Cross-posted from Pakistan Blogzine
Imran Khan and his political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) suffered its biggest blow yet as one of its main leaders from Balochistan resigned, alleging that the party was toeing the line of Pakistan’s all powerful military establishment.
According to news reports, Central Vice President of Imran Khan’s PTI, Shahid Qazi resigned from the party blaming the central leadership of ignoring the province. Shahid Qazi, who is also a member of PTI’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) and its core group, also tendered his resignation from the basic membership of the PTI.
Qazi listed several grievances against the party chief Imran Khan including his acceptance of known pro-establishment opportunists and turncoats (lotas) from other political parties (PML-Q, PML-N, PPP etc) while ignoring the protest of sincere workers, and PTI’s complete silence on atrocities of Pakistan army against the Baloch people. He said many Q-League leaders and opportunists from other parties are being accepted in PTI and more are to be accepted according to party’s policy.
Contents of Shahid Qazi’s resignation letter
“PTI is accepting all those people who are openly working for the establishment and recent policy changes strongly point towards the policies of the military establishment. Qazi identified the party’s attitude towards Balochistan, the leadership’s contacts with the MQM, policy to accept former aides of General Pervez Musharraf into PTI folds, no intra-party elections, and becoming the ‘establishment’s party’ as the reasons leading to his resignation. Qazi said that PTI’s central leadership had “always ignored Balochistan”. To substantiate his point, he claimed that the last rally was held almost two years ago in October 2009. Qazi also criticised the party’s policy of accepting PML-Q members saying, Q-League was responsible for many evils, including the murder of Akbar Khan Bugti and the killings of innocent Pakistanis. “It is very unfortunate that many Q-league leaders are being accepted by the PTI,” he added. Qazi said that Imran had ignored the protest of sincere workers over his telephonic conversation with MQM chief Altaf Hussain. Qazi added that no intra-party elections had been held in the past 10 years, which has opened the door for appointment of sycophants with examples abundant in the party’s central leadership.
In summary, Shahid Qazi has resigned in protest on following grounds:
1) Imran Khan’s failure to hold elections in PTI
2) Imran Khan’s failure to organize demonstrations and sit-ins against the murder of the Baloch people by Pakistan army
3) PTI’s acceptance of known turn-coats and opportunists from other political parties including those belonging to PPP, PML-N, PML-Q and Musharraf group
4) Imran Khan’s links with pro-establishment parties including Jamaat-e-Islami, PML-Q, Musharraf League, MQM etc.
Qazi is known to be a strong advocate of intra-party elections; under his presidency PTI Balochistan chapter held regular elections. PTI has almost nil presence in Balochistan, Qazi was working very hard to develop PTI as a grassroots party in the province.
See Shahid Qazi’s views on military operations in Balochistan (2:30 onwards):
We appreciate Qazi’s bold, principled stance and salute him on his moral courage. At the time when PTI has a chance to have considerable influence in Pakistani politics, its VP from Balochistan is leaving the party which shows that he is genuinely frustrated with the party’s policy. We hope that Imran Khan will give serious thought to Qazi’s complaints and will make an effort to address those issues and bring Qazi back to the party. We also suggest that Imran Khan considers getting rid of his VP from Punjab who is known to have links with extremist organizations (Sipah-e-Sahaba, Kahatam-e-Nabuwat etc).
Khan must also consider his policy of accepting turncoats and corrupt politicians in PTI. As noted by veteran columnist Kamran Shafi:
So then, the anti-politician politician is getting set to welcome into his party’s fold at least ‘12 former ministers’ alongside several ‘heavyweights’, whatever that means. Does Imran understand that accepting these much-travelled lotas and turncoats who have changed political parties like one would change clothes will do him no credit at all? That lotaism is the worst corruption in politics, for you change loyalties to get rewards: from sitting government’s jobs and patronage, from what are believed to be up and coming political parties such as the PTI, getting on to the bandwagon? Or was it always the case that he said one thing but meant entirely another?
Unfortunately, not unlike Dr. AQ Khan saga, PTI’s response has been less than mature. Instead of giving serious consideration to Shahid Qazi’s legitimate complaints, the party spokesperson (PTI Information Secretary Umer Cheema) has brushed aside all allegations levelled by Qazi saying, “These allegations are baseless. It could only be his (Qazi’s) personal opinion.”
Thus, not unlike the treatment meted out to Dr. AQ Khan after he refused to join the PTI, Shahid Qazi too is being abused and ridiculed by PTI members and fans for daring to criticize the party leadership. In the meanwhile, PTI keeps accepting political turn-coats and pro-establishment lotas from other political parties. Latest addition to the PTI are Awais Leghari of PML-Q (ex-Millat Party) and former intelligence cheif Masood Sharif Khattak. This gives further credence to the allegation that the PTI is the new king’s party in Pakistan’s politics.