ISLAMABAD - It was Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan who took the final decision to take part in Senate elections where the party is making debut as there was a split within the party ranks on the issue, background discussions with some key leaders of PTI Saturday revealed to The Nation.

A debate was going on within the party, at meetings level formally and among the senior leaderships informally that whether PTI should take part in the elections of the 104-member Upper House of the Parliament or not. The party at the moment had no representation in that house. The decision was critical for the major opposition party as its lawmakers some months ago had submitted their resignations from the National Assembly and three provincial assemblies, alleging that these assemblies came into being through fake mandate and they would remain no more part of these.

A PTI leader said that last PTI Core Committee meeting also discussed the issue of participation in the Senate elections in detail and opinion was sought from senior leaders. There was a difference of opinion as some were of the view that PTI should not go for Senate elections as this would damage its principled stance that they would not go to the Parliament unless independent inquiry into the massive rigging in 2013 general elections was held through a proposed commission. A view came from some leaders that some six or seven seats of the Senate did no matter for the party in its larger cause to hold probe into rigging and hold the responsible ones to justice.

Another view was that the party should take part in the Senate elections as it had no representation in the Upper House and there should be a voice of the party in the house.

It was Imran Khan who argued that PTI should take part in the Senate elections only from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and not from those provinces where the party lawmakers had submitted their resignations. Imran Khan said that it would be injustice for the people of KP if PTI did not represent the province in the Upper House where fair elections had been held. Imran Khan further viewed that as they believed that elections held in KP were fair, so they should not lose party’ representation in the Senate from KP because people had showed their confidence on PTI in elections.

It is likely that PTI chairman will form a committee that would seek applications from PTI candidates for the Senate elections from KP. An insider said that it was likely that PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi would head this committee and some two or three other party leaders would be included in it and at least one will be from KP leadership. This committee will issue tickets to PTI candidates.

PTI during its 126 days sit-in in Islamabad had been claiming time and again that it would not go to the Parliament as this was a fake one that came into being through rigging.