LAHORE - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will hold new intra-party polls through SMS voting despite the party activists’ fears of rigging by following the mobile phone voting . PTI Chief Election Commissioner Tasneem Noorani told The Nation yesterday the entire intra-party polls would be held through SMS voting and piloting for this system would be launched next week to educate the voters.  The first intra-party polls which concluded in March 2013 adopted two modes of voting that included balloting at the polling stations established for this purpose and SMS , but the latter mode had minimum role. Despite its minimum role, Justice (r) Wajihuddin Commission found maximum rigging practices in the SMS voting .

Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed, an outspoken leader of Khan’s party , told The Nation that voting through SMS would multiply the opportunities of rigging the new intra-party polls and the mistake of March 2013 would be repeated. “The vote process must be organized through physical balloting at the party’s polling stations and not through SMS ,” insisted Ahmed. Noorani, however, said, “The party activists will be briefed on the SMS voting and rehearsal will be carried out from next week. Training sessions will also be organized for vote through SMS .”  “The schedule for new intra-party polls and interim setup to assist the authorities for elections in all the four provinces and the Centre will be announced on January 15,” he added.
When asked about old or new voter lists after fresh membership drive, Noorani restricted to a few words and said, “There are possibilities of fresh membership drive, but I can’t share the details with regard to the party polls under old or new lists.”

“One of the important steps to ensure rigging-free polls is purging the old voter lists of bogus votes,” proposed Ahmed. “In the May 2013 party polls , there were 7.2 million party members that included personal servants and disciples of peers and landlords, who could never vote against the wishes of their masters. The new party polls must be held according to the old list after cleansing it of fake voters,” he said, while giving another suggestion for transparent party elections. “Those who become the party members as a result of a fresh membership drive after the announcement of polls schedule should not be registered as voters for a certain time. The party constitution which had been prepared under my supervision says a new member can use the right of vote if he secures membership at least 120 days before the announcement of intra-party polls ,” he added.

The party organizations were dissolved in May 2015 by Imran Khan on the recommendations of Ahmed’s Commission report which proposed fresh intra-party polls after finding out that the key leaders were involved in buying offices in the first polls . “The issue of transparency and mode of holding new intra-party polls is very important for PTI which staged 126-day sit-in at D-Chowk against rigging. We will lose credibility if we fail to purge our ranks of those who commit rigging,” opined the old party guard.