Monitor on Political Parties’ Internal Democracy | October 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:

  1. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – Fresh interviews conducted by PTI
  2. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – Appointment of new PTI Lahore women wing president
  3. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – Funds raised by candidates for LB polls
  4. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – Lingering rifts and appointment of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to end differences
  5. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – Online membership initiative fails
  6. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari designated PPP social media chief
  7. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – Nadeem Nusrat made Acting Convener of Co-Ordination Committee

 
 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – Fresh interviews conducted by PTI


PTI Chief Spokesperson Mr. Naeemul Haq

As a result of the growing number of groupings in PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s constituency NA-56, the party formed a committee headed by Mr. Naeemul Haq, the Chief Spokesperson of PTI, for the purpose of resolving all relevant disputes between the groups led by MPAs and organisers of the party.1 Fresh interviews of aspiring candidates were conducted for the six Union Councils in Punjab but it is reported that the disputes remained unresolved.

 
 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – Appointment of new PTI Lahore women wing president

PTI Lahore Women Wing President, Dr. Zarqa Taimur, was promoted to the post of PTI Head of Media Cell in Punjab on October 25, 2015 and Ms. Rubina Jamil, who was earlier responsible for the Education Wing in Lahore, was appointed in her place. According to Ms. Saloni Bokhari, President of PTI Punjab Women’s Wing, she made these decisions in consultation with the Secretary General of PTI Punjab Women’s Wing, Ms. Saadia Sohail Rana. The reorganisation of PTI chapter in Lahore has come around after the results of NA-122 in which Mr. Ayaz Sadiq from PML-N won the by-poll election against Mr. Aleem Khan of PTI.

 
 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – Funds raised by candidates for LB polls

The PML-N has been able to collect a sum of Rs. 13.2 million through aspiring candidates of local body elections only from Faisalabad district.2 A spokesman of the party, Mr. Anwar Gulzar, has reported that around 4,100 candidates had submitted their applications for tickets to seats in 346 Union Councils and 122 Wards in rural and urban areas of district Faisalabad. The application fee for Chairman and Vice-Chairman was Rs. 5,000 and for Councilor was Rs. 2,000.3

 
 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – Lingering rifts and appointment of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to end differences


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif

On October 15, 2015, two groups of the PML-N Faisalabad chapter made serious allegations against each other at a press conference.4 Chaudhry Sher Ali, former MNA and father of Minister of State for Water and Power, Abid Sher Ali accused Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and some other MPAs of PML-N of humiliating loyal party workers. He claimed that Mr. Sanaullah was involved in the killing of 20 people in Faisalabad and that he would bring forward evidence to prove it. Rejecting these allegations Rana Sanaullah said that Mr. Sher Ali was just after the post of the Mayor of Faisalabad and that it was up to the party leadership to decide the candidate.

A similar clash came out in the open when the Defence Minister Khawaja Asif declared that he had not been on speaking terms with the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for the past four years.5 Chaudhry Nisar was quick to respond to this statement and said that he found it unnecessary to consult the Defence Ministry in matters of security as he was in direct contact with the Pakistan Army and GHQ (General Headquarters) on the war against terrorism.

These internal disputes within the party have been going on for too long and considering that it is Pakistan’s major ruling political party, they pose serious threats to the democratic setup of the country.

On October 17, 2015, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting of the party’s top leadership at his residence at Raiwind, and iterated that strict action would be taken against those who made differences within the party public. On this occasion, he gave Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif the task of ending differences among the PML-N leaders.6

Upon receiving this task, Mr. Abid Sher Ali along with Chaudhry Sher Ali met with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on October 26, 2015 in Lahore. Media reports say their complaints against the rival group led by Rana Sanaullah were discussed. However, nothing concrete was reported that would come as a solution to their growing hostilities.7

 
 Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – Online membership initiative fails


PPP KP Provincial President Mr. Khanzada Khan and Co-chairman Mr. Asif Ali Zardari

The provincial president of PPP in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mr. Khanzada Khan had last month initiated the idea of building an online database of the party’s membership in the province for the purpose of holding intra-party elections. On October 24, 2015, this initiative was withdrawn as the party failed to put a mechanism in place to implement this programme along with the excuse that a majority of the members were illiterate.8 The party’s provincial informational secretary Liaqat Shabab is reported to have said that the initiative did not turn out to be viable for such a large party. The party is now going to revert to the old tradition of physical distribution of forms for registration of members. Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had met with the PPP leaders of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Zardari house Islamabad on August 29, 2015 and announced that intra party elections would be held in four districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.9 This goes without saying that no further progress has been reported for the purpose of conducting party elections in KP along with the date of election remaining unannounced.

 
 Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari designated PPP social media chief


Ms. Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari and Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari

For the first time, Ms. Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari, elder daughter of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former President Asif Ali Zardari, was given an official portfolio of the PPP and designated the Social Media Chief on October 10, 2015.10 Ms. Bakhtawar’s new role and participation in the party affairs does not come as a surprise as the women in the Bhutto family have shown great political activism in the past. After the execution of PPP’s founder and leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, his wife Ms. Nusrat Bhutto led the party alone till their daughter Ms. Benazir Bhutto took over the reins in 1982 and continued to lead till her assassination in 2007.

PPP is the only political party in Pakistan that has upheld the tradition of women’s leadership and propagated the culture of women’s equal participation in all aspects of decision-making of the party. However, PPP also continues to promote the unhealthy culture of dynastic politics and this appointment of the party’s Co-chairman’s daughter and Chairman’s sister is yet another step towards reinforcing and formalizing the dynastic structure of the party.  

 
 Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – Nadeem Nusrat made Acting Convener of Coordination Committee


Senior Deputy Convenor Mr. Amer Khan and Acting Convenor Mr. Nadeem Nusrat

On October 15, 2015, a meeting was held at Nine Zero, MQM Headquarter in Karachi, between members of the Coordination Committee, MNAs, MPAs of the party and office-bearers of all wings of the party according to an official notification on the party’s website.11 This meeting resulted in the appointment of Mr. Nadeem Nusrat as Acting Convener of the Coordination Committee and Mr. Amer Khan as Senior Deputy Convener. These appointments were made with the consent of the leader of the party, Mr. Altaf Hussain. There are two other deputy convenors in the party as well, Mr. Shahid Pasha and Mr. Kaif-ul-Wara.

According to Article 13 of MQM’s constitution, all offices of the party are to be filled through elections every four years. However, frequent appointments as well as dismissals of Convenors and Coordination Committee members are a norm in the party.  

 

References:

  1. PTI invites ticket-seekers for fresh interviews, DAWN, October 20, 2015 as accessed on October 30, 2015 at
    http://www.dawn.com/news/1214305/pti-invites-ticket-seekers-for-fresh-interviews

  2. PML-N collects funds from aspiring candidates for local body elections, Express Tribune, October 8, 2015, as accessed on October 30, 2015 at
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/969176/pml-n-collects-funds-from-aspiring-candidates-for-local-body-elections/

  3. Information received from PML-N Secretariat, Islamabad

  4. Rifts in PML-N, DAWN, October 16, 2015, as accessed on October 30, 2015 at
    http://www.dawn.com/news/1213403/rifts-in-pml-n-as-ministers-father-slams-sanaullah-shahbaz

  5. Lingering tensions within PML-N came to surface, The News, October 16, 2015, as accessed on October 31, 2015 at
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-346019-Lingering-tensions-withinPML-N-coming-to-surface

  6. Those who made party rifts public to face action: Nawaz, The News, October 18, 2015, as accessed on October 31, 2015 at
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-40243-Those-who-made-party-rifts-public-to-face-action-Nawaz

  7. Sher Ali, son meet Shahbaz, DAWN, October 26, 2015, as accessed on October 31, 2015 at
    http://www.dawn.com/news/1215660/sher-ali-son-meet-shahbaz

  8. PPP online membership initiative fizzles out, DAWN, October 24, 2015, as accessed on October 31, 2015 at
    http://www.dawn.com/news/1215216

  9. Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari calls for FATA reforms, announces intra-party elections in KP, Media Cell PPP, August 29, 2015, as accessed on October 31, 2015 at
    https://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/chairman-ppp-bilawal-bhutto-zardari-calls-for-
    fata-reforms-announces-intra-party-elections-in-khyberpakhtunkhuwa/

  10. Bakhtawar made social media chief, The Nation, October 10, 2015, as accessed on October 30, 2015 at
    http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/10-Oct-2015/bakhtawar-made-ppp-social-media-chief

  11. Nadeem Nusrat made Acting Convenor of Coordination Committee, MQM Official website, October 15, 2015, as accessed on October 30, 2015 at
    http://www.mqm.org/englishnews/33521/nadeem-nusrat-made-