ISLAMABAD -  The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seems to be shying away from its earlier promise of holding intra-party elections, as in the latest move, it announced to “close” the party election commission due to “prevailing political conditions” in the country.

PTI chief Imran Khan through a notification, available with The Nation, issued here on Tuesday announced to close the party’s election commission and "laid off" its entire staff. “In view of the prevailing political conditions in the country, it has become necessary for the time being, to close the PTI election commission with immediate effect,” the notification says.

“Accordingly, the staff be laid off and the equipment and the hardware with complete inventory be handed over to the administration of Central Secretariat,” it said.

The PTI chairman said that the election commission would be revived as and when internal elections were announced.

An office-bearer of the PTI Central Secretariat wishing not to be named said that the election commission would have accrued extra financial burden on the party’s accounts should it not be disbanded. He, however, failed to say the exact reason behind the closure of the commission. He said that offices of the chief election commissioner (CEC) of the party and four provincial members of the commission stood dissolved with the closure of the commission.

The PTI chief had appointed Senator Noman Wazir Khattak as the CEC after his predecessor Tasneem Ahmed Noorani resigned from the post over his differences with the party leadership on the modus operandi of holding the intra-party polls.

Senator Khattak was not available for comments despite repeated attempts to get his views on the issue.

The PTI chief, a couple of months back, claimed that the party was going to become the first political party in Pakistan to hold “genuine intra-party polls”. The party had started a fresh membership drive through SMSs after Khan announced the intra-party polls in December 2015. With the announcement of the intra-party polls, all offices of the party were dissolved.

The elections were, however, delayed twice after Panama Papers leaks made the headlines in April in national and international media.

Khan announced to postpone the intra-party polls on the pretext of launching an anti-government movement over the Panama Papers issue and the “vacant” party positions were filled only through notifications. Now all office-bearers of PTI are non-elected. The latest move of the PTI shows that it has no intentions to hold intra-party polls anytime soon.

Some PTI insiders claim that the intra-party polls were cancelled because of the increasing internal rifts in the party as with the earlier announcement of the exercise, two big groups had emerged within the party.

Senior party leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi at that time while addressing party workers in Lahore had also vented his anger against Jehangir Khan Tareen, the incumbent secretary general of the party.