Monitor on Political Parties’ Internal Democracy | December 2015

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This monitor is meant to identify key developments during the month on Internal Democracy of Political Parties in Pakistan. In this issue:

 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – Nomination of Nawab Sanaullah Zehri as Chief Minister of Balochistan


Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri, new Chief Minister of Balochistan

On December 10, 2015, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the nomination of Nawab Sanaullah Zehri for the post of Chief Minister Balochistan and on December 23, 2015, he was elected in the Balochistan Assembly unanimously. Although a meeting of all important stakeholders under the Murree accord took place that was presided by the Prime Minister himself before it was decided to put Nawab Sanaullah Zehri in the said position, it is not clear if any internal party meetings of the PML-N took place for the purpose of selecting the new Chief Minister of Balochistan. 

 

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – First CEC Meeting chaired by Chairman Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Mr. Asif Ali Zardari’s new responsibility

On December 27, 2015, PPP Chairman Mr. Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stepped ahead in his growing political career and presided over a meeting of the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) that took place at Naudero House, Sindh, in the absence of his father, the Co-chairman of the party, who is still in Dubai since June 2015.  


PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing a public gathering at Garhi Khuda Baksh along with his sister, Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari – (Picture courtesy: Ms. Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari’s Instagram account)

Chairman Bilawal visited the grave of his mother, former Prime Minister Ms. Benzir Bhutto, in Garhi Khuda Baksh as it was also her death anniversary after which he addressed a public gathering there.1    

Besides the discussion on the matter of Rangers’ powers in Sindh, a key party decision that resulted through this CEC meeting was the installation of Mr. Asif Ali Zadari as the President of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPP-P). Previously, late Makhdoom Amin Fahim held this position. According to the constitution of PPPP, all offices should be filled via elections every two years and Makhdoom Amin Fahim had been elected unopposed as President in the latest party polls of 2013.2 No elections took place in case of Mr. Zardari’s new position in the party and media reports have suggested that the decision was adopted unanimously as it came in the form of a proposal from the party’s provincial presidents.3

Technicalities aside, PPPP has all along been de-facto PPP; it was created when it was not possible to contest election from the platform of PPP during General Musharraf’s rule. PPPP had outlived its utility and the right approach will be to merge the two parties into one unified PPP. The current state is rather confusing both for general public and party workers in which Bilawal is the chairman of PPP with Asif Zardari its co-Chair. In addition Asif Zardari is President of PPPP from whose platform all its MNAs,  MPAs  and Senators were elected. 

 

Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) – Mr. Waseem Akhtar selected by MQM for Mayorship of Karachi


Mr. Waseem Akhtar

On December 15, 2015, MQM announced two nominations for the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Karachi, Mr. Waseem Akhtar and Mr. Arshad Vohra, respectively. The decision was made after meetings of the Rabita Committees in London and Karachi. Voting was held through secret ballots and Mr. Waseem Akhtar emerged as the winner with the highest number of votes and Dr. Arsha Vohra gained the second highest number of votes.4 On the same day, it was announced by the current Acting Convenor Mr. Nadeem Nusrat that Dr. Farooq Sattar had been appointed as Senior Deputy Convenor of the Rabita Committee Karachi.5  

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – Foreign Funding Case lingers in the ECP

In the case of foreign funding of the PTI at the ECP, in another hearing held on December 3, 2015, the ECP expressed annoyance at the PTI’s lawyers once again refusing to submit details of party funds. The hearing was adjourned till December 21, 2015.6

Meanwhile, the Chairman Mr. Imran Khan submitted an affidavit to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) with the claim that there was no concept of public scrutiny of political party funds and that Mr. Akbar S. Babar was not a member of the ECP but an ordinary citizen who cannot exercise the authority to raise objections on the party’s accounts.7 On December 10, 2015, a Division Bench of the IHC adjourned until December 17, 2015 the hearing of the PTI Writ Petition to suspend hearings of the foreign funding case in the ECP. The hearing was again adjourned on December 17, 2015, until January 26, 2016.8

A founding member and former Information Secretary of the party, Mr. Akbar S. Babar, had filed a petition back in November 2014 with the Election Commission of Pakistan and alleged corruption and violation of laws in collection of donations and managing party funds by party leadership. On April 1, 2015, a full bench of ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (Retd) Sardar Raza Khan, ordered PTI to submit all the details of its foreign funding by May 6, 2015.9 Instead of sharing all details of foreign funding, PTI questioned the constitutional jurisdiction of the ECP to hear a case regarding the party’s financial matters and scan its documents in this regard. On October 8, 2015, the ECP rejected this plea of PTI10 saying that it had complete authority to look into the financial documents of PTI and quoted the Political Parties Order, 2002 and Political Parties Rules, 2002 saying: “…If the statement could not be scrutinised at the time of submission, the law does not prohibit that the same cannot be done subsequently. The commission does never surrender its powers as there is no estoppel in law and such jurisdiction can be assumed any time.” According to Mr. Akbar S. Babar, he had provided evidence with his petition that PTI and its leadership has acted in utter violation of Articles 3, 5, 6, and 13 of the Political Parties Order, 2002 read with Rules 4, 5, 6 of the Political Parties Rules, 2002.

 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – Gearing up for Intra-party elections

A meeting of the central leadership of PTI took place on December 7, 2015 in Islamabad after which it was announced by the Chairman Mr. Imran Khan that PTI would be holding intra-party elections soon and members of the party would be able to elect their representatives directly. A seven-member committee was also formed during the meeting headed by Dr. Arif Alvi, PTI Organiser for Sindh that will be holding consultations with the PTI Election Commission, headed by PTI Chief Election Commissioner Mr. Tasneem Noorani, for organising the elections and deciding a final date. 

Media reports have shed light on a letter written by PTI’s dissolved election tribunal to the Chairman Mr. Imran Khan reminding him to implement the tribunal’s orders while holding new intra-party elections and to not allow those who stood disqualified in the tribunal’s orders to contest elections.11


Meeting at the PTI Election Commission Office on December 9, 2015

A meeting was held between the committee members and the PTI Election Commission on December 9, 2015 in which Dr. Arif Alvi and PTI MNA Mr. Asad Umar put various concerns of the party before the commission.12


Meeting at the PTI Election Commission Office on December 23, 2015

Another meeting of the PTI Election Commission on December 23, 2015 took place in which preparations for formally opening membership campaign through SMS were discussed and to announce the formal launch of membership campaign and dissolution of existing bodies and organisers. According to an official notification of PTI Election Commission, an exhaustive session was held with technical experts to address issues that could impact free, fair and transparent intra-party elections.13

On December 30, 2015, the PTI Election Commission released a test registration procedure, which is indicative of the fact that the party is working diligently to hold internal elections in a serious manner so as to avoid irregularities based on lessons learnt in the previous party elections.14

 

References:

1. Bilawal chairs PPP’s CEC Meeting, DAWN, December 27, 2015, as accessed on Jan 1, 2016 at
http://www.dawn.com/news/1228928/bilawal-chairs-peoples-partys-cec-meeting-today

2. Information received from party secretariat by PILDAT on December 18, 2015

3. Zardari to become President of PPP-P, DAWN, December 28, 2015, as accessed on January 2, 2016 at
http://www.dawn.com/news/1229144/zardari-to-become-president-of-ppp-parliamentarians

4. Meeting with Senior Deputy Convenor, Dr. Farooq Sattar, on January 8, 2016 in Karachi

5. MQM nominates Waseem Akhtar as mayor, The News, December 15, 2015, as accessed on January 6, 2016 at
http://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/82052-MQM-nominates-Waseem-Akhtar-as-Karachi-mayor

6. ECP annoyed over PTI for not submitting funding account’s details, Daily Times, December 3, 2015, as accessed on January 2, 2016 at
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/03-Dec-2015/ecp-annoyed-over-pti-for-not-submitting-funding-account-s-details

7. No concept of public scrutiny of party’s funds, Daily Times, December 20, 2015, as accessed on January 2, 2015 at
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/03-Dec-2015/ecp-annoyed-over-pti-for-not-submitting-funding-account-s-details

8. Official facebook page of Mr. Akbar S. Babar https://www.facebook.com/Akbar-S-Babar-PTI-official-180101955416268

9. Financial irregularities: PTI asked to submit foreign funds details, Express Tribune, April 2, 2015 as accessed on November 7, 2015 at