ISLAMABAD - Contrary to past precedent and in violation of the party’s original constitution, a number of ministers and other functionaries of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led federal and provincial governments have yet to give up their party positions.

According to the original constitution of PTI, any government office-bearer cannot hold any party office. In other words, any member of PTI cannot hold dual offices, in the government and in the party, simultaneously and would have to give up one.

At a time when 21-member review committee of the PTI in the chair of its Secretary General Arshad Dad is reviewing the party constitution, it is not yet clear that it would retain or restore this provision barring any member of party from holding dual offices.

Then chairman PTI and now Prime Minister Imran Khan after the 2013 General Elections had directed two major leaders of the party from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to resign from the party positions immediately after they became office-bearers in the provincial government. Then Secretary General PTI Pervez Khattak and then PTI’s provincial president KP Asad Qaiser had resigned from their party positions soon they were elected as chief minister KP and speaker KP Assembly respectively. Khattak is now defence minister and Qaiser is the speaker National Assembly.

Besides, Prime Minister Imran Khan who is also chairman of his own party—PTI, the other important federal government functionaries who also hold party offices at the moment are Foreign Affairs Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi who holds the office of vice-chairman PTI, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan as senior vice president, Ports and Shipping Minister Ali Zaid also as senior vice-president, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry as secretary information, and State Minister for Communications Murad Saeed as deputy secretary general PTI.

The others are Kashmir Affairs Minister Ali Amin Gandapur who also holds position of PTI’s regional president KP (South) and Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Farrukh Habib also has the portfolio of party’s deputy secretary general. Recently appointed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar holds the party position of deputy secretary general.

At the provincial level, the incumbent Governor KP Shah Farman holds the party position of president Peshawar region and has yet to be replaced with someone else. Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz Ul Hassan Chohan also has the position of party’s deputy secretary information.

An office-bearer of the PTI’s Central Secretariat said that the party had already started replacing those party office-bearers who are government functionaries or hold constitutional positions. Quoting the examples, he said that Amir Bakhsh Bhutto has been appointed as party president of Sindh chapter replacing Dr Arif Alvi, the President of Pakistan. Similarly, Khurram Sher Zaman has been appointed as party president Karachi replacing Firdous Shamim Naqvi who is now the leader of opposition in the Sindh Assembly, he said.

The others are National Health Services Minister Aamer Mahmood Kiani who has been replaced with Attaullah Shadi Khel on the position of Punjab president (North), and senior minister in Punjab government Aleem Khan has also replaced with Umar Dar on the position of PTI’s central Punjab president. Similarly, KP’s senior minister Atif Khan has also been replaced with Ijaz Chaudhry as the additional secretary general PTI.

Aizaz Asif, Deputy Secretary General PTI while talking to The Nation said that party wanted to implement the policy of ban on holding dual offices. “Right now, I don’t have exact knowledge that this provision is part of the party constitution or not,” he said adding perhaps this provision had been excluded from original constitution when it was submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan. A number of party’s office-bearers are now elected MNAs, senators, members of provincial assemblies or have become ministers, and constitution is being reviewed keeping in view all such developments, he said. “Now party’s constitution is being reviewed page by page,” Aizaz said adding that the proposed draft would be uploaded on the party’s website for public feedback. “There is very much expansion in PTI, we want to overhaul the constitution, plug loopholes, bring standardisation in it, and introduce a transparent merit system within the party in such a way  that  all members should be subservient to party constitution,” he said. He added that the upcoming local government election was also a big challenge for the party and constitution was also being reviewed so that tickets could be allocated under a transparent mechanism. He also said that party had learned a lot from a recent visit of China, and they wanted to replicate at least three values from Chinese model. These are introduction of merit within the party so that there should be no parachuting, an internal training and promotion mechanism within the party, he added.