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Is PTI facing an existential crisis?

Existential Crisis
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News Desk |

Senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Fauzia Kasuri claims that her party, PTI, is facing an existential threat. She said this while addressing a crowd on Friday in Samundri, Faisalabad. Kasuri claimed that PTI had collectively compromised on the core party values of merit, accountability, rule of law and democracy. She also claimed that failure to build the PTI into an institution was a major cause of demoralization among the party workers and supporters.

Since losing the by-elections in Lodhran to the PML-N, senior PTI leadership has been busy contemplating the causes of a defeat and introspecting; creating fault lines within the PTI. Media circles have been busy pointing out the mistakes made by the PTI in the Lodhran elections; some have blamed the defeat on the arrogance of the PTI leadership while others claimed that the PTI candidate was not experienced enough to contest in a major election. Others have said PTI never stood a chance in a by-election so close to the general election. At such a time voters elect those that can get development funds from the government to build roads and other such things. Development funds that were promised by PML-N leaders during the 2015 by-election, that had not arrived for the past two years, have now started.

Read more: View from Lodhran: NA-154 Lodhran-Death of Political Parties?

Even though Fauzia Kasuri expressed her confidence in Imran Khan, she expressed that the power to hand over tickets to candidates should be with the ideological workers of PTI. She also said that the electables should be working in their own constituencies, not spending all their time in Bani Gala. Kasuri advised the PTI leadership to select candidates in consultation with the grass root representatives.

In 2013, Fauzia Kasuri left PTI, over granting of tickets for women’s reserved seats. Fauzia Kasuri was not given a seat, despite being a political worker since the party’s inception. She alleged that the party was hijacked by the ‘electable’ mafia. However, she rejoined the party within a month of quitting it, after PTI chief Imran Khan personally asked her to join back. Kasuri has had differences with the party leadership ever since. Fauzia Kasuri has advised Khan to invest in the grass root level and increase political base of the party rather than recruiting electables from other parties.

Read more: PTI in a state of dejection

A number of media analysts point out that even though all political parties claim to be the champions of democracy, no party practices democracy within itself. Imran Khan has always claimed that PTI was a party of youth and change but the steps taken by him in the past four and half years have drawn criticism that Khan has not remained true to his slogan. The last amendment in the PTI constitution also granted Khan extraordinary powers which party dissidents claim have made the party more autocratic.

Ali Tareen was given the ticket, despite more senior PTI people available from the constituency.

Political workers criticism is based on the fact that ‘electables’ from other political parties have been accepted into PTI by Imran Khan; which is earning his party the title of being turncoat. PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has compared joining PTI with performing pilgrimage as your past sins are washed in both cases. Rivals have criticized the PTI asking how can they claim to bring change by using the same old people from other parties and giving them leadership positions within the PTI.

The slogan of being a party of youth has also been contradicted by media groups since no new faces can be seen in the PTI ranks and youth leaders have not been given senior positions in the party. A major reason for the Lodhran defeat is said to be a lack of consensus among the local PTI leadership regarding the candidate Ali Tareen. He is said to have been nominated by Jahangir Tareen using his influence. Ali Tareen was given the ticket, despite more senior PTI people available from the constituency. Imran Khan, while speaking to a private news channel, accepted PTI’s mistake of nominating an inexperienced candidate but apprised that the PTI didn’t have much choice in the matter. Media analysts criticized Khan, stating that if he lacked the choice while finding a candidate in a by-election then how would he find candidates to compete in the general elections.


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