After the dismal performance in the Local Government (LG) polls, Imran Khan and the PTI have serious introspection to do. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has gone to reiterate his consistent stance that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is the source of all evil, alleging that the recently held local government (LG) polls were worse than 2013 general elections in terms of rigging. While tenacity and perseverance are generally qualities one appreciates, to flog a dead horse and that too for a long period of two years, surely irks many.

He has insisted that all political parties are vocal of the fact that state machinery was used for pre-poll rigging in the elections in Punjab, rural Sindh and Karachi. While that might be true to some extent, no voices of dissent are heard except for PTI’s. Although he was gracious enough to accept the shortcomings of the party and the pressing need for organizational restructuring within the party, he also went on to comment that the PTI would again take to the streets, if the rulers try to appoint handpicked officials before the next general elections in 2018. Such a move would be not be recommended under any circumstance as the PTI has lost many supporters after the dharna fiasco and the poll numbers are testament to that.

Perhaps the biggest challenge that lies in the way of PTI conducting intra party elections is the disqualification of 55 senior leaders, by Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed including Imran, from contesting the intra-party polls. Wajihuddin, who heads the PTI’s election tribunal, has sent a letter to Imran, asking him to implement all the tribunal’s orders that barred all those who held party offices after the dissolution order of March 18. The disqualified members include Aleem Khan, Chaudhry Sarwar, Jahangir Tareen and Shah Mahmood Qureshi amongst others.

As the list includes all the prominent leaders who have some extent of voter support, without them holding the intra-party elections would be as good as an empty exercise. Instead of taking to the streets to fight a war that the PTI has lost time and time again, it must first sort out the internal problems that it faces to reorganize effectively and learn from the mistakes it has made so far. PTI must work at the grass root level to gain momentum if it hopes to have any chances of winning seats come next general election.