PTI: The enemy within

Kaptaan has spoken his mind. As a movement Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is unstoppable, only if it can deal with the enemy within. History may be repeating itself. In the sixties Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) successfully led a movement for change through his newly formed People’s Party. As his message was clearly understood, the voters responded. In the first and only free and fair election of 1970 he won 81 seats out of 138 West Pakistan National Assembly constituencies. There was a clean sweep in Lahore. ZAB declared the metropolis as the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) of Pakistan.

In August 1947 Quaid-e-Azam selected the first cabinet of Pakistan. He picked up the ablest members of the constituent assembly as under: Liaquat Ali Khan Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defense; I.I. Chundrigar Minister for Commerce Industries and Works; Raja Ghazanfar Ali Minister for Food, Agriculture, Health; Jogendra Nath Mandal Minister for Labour; Fazlur Rahman Minister for Interior, Information, Education. As Governor General Quaid decided to give up leadership of the Muslim League for which he wanted Inter Party Elections (IPE). He was perturbed by the infighting within the party and walked out of the meeting of the Executive Council as it remained inconclusive. The cabinet remained intact till the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951. Khawaja Nazimuddin stepped down from the position of Governor General and took oath as second PM of the new nation. The slide started with the murder of the first PM and enemy within the party was able to take control with Ghulam Muhammad (Gamma) as Governor General.

In August 1973 after the promulgation of the 1973 constitution, ZAB picked up a very able cabinet. Instead of the political elites for the first time he inducted members of the middle class as under:

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Minister for Defence, Foreign Affairs, Industries, Cabinet Division, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission; J.A. Rahim Minister for Production, Town Planning & Agrovilles, Commerce; Abdul Qayyum Khan Minister for Interior, States & Frontier Regions, Kashmir Affairs; Dr. Mubashir Hasan Minister for Finance, Planning & Development; Hayat Muhammad Khan Sherpao Minister for Fuel, Power, Natural Resources; Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Minister for Health & Social Welfare, Chairman Federal Land Commission; Khurshid Hasan Mir Minister without portfolio; Ghulam Mustafa Khan Jatoi Minister for Communications and Political Affairs; Abdul Hafiz Pirzada Minister for Education & Provincial Co-ordination, law and Parliamentary Affairs; Maulana Kausar Niazi Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Auqaf & Hajj; Sardar Ghaus Baksh Raisani Minister for Food, Agriculture, Rural Development; Muhammad Hanif Minister for Labour & Works; Raja Tridiv Roy Minister for Minorities, Tourism, Rafi Raza Minister for Commerce, Production; by late 1974 the enemy within the party was able to corner the Quaid-e-Awam and a major cabinet reshuffle took place followed by military action in Balochistan in 1975. It proved to be the beginning of the end

In May 2009 Kaptaan also announced a shadow cabinet consisting of 16 professionals mostly belonging to the middle class. Perhaps it was the ablest cabinet ever that was chosen to build his ‘Naya Pakistan’ which was designed to be a welfare state. The enemy within phenomenon is not new to Pakistan. Both the cabinets picked by Quaid-e-Azam and Quaid-e-Awam had to face it earlier, and so did Kaptaan’s original team.

Benazir Bhutto’s first cabinet in 1988 did have men of substance, rest of the cabinets that followed just represented self interests in other words they were ‘Enemy Cabinets’ whose members had mastered the art of Musical Chairs. In order to identity the enemy within all Kaptaan needs is to check out the players of these ‘Enemy Cabinets’ formed by dictators, usurpers and their off shoots.

For a political party to hold Internal Party Elections (IPE) is the biggest challenge. The candidates voters and the Election Commission all operate under the same roof. To ensure neutrality is almost impossible. Only Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has succeeded in holding regular inter-party electoral exercises but that too on a limited scale with several controls in place. PTI still carries scars from the botched attempt to hold a free and fair IPE in 2012. In order to move forward a grand dialogue is needed. Currently a petition is spending with the ECP on this subject.

A party of the size of PTI needs an effective organizational structure Experience clearly indicates that a full time Secretary General (SG) is essentially required. Party Secretariat has to be kept open and functional at all times. Grievances have to be resolved on a timely basis before they turn into conflicts. Internal rivalries destroy political parties from within. Both J.A. Rahim and Dr. Mubashir Hasan as SG ran the People’s Party very effectively. After his appointment on this important position Dr Sahib did not contest national elections despite the fact that he had polled the highest number of votes in the 1970 free and fair elections. The administrative and political wings of the party operated autonomously. Now that the position has fallen vacant it is an opportunity to re-orient the party of change.

With his personal charisma and progressive manifesto ZAB was able to win the 1970 elections despite new faces and unknown candidates. Later on the same old electables took control of the party and tainted its charter. Today PTI faces a similar challenge. As a party of change it needs ideologues while the political pragmatics believe that the party needs electables to get into power. The two together can be turned into a winning combination. In the 2013 elections the PTI victory in NA-126 was due to good team effort. With Kaptaan’s appeal, a good candidate who understood the system the party was able to scale Takht-e-Lahore. PTI’s victory is attainable if the pieces are joined together: Leader’s charisma, clean candidates combined with Organizational Support, Election Strategy and large voter turnout can ensure power for the party of change leading all the way to ‘Naya Pakistan’ only the enemy within stands in the way as it wants it all for itself to maintain status-quo and thwart the much needed change.


The writer is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation.

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