This monitor is meant to identify key developments during the months on Internal Democracy of Political Parties in Pakistan. In this issue:
- Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – PPP forms Provincial Coordination Committees as part of party’s reorganisation process
- National Party (NP) – National Party forms an internal accountability committee
- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – Appointment of Secretary General and Vice-Chairman of PTI by nomination by Chairman Imran Khan
- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – PTI Constitution continues to be in abeyance
Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s meeting with the Punjab Coordination Committee
On May 17, 2016, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto
Zardari presided over a meeting of the party’s newly formed Sindh Coordination
Committee at the Bilawal House in Karachi. He asserted that the participation
of women, minorities and youth was integral throughout the party’s reorganisation
process.1 This reorganisation
process commenced last month after the media cell of the PPP released an official
notification on April 13, 2016 announcing the dissolution of all bodies of the
parties down to the district level. These organisations were consequently replaced
with five-member provincial organising committees for each province.
As per media reports, it was stated that the decision had been taken during a meeting between the Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and a delegation of senior party leaders at the Zardari House in Islamabad, in April 2016. The senior members who were present during the meeting included:
- Ms. Faryal Talpur, MNA
- Former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf
- Syed Khurshid Shah, MNA; Leader of the Opposition
- Former Chairman Senate Senator Farooq Naek
- Senator Aitzaz Ahsan
- Former Chairman Senate Mr. Nayyar Bokhari,
- Mr. Latif Khosa, Secretary General, PPP
- Senator Sherry Rehman, Vice-President, PPP-P
- Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA
- Former Senator Jehangir Bader,
- Mr. Faisal Karim Kundi, Central Secretary Information, PPP-P
- Senator Saleem Mandviwala,
- Senator Rehman Malik,
- Ch. Qamar Zaman Kaira, Secretary Information, PPP
- Mr. Ijaz Jhakrani, MNA
- Mr. Jamil Soomro,
- Ms. Rukhsana Bangash,
- Ms. Fouzia Habib and
- Senator Farhatullah Babar2
In a notification issued on the party’s official website, the formation of five-member coordination committees in each province was announced. The following are the names of members that have been nominated by the party Chairman to the coordination committees in each province:
Punjab (Central) Coordination Committee:
- Raja Pervez Ashraf
- Rana Farooq Ahmad Khan
- Mr. Nadeem Afzal Chan
- Mr. Manzoor Ahmad
- Mr. Nadeem Kaira
Punjab (South) Coordination Committee:
- Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani
- Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood
- Mr. Shaukat Mahmood Basra
- Mr. Toochi Khan
- Mr. Nawazish Ali Pirzada
Sindh Coordination Committee:
- Mr. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro
- Syed Murad Ali Shah
- Maula Bux Chandio
- Ms. Nafisa Shah
- Mr. Rashid Rabbani
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Coordination Committee:
- Mr. Rahim Dad Khan
- Mr. Humayoon Khan
- Mr. Noor Alam Khan
- Ms. Rubina Khalid
- Mr. Shujah (Shazi) Khan
Balochistan Coordination Committee:
- Senator Sardar Fateh Muhammad Hasni
- Former Senator Sabir Baloch
- Haji Ali Madad Jatak
- Sardar Sirbuland Khan
- Mr. Aijaz Baloch
The official notification further included the following terms of references under which the coordination committees will operate:
- To mobilise the party and launch membership campaigns in consultation with and involvement of party workers
- To recommend at least 3 names for each organisation in the province up to the district level on the basis of political standing, past performance, reputation for integrity and overall acceptability among the workers
- To hold regular periodic meetings and to submit to Chairman’s Secretariat fortnightly reports thereof
- To hold district level conventions in all districts of the Province
- To prepare and maintain a record of complete profile of nominations made to each party office and to make it available on demand to the Chairman’s Secretariat
- The Coordination Committees shall properly record minutes of its meetings for ready reference3
The following week, in April 2016, a questionnaire was made public by Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as part of the re-organisation process for the purpose of generating a constructive debate regarding how the PPP could be revived. Following are the six questions that have been put forward:
- What in your understanding are the PPP’s core goals? How far has the party come in reaching these milestones?
- How can the PPP retain its fundamental values while responding to emerging challenges?
- What are the principal challenges the party faces today, what are the key challenges the country faces as well?
- How in your view can the party’s organisational structure at different levels be improved?
- How can the internal and external communication of the party be made more effective?
- What would be the economic, social and political priorities of the Party as it gears up to face the challenges of the future? Please indicate three priorities for the Party to immediately focus on and three more for long-term policy making.4
PILDAT commends the initiative taken by the Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with regards to the reorganisation of PPP and the measures it has undertaken to institutionalise and improve the functioning of the party. However, currently, the constitutions of PPP and PPP-P are both inadequate documents that cannot account for its intra-party structures and procedures. It should be noted that relevant provisions in the party constitution regarding such procedures would have aided the party in this endeavour had there been more structure and clarity in the constitution. No convenor or head of the provincial coordination committee has been nominated. It is therefore not clear who among the committee will take initiative to organize meetings and to record minutes etc.
National Party President Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo addressing members of NP during the party’s Central Committee meeting held on May 15, 2016
On May 6, 2016, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) recovered local and foreign currency along with gold from the residence of the Balochistan’s former Finance Secretary, Mr. Mushtaq Raisani. As per media reports, Mr. Raisani has been accused of embezzlement of billions of rupees from the national exchequer and misuse of authority. Moreover, NAB also issued three summonses to the Balochistan Finance Advisor, Mr. Khalid Langove..5 Mr. Khalid Langove immediately submitted his resignation and presented himself for accountability.
In light of this news, on May 15, 2016, President of the National Party (NP), Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping, announced formation of an accountability committee within the party at a press conference in Quetta. A meeting of the party’s Central Committee had taken place on the same day wherein it was decided that the assets of all parliamentarians of NP would be made public.
The President of the NP iterated that this was the first time the party was facing charges of corruption.6 Moreover, as per media reports, Balochistan’s Former Chief Minister Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch also presented himself for accountability since he was serving as the Chief Minister of the province when this alleged corruption was carried out.
PILDAT spoke to National Party’s Secretary General of Rawalpindi District, Mr. Abdullah Dayo, who informed that a 3-member accountability committee, headed by Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch, had been formed that also included Mir Tahir Bizenjo, Senior Vice President of NP and Jan Buledi. Mr. Dayo explained that the party already had an established tradition of requiring their parliamentarians to submit a summary of their assets to the party’s Central Secretariat every year. However, with the formation of this accountability committee, all members of the party can submit an application if they carry knowledge about any member, be it lawmaker or not, who may be involved in any corrupt or illegal activity. Members can submit applications either in their name or anonymously.
On January 15, 2016, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had stated that the party’s intra-party elections would be completed before April 25, 2016. On April 11, 2016, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had announced that the party’s intra-party elections had been postponed in view of the circumstances created by the leaks of the Panama papers.
Prior to the announcement of the postponement of intra-party elections, PTI’s former Central Organiser Mr. Jahangir Khan Tareen had announced his withdrawal from playing any part in the intra-party elections. Mr. Tareen’s decision came when the party’s former National Organiser Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi had addressed a Punjab Workers’ Convention in Lahore and had announced his support for PTI MNA Mr. Shafqat Mahmood for the post of PTI Punjab President. The party’s internal conflicts and challenges came to the forefront when Mr. Qureshi had openly criticised his fellow party leaders Mr. Jahangir Khan Tareen and Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar for creating rifts within the party.
PTI Vice Chairman Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PTI Secretary General Mr. Jahangir Khan Tareen
And on June 21, 2016, according to official notifications posted on PTI website, PTI Chairman Imran Khan appointed Mr. Jahangir Khan Tareen as the Secretary General of the party and Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi as the Vice-Chairman of the party. It may not be wrong to say now that the PTI has officially failed in its endeavour to hold intra-party elections, as the postponement seems to be for an indefinite period of time or at least until after the General Election due in May 2018.
The saga of PTI intra-party elections had started soon after the party had held its first elections in March 2013 followed by the verdict of the election tribunal exercise in October 2014, dissolution of all elected bodies in March 2015, formation of an interim-party structure with the same office-bearers in the same month and constitution of an independent election commission for intra-party election, formulation of new election rules in September 2015 under the leadership of Mr. Tasneem Noorani, membership drives, training of election coordinators, formulation of an election procedure and the election schedule and then resignation of Mr. Tasneem Noorani in March 2016.
The democratic credentials of the party has taken more than a few knocks.