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PTI election tribunal ‘summons’ Imran

PTI election tribunal ‘summons’ Imran

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) internal party rift once again reared its head on Saturday when a two-member election tribunal, headed by retired Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed, summoned party chairman Imran Khan to appear before it on April 21 to explain why he had not complied with its earlier orders.

The summons came as a surprise for many in the PTI as Mr Khan had already dissolved the tribunal last month after it issued a detailed judgment on March 18, recommending fresh intra-party polls due to serious irregularities in the intra-party election process and called for the dissolution of all party offices at the organisational level.

Yousuf Malik Gabol is the other member of the tribunal. The party’s Information Secretary, Dr Shireen Mazari told Dawn the tribunal had already been dissolved, “but Mr Khan has decided on his own to go before Justice Wajihuddin and other members to answer all their queries because we are a democratic party and Mr Khan believes in leading by example”.

In its latest order on April 10, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the tribunal has also shown concern over the PTI chairman’s decision to allow former office-bearers – some of whom have been accused of committing irregularities in the intra-party elections – to continue as caretakers until fresh elections are held.

Party sources told Dawn that the tribunal had actually summoned Mr Khan after the latter made an attempt to meet Mr Wajihuddin during his recent trip to Karachi. They said that Mr Khan had tried to call on Justice Wajih at his residence, but was unable to meet him.

The tribunal’s latest order confirms that Mr Khan did try to meet with Justice Wajih in person, ostensibly to pacify the latter who is now asserting his position as the head of the tribunal.

“While the tribunal has been passing vocal and [spoken] orders, it is apprehended that the chairman PTI has not been explained the finer aspects of such orders. Indeed, [when] the chairman was in Karachi on April 8-9 and desired to see the tribunal, the tribunal could not accede to a private meeting, since the same would have been contrary to judicial norms,” says the order.

“Anyway, because the chairman PTI needs to be apprised of the intricacies involved, we have thought fit to fix April 21 Gabol House for his appearance. On such date only the parties, their counsel and PTI leaders, together with those specifically allowed by the tribunal, would be permitted to attend,” it adds.

On the other hand, the tribunal “cannot overlook the fact that, pursuant to the tribunal’s orders, instead of genuine caretakers being appointed, the same office-bearers, against many of whom serious electoral irregularities surfaced, have been permitted to continue.”

“This is claimed to be till the election schedule recommended by the [party’s] election commission. The fact of the matter is that this tribunal has itself promulgated electoral parameters. In this unfortunate situation, if the continuing office-bearers are deemed to be caretakers, all of them, in terms of the tribunal’s order, may stand disqualified from the intra-party elections,” says the order.

However, instead of passing any direct order against these appointments, the tribunal has decided to allow them to function until April 21.

“Now that (the) chairman would be available to us on April 21, as above, we would leave the decision on this question till the Chairman is heard,” it says.

The tribunal has also expressed its displeasure over the party leadership’s failure to issue a show-cause notice to PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen. In its order, Mr Tareen has been named as the former secretary general.

“Jahangir Tareen, formerly the party secretary general, required to show cause within seven days as to why his basic membership be not taken away, has, regrettably, not responded,” says the order.

Commenting on the PTI election tribunal’s order, PTI’s former information secretary Akbar Babar stated that the PTI was at a crossroads. He said Imran Khan had to decide either to restore transparency and accountability or permanently became a party of the status quo.

Mr Babar who has been consistently campaigning against a lack of transparency and accountability within the party since Sept 2011, said that Justice Wajih’s order was his vindication.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2015

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