PTI One Wicket Closer to Winning Series?

The verdict of the election tribunal (ET) regarding NA-125, Lahore, has come as a blessing for Imran Khan, the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who has recently been dealing with a crisis within his party’s file and rank as his policies are being challenged repeatedly. According to a senior politician who wished to remain anonymous, there are political forces attempting to take advantage of the inner strife that’s plaguing PTI. There are some ‘ideological’ leaders of PTI who are not happy with Khan’s continued support of some other party leaders who have lately found themselves in the eye of the storm.

In fact, the chairman was accused of defying the orders of the own election tribunal of the party, which is headed by Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed, who had declared the internal election of the party, held back in 2012, ‘void’ by alleging the occurrence of ‘massive rigging’. It is felt by the critics of the party that Khan is taking the side of Abdul Aleem Khan and some other leaders who have been accused of rigging the elections of the party. It was stated by a politician that a storm is coming and soon some PTI leaders would publicly speak against the ‘undemocratic decisions’ being made by Imran Khan.

In this matter, the chairman had been contacted by some former PTI leaders, but apparently some respite has been given to Imran Khan with the decision of the tribunal. The notion was rubbished by a senior PTI leader when contacted, who stated that there wasn’t a possibility of any engineered rebellion because the whole PTI cadre was united as a rock behind Imran Khan. He said that there may be some low level elements that may have some ambitious aims, but all such nefarious designs would be swept away with the rising popularity of the party.

Regardless, the tide seems to have turned for PTI for now as the ally of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and a senior minister, Saad Rafique, was expelled from the Parliament on Monday because of vote rigging in the 2013 election. Last year, protests had been conducted over cheating in the elections, which had resulted in Pakistan’s first transition between civilian governments. They had been led by Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician and had raised concerns over stability in the nuclear-armed country. Khan said that even though it took two years to get the verdict, it has been proven that post-poll rigging was conducted by the election staff and they should be questioned on it.

The accusations of the irregularities were denied by Railways Minster Saad Rafique, who said that he would challenge the ruling in Supreme Court as they were being blamed for the mistakes of election organizers. He also said that he would have been disqualified if he had been found guilty in rigging, but he is free to run again in a by-election. A new vote has to be held in 60 days and Khan’s party looks set to be the main challenger of the ruling party.