Imran elected unopposed
In the final phase of the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) intra-party elections, Imran Khan has been elected as PTI Chairman unopposed on Wednesday. Imran submitted his nomination papers for the top PTI slot and no other PTI leader filed nomination papers to contest him, and hence he was declared PTI Chairman. Similarly, Azam Khan Swati was elected as Senior Vice President (Religious) unopposed as no one filed nomination papers against Swati.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2013
Election for PTI's National Council is scheduled for March 21 (today) in the provincial capital and PTI leaders from all provinces filed their nomination papers for the following slots: Chairman, President, Vice Chairman, five Senior Vice Presidents (at least one from each province), 12 Vice Presidents (at least two, one male and one female, from each province), General Secretary, Additional Secretary General, 4 Deputy Secretaries-General (one from each province), 4 Joint Secretaries (one from each province), Secretary Legal Affairs, Secretary Public Welfare, Secretary Education, Secretary Health, Secretary Culture, Secretary Religious Affairs, Secretary Publicity, Secretary Minorities, Secretary Labour, Secretary Foreign Affairs, Secretary Defence Affairs, Secretary Internal Security, Secretary International Chapters. In addition to that, elections for the following positions will also be held: President and General Secretary, Women, President Labour, President, Minorities and President Youth.
The 262 people elected to the following positions shall constitute the electoral college to elect the National Council: the office-bearers of the provincial organisations, the Presidents of the regional organisations and the Presidents of the district organisations. Former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has submitted his nomination papers for the slot of Vice Chairmanship. His opponents are Bakhtiar Kasuri and Saifullah.
There will be an interesting contest between the old and new guards for the slot of president. Omar Cheema, an old guard, has submitted his nomination papers to challenge the increasing influence of new comers, and is determined to give a tough time to Javed Hashmi.
On the seat of General Secretary, Dr Arif Alvi will contest the party elections. While talking to media after submitting his nomination papers, Imran said both the PPP and PML-N had shown negligence on coming to a consensus over a caretaker prime minister. He said that it was astounding that the parties had managed to pass three constitutional amendments, but failed to resolve the issue of caretaker prime minister.
To another question, he welcomed the announcement of the election date (May 11) by President Asif Ali Zardari and added that today the people had become liberated from incompetent and corrupt rulers. He observed that this was the worst five years in the history of the country. He urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to play its role in conducting free and fair elections. "All rules should be followed and it should ensure that the corrupt and tax defaulters are barred from the forthcoming general elections," he added.
Imran observed that the time had come for a positive change in country. He averred that the PTI's March 23 public gathering would prove all those people wrong, who had said that the PTI tsunami had died down. "The forthcoming general elections will be a fight between the forces of status quo and the forces and change. By participating in the March 23 public gathering, the people will send a clear message that they want a change in the country," he added.
When asked about the ECP's decision of reducing the days of scrutiny from 30 to 7, Imran said that the task of scrutiny would not only become difficult but impossible. He was of the view that if the ECP increases manpower, scrutiny of all candidates would be possible within 7 days, since all related data was available.
To a question, he replied that after March 23 they would hold talks with the leaders of Jamaat-i-Islami on seat adjustment. On Tahirul Qadri's decision of boycotting the general elections, Imran said that he would advise Tahirul Qadri that change is only possible through balloting. He said that he was against the agreement made between Tahirul Qadri and the PPP government. "He should continue the job of creating awareness about not voting for corrupt candidates and that too belonging to a party with a militant wing," he added.
He was of the view that a caretaker government's job is to conduct free and fair elections, and that only an elected government can bring a change in the country. While congratulating the PTI workers for successfully conducting the intra-party elections, he said this had changed Pakistani politics on a permanent basis. "We have set a precedent for other political parties; in future their workers will also demand intra-party elections," he added.
He said that the party had taken the first step (party elections) towards making a new Pakistan before coming into power. He pointed out that the PTI had made history by becoming the first political party in South Asia to conduct party elections. "I have filed my nomination papers for the slot of party chairmanship and after 17 years of struggle, today I am happy to see that the PTI is established as an institution," he added.