ISLAMABAD - PTI Chairman Imran Khan has suspended the basic party membership of senior party leader Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed as there looks no end to internal rifts in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Imran, the other day, had issued a circular to the party members with a clear warning that if any individual commented on internal party affairs on any public forum, his/her basic party membership would be immediately suspended.

“If any member goes public and challenges party decisions, it is a serious breach of discipline and unacceptable,” Khan said, adding, that he was concerned about internal party matters and decisions which were being commented upon by PTI members at public fora.

Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed, the head of PTI’s Internal Election Tribunal, became first victim of the circular of Chairman Imran Khan though latter had been showing patience for the former in past despite election tribunal’s decisions against some senior leaders of the party.

Khan in a reconciliation mood had held a meeting with Justice (r) Wajihuddin last week but the former again issued a public statement after the meeting that he stood by his decision of suspending party membership of Jehangir Khan Tareen, Pervez Khattak and two other party leaders. Wajih, the head of ET that was probing allegations of rigging in last intra party polls of PTI, had said that Tareen and Khattak had been found involved in rigging in the intra-party elections.

Dr Shireen M Mazari, spokesperson for Chairman PTI Imran Khan in a statement on Wednesday said that Justice (r) Wajihuddin had openly defied party discipline even after the issuance of chairman’s notification on 4th August, clearly stating that anyone discussing internal party matters publicly would be suspended immediately from party membership. Defying the chairman’s notification justice (r) Wajihuddin had also declared that he would continue to air internal party matters in public.

The chairman pointed out that because he had always been the highest respect for Justice (r) Wajihuddin, he held a 3-hour meeting with him last weekend.

The chairman made clear that no democratic political party allows its members to discuss internal party matters in the public domain, especially on the media. A democratic culture within a political party should not be mistaken for freewheeling anarchy. All parties function within a structured discipline and party forums exist to air grievances and seek redressal. Even in Western democracies, no political party allows its members to go public with internal issues and hurl baseless allegations against its leadership.

PTI chief reminded that PTI was the only political party in Pakistan that had held intra-party elections at every tier of its organization. It is also the only party that set up an Election Tribunal to examine election petitions arising out of the intra-party elections and then agreed to hold these elections again because of the lapses in the first-ever elections held in 2013. However, nowhere in the democratic world does a tribunal attribute to itself the role of judge, juror and executioner. This is untenable.

Imran Khan regretted that Justice (r) Wajihuddin’s maligning of senior party leaders on baseless allegations had damaged the party more than the combined forces of the opposition ever could.

“In view of the above facts, and in the light of the 4th August notification, the chairman has been left with no choice but to suspend Justice Wajihuddin’s basic party membership,” Dr Mazari said in the statement.

Khan also made clear there should be no confusion on the fact that according to the party Constitution it was the chairman who is authorised to make the final decision on what is in the best interest and advancement of the party.