ISLAMABAD, February 13, 2021: In violation of its manifesto pledge to uphold merit, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) allotted Senate tickets to ‘handpicked’ candidates without inviting applications from the aspirants to contest the March 3 Senate polls.
Other major political parties – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – invited applications and finalized the lists of their respective candidates after proper deliberations within their parliamentary boards.
However, PTI finalized the list of its candidates solely on the recommendation of Prime Minister Imran Khan in his capacity as the chairman of the party’s parliamentary board for selection of candidates for Senate tickets.
Other members of the PTI parliamentary board include Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mehmood and party secretary-general Aamir Kayani.
PTI sources told this correspondent on condition of anonymity that the selection process has generated considerable resentment within the party’s rank and file and ticket aspirants, given that the majority of the tickets have been allotted to “outsiders” with no contribution to the party. “The process of selection was in clear contradiction to the set precedents, which is to invite applications from aspirants and to finalise names after scrutiny by the parliamentary board,” a PTI ticket aspirant said on condition of anonymity.
“In fact, a large number of ticket aspirants wanted to submit their applications and many had already applied but the Prime Minister reportedly overruled the recommendations of the board members and took a unilateral decision,” he maintained.
He continued that after the decision of the Prime Minister no one in the parliamentary board had the “guts” to challenge him.
However, another senior PTI leader who declined to be named said that the Prime Minister rejected the recommendations of the board members as a majority of the candidates they had finalized were believed to be either “related to them or their loyalists.”
He said that Pervez Khattak and Chief Minister KP Mehmood Khan and a couple of other members wanted to handpick their “favourites”.
In contrast PPP invited applications from aspiring candidates with a bank draft of Rs100,000, with the last date of submission given as February 8. The list was then finalized on the recommendations of the parliamentary board.
Talking to Business Recorder, PPP secretary-general Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said that the party’s parliamentary board finalized the list from the applications it received after a thorough scrutiny.
“PTI is not a democratic party and it is a party of the “establishment” that’s why it finalized its candidates without following the democratic precedents,” he maintained.
The PML-N invited applications for party tickets with a bank draft of Rs50,000 with the application and finalized the list after scrutiny by the committee. Political pundits however maintain that the final decision maker in all three national parties is the party leader but while the PPP and PML-N followed procedure clearly Imran Khan did not.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021