This monitor is meant to identify key developments during the month on Internal Democracy of Political Parties in Pakistan. In this issue:
1) Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) –
2) Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – Direct intra-party elections
3) Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – Mr. Ejaz Chaudhry decides against contesting for PTI Punjab President post
4) Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) – Membership campaign to form youth wing
5) Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) – Senator Iqbal Zafar Jhagra selected KP governor
6) Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) – JUI-F and JUI-N merge
7) Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) – Leadership dissolves party bodies for reorganisation
8) Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) – Party convener and 9-member Supreme Council announced in an emergency meeting
On February 4, 2016, PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced the party’s decision to participate in the upcoming Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) general election at the inaugural ceremony of the party’s central secretariat for AJK chapter in Islamabad. He also stated that the PTI AJK President Barrister Sultan Mehmood would be responsible for the party’s ticket allocation and that a parliamentary board would also be formed under him.1
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressing party supporters on February 4, 2016 in Islamabad
On February 24, 2016, a notification by the Chairman Secretariat of PTI was issued in which the following names were announced as part of the Parliamentary Board for AJK Election 20162:
- Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry, Chairman
- Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Member
- Jahangir Khan Tareen, Member
- Sarwar Khan, Member
- Zafar Anwar, Member
- Sardar Imtiaz Khan, Member
- Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, Member
- Deewan Ghulam Mohiuddin, Member
- Abbas Raza, Member
It is also relevant to note here that Barrister Sultan Mehmood had joined PTI on February 5, 20153 and only four days later, was appointed President of the party’s AJK chapter on February 9, 2015.4 He is also a former Prime Minster of AJK.
On February 10, 2016, PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced that the party’s elections due to be held this year (2016) would follow the procedure of direct election from the Union Council level up to the Centre.5
Media reports suggested that there was a deadlock upon the matter of holding direct election between the different factions of the party and the Chief Election Commissioner of PTI, Mr. Tasneem Noorani. The party chairman formed a three-member committee consisting of Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Mr. Asad Umar and Shah Farman in order to resolve this matter.6
PILDAT met with Mr. Tasneem Noorani on March
02, 2016, at the PTI Election Commission Office in Islamabad and it was clarified
that the intra-party election will be held directly. He further added that one
election would take place per day. However, it remains undecided as to whether
the results will be announced collectively or at the end of each day. Mr. Noorani
added that voting would take place through SMS (1 SIM = 1 vote), and not using
IVR (a vote by phone method) like the last time. Electronic ballot papers will
be messaged to voters, and codes will be assigned to contestants. Voters will
SMS back with the code to register their vote.7
On February 25, 2016, PTI Election Commission also issued a notification that consisted of ‘Standard Operating Procedures’ for the PTI Election Coordinators.8
On February 29, 2016, PTI’s Ideological Workers’ Group leader Mr. Ejaz Chaudhry withdrew his candidature for the position of PTI Punjab President and announced contesting election for a council member in the Centre. 9 In the previous party election of 2013, Mr. Ejaz Chaudhry was elected as PTI’s Punjab President. However, in May 2015, when all the party offices were dissolved by the party’s Chairman on the orders of PTI Election Tribunal and an interim set-up was established to run the party affairs, former Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar was selected to head the PTI Punjab chapter as its Organiser.10
Mr. Ejaz Chaudhry, former PTI Punjab President
Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, despite various objections with regards to his eligibility for the position, is also contesting for the post of PTI Punjab President. Media reports say that other candidates for the slot include Dr Yasmin Rashid, Rai Azizullah and Mr. Waleed Iqbal, Mr. Umer Sarfraz Cheema, Mr. Muhammad Khan Madni and Mr. Shafqat Mahmood.
The JI provincial chief, Mushtaq Ahmed Khan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, announced a one-month membership campaign on February 19, 2016 at the Peshawar Press Club, in order to form the party’s youth wing. As per media reports, the registration process commenced on February 20, 2016 and end on March 20, 2016. Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed Khan further elaborated that the party had set a target of 500,000 members, of which 100,000 would be from FATA. Moreover, the entire process of registration would be online and by dialling a code 9291 via mobile phone.
This youth wing will be in addition to the JI’s other sister organisation, Islami Jamiat Talba. It will be called the JI Youth Wing.11 With regards to procedure of the campaign, Mr. Khan stated that an awareness campaign would be launched in order to ensure direct contact with people in different localities across KP to register at least 500 youth in each union council.12 However, it was clarified by the JI secretariat that membership campaign is taking place across the country.
On February 25, 2016, a one-line statement was issued by the Prime Minister Office’s media wing that said, simply, “The prime minister has advised the president to appoint Iqbal Zafar Jhagra as governor KP.”13 A summary for the appointment had also been sent to the President of Pakistan, Mr. Mamnoon Hussain.14
It has not come to light what, if any, process of intra-party consultation could have been behind this decision.
Mr. Iqbal Zafar Jhagra
With Senator Jhagra’s new assignment as the Governor of KP, his seat in the Senate will be vacated and filled through the selection of a new party candidate for the senate. It is pertinent to mention here that Senator Jhagra also serves as the Secretary General of the ruling party in the centre, PML-N, and which is another post that he will have to resign from in order to fulfil the role of a governor.
Joint Press Conference of the leaders of JUI-F and JUI-N announcing a merger in Quetta
On February 25, 2016, at a joint press conference in Quetta, the two factions of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam — JUI-Fazl and JUI-Nazaryati — announced that all differences between them had been settled and that they had decided to merge with each other. The Central Amir of JUI-F Maulana Fazlur Rehman and JUI-N Chief Maulana Asmatullah, along with another leader Mohammad Hanif, announced the merger of the two factions.
In 2007, Maulana Asmatullah had formed JUI-N in Balochistan after differences had emerged over policy matters with the JUI-F. A large number of senior leaders and workers attended the press conference, including the Senate’s Deputy Chairman Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Maulana Saleemullah Khan, Maulana Anwar-ul-Haq Haqqani, JUI-F’s Provincial Amir Maulana Faiz Mohammad and Malik Sikandar Khan.15
Maulana Shujaul Mulk, Secretary General of JUI-F KP, informed PILDAT that consultations regarding the merger took place at the level of Markazi Majlis-e-Aamla (Central Executive Committee) and Markazi Majlis-e-Shura (Central Consultative Council) and that majority of the two bodies were on board with the merger.16
On February 22, 2016, the PML-Q leadership dissolved all party organisations in Punjab and established three committees for the purpose of its reorganisation. According to media reports, the decision was reached at a meeting presided over by PML-Q Punjab President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Mr. Basharat Raja, Dr Azeemuddin Lakhvi, Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, Mr. Ahmad Yar Hiraj, Mr. Aamir Sultan Cheema and Mr. Tariq Bashir Cheema were also present in the meeting.
Three committees were formed at this meeting: one each for upper Punjab, south Punjab, and central Punjab. A time period of 3 months has been given to these bodies for completing the reorganisation of the party in Punjab. Furthermore, the committees are required to report to the party leadership every two weeks along with visiting each district under their jurisdiction and nominating new office-bearers after consulting with local party leaders and workers. It has not been made clear whether any fresh intra-party election will take place for this purpose.17
The founder and leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Mr. Altaf Hussain presided over an emergency meeting that was called to discuss political and organisational issues, on-going cases in London, and the overall situation at the national and international level.
As per a press release issued on the MQM website on January 31, 2016, it was decided during the meeting that Mr. Nadeem Nusrat would be made the Convener of MQM. 18 Earlier in October 2015, the appointment of Mr. Nadeem Nusrat as Acting Convener of the Coordination Committee was announced. Mr. Nadeem Nusrat is the first person to become Convenor of the party after the death of Dr. Imran Farooq in September 2010.
Along with this news, the constitution of nine-member Supreme Council was also announced. The council consists of the following members:
- Convener Nadeem Nusrat
- Senior Deputy Convener Dr. Farooq Sattar
- Barrister Dr. Faroogh Nasim
- Senator Nasreen Jalil
- Kanwar Naveed
- Rauf Siddiqui
- Babar Khan Ghouri
- Ms. Kishwar Zahra
- Iftikhar Hussain.
It has not been stated clearly what was the purpose of this council as there is also no constitutional provision for it.