Will new PTI leaders deliver in current situation?

ISLAMABAD    –  Prime Minister Imran Khan in his capacity as PTI chairman has recently announced new organizational setup of the ruling party in a move to reorganize and prepare it for the upcoming local government elections (LG) in provinces and for the next general elections as well. On December 24 last year, the PM had dissolved all organizations of the party across the country and named its new office bearers after PTI’s shocking defeat in the first phase of local government elections held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on December 19.

The PTI chairman has appointed some senior leaders of the party as provincial presidents while ignoring most of the previous office bearers. With this, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of PTI that met under the chair of PM Imran Khan earlier this week, also revoked the present constitution of the party and revived the old one that was adopted in 2015.

Despite making all such measures taken by PM Imran Khan to reorganize the PTI at grassroots level, the question remains whether the ruling PTI would be able to show good performance in the upcoming LG polls in KP, the power base of the party, Punjab and other provinces as well as in Islamabad. While some workers of PTI have shown their resentment over the appointments of some new officer bearers, this has yet to be seen how this new setup would be effective in mobilizing the party for any upcoming major political activity.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has so far not been given any position in the new organizational structure who earlier was the vice chairman of PTI. But his silence and confidence shows that he would get the similar kind of position in the party in the next coming days. Similarly, PTI has yet to announce the party’s new information secretary — a position that had been previously made dormant since PTI came into power in 2018.

Minister for Planning Asad Umar now works as the new central secretary general of PTI. He is an elected MNA from Islamabad and is a technocrat-turned-politician who had previously no political constituency till he had chosen the federal capital as his constituency to contest a by-election in 2013. He is considered very close to PM Imran Khan but the first and second tier leadership of the party always remains skeptical about his abilities to interact and mingle with the political workers and people at grassroots level.  

This is a feeling within PTI that a well-reputed personality among party circles has now been made the secretary general. But, it will remain a big task for Umar to reorganize the party countrywide.

Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood has been picked as the president of PTI of its central Punjab chapter. Mahmood is a bureaucrat-turned-politician and his other members of the family are also in politics. He himself had no constituency in the past till he got himself elected as MNA twice from Lahore on the basis of vote bank of PTI. He is in politics since 1990s and remained twice the secretary information of the ruling party, But, there is a perception about him that he doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of a political worker or common man and has no experience to handle the party at a provincial level.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar has been made president of the PTI’s south Punjab chapter. Bakhtiar’s family is in political and he has good connections in the politics of south Punjab. He is a new entrant in PTI and this has to be seen how he performs to reorganize the party. The disgruntled leader of PTI Jahangir Khan Tareen had once brought a good number of electables from the area into the fold of PTI.

PM Imran Khan has chosen Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, a seasoned politician, as the president of PTI’s KP chapter. He in the past had served as chief minister of the province and is known for having political connections not only within the party but also with other parties. He for a number of times has shown his abilities when it comes to PTI’s reconciliation efforts either with its allies or its opponents.

Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, who is now president of PTI’s Sindh chapter, is an old member of the party. He can help the party to retain its position in Karachi. The party had won good number of seats in the metropolitan city during the last general elections.

Notably, PM Imran Khan has ignored some old politicians of his own party in Balochistan and picked National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri as new president of the PTI’s Balochistan chapter. This has yet to be seen how Suri as a young politician succeeds to reorganize the party in the province where it has no visible presence till yet.

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