of the membership drive within three months and all party offices would be elected from union council to central level.
Sources informed that soon after Imran Khan’s announcement, party leaders across the Punjab especially the newly inducted traditional lot of politicians started campaigns to form groups in the party, to get a major share of the membership drive, which would ultimately help them in grabbing maximum share in the upcoming intra-party polls. The traditional political elite, which joined Imran after October 30 rally have ‘little or no say’ in the existing regional set ups of the party, told the sources. They added that some of the close aides of Imran Khan and old leaders, fearing fractionalisation of the party had decided to give equal share to the political heavyweights in various parts of Punjab by replacing the existing regional organisations with regional steering committees.
The sources quoted senior party leaders as saying, “The upcoming regional steering committees will consist of 10 to 15 members, while the number of members would be fixed according to the size of the region and the party’s Punjab president would perform the role of coordinator in the operations of the committees.” They added that Punjab had been divided into four regions for the upcoming steering committees in which Central Punjab would comprise Lahore and Gujranwala divisions, North Punjab of Sargodha and Rawalpindi divisions, South Punjab of Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions and West Punjab consists Faisalabad and Sahiwal divisions.
They informed that the regional steering committees would be an interim arrangement, as they would cease to exist after the completion of the membership campaign and announcement of intra-party polls. Sources further informed that a caretaker set-up would be put in place by the party’s top hierarchy after the completion of membership drive to supervise the intra-party elections.
PTI top leaders Javed Hashmi, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Dr Arif Alvi were not available for comment over the upcoming change in the party despite repeated attempts to contact them.
However, a close associate of PTI chief seeking anonymity said that a rough draft of the notification regarding the announcement of the regional steering committees had been prepared, while it was expected to be made public early next week. Commenting over the mum of the top leadership regarding the change, he said that the party leaders were afraid to respond queries relating to the party’s infighting, which claims bringing a real change but direly fears the threat of power hungry elements among its ranks.