Imran Khan threatens to sack party members who spill beans to media

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in a circular to party members on Tuesday said those who comment on “internal party affairs” in public will be ripped off their basic party membership.In a circular issued from the PTI’s central secretariat – signed off by chairman Imran Khan – party members are told to keep their discussions on party matters “within the party.”“PTI is a democratic party and members have the right to express their opinion within the party,” reads the notice sent out to members dated August 4, 2015.“Subsequently if any member goes public and challenges party decisions, it is a serious breach of discipline and unacceptable.”In addition to suspension of basic party membership, Imran Khan also warned public dissenters among his party’s ranks of “further action… after following due process.”This is not the first time that the PTI chief has come out strongly against party members, ordering them to refrain from making public statements on what he called “internal party affairs.”In March this year, Imran Khan had issued a similar ‘gag order’ warning all party leaders — regardless of their position within the party — against providing information to the media about “PTI’s internal issues”.Later in the day, Imran Khan talked to media personnel after attending a presentation on his party’s plan to hold a re-election within its folds after a two-member internal inquiry commission headed by retired Justice Wajihuddin concluded that intra-party polls conducted in March 2013 were “seriously flawed.”As a consequence of the report, all organisational committees within the party have been dissolved after rounds of negotiations between Imran Khan and Justice Wajih, but most key office-bearers are continuing with their responsibilities until the next elections, which Imran Khan said would be held “very soon.”Expressing confidence in PTI’s new chief election commissioner, former interior secretary Tasnim Noorani, Imran Khan said suggestions and recommendations from Justice Wajih’s inquiry report will be taken into account this time around.“We do not want to repeat the same mistakes,” Khan said, adding that holding such large-scale elections within the party was no small feat. He said PTI was the only “truly democratic party” in Pakistan and ruled out rumours of a “qabza group” in the party.The PTI chief said his party will hold internal polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa first because local government elections had already taken place there. “It is much easier to conduct intra-party election if LG polls have been conducted in an area,” said Imran Khan, adding that intra-party polls in Punjab and Sindh will take place “immediately after LG polls in the two provinces.”Imran Khan said PTI will initiate a thorough membership drive throughout the country before a re-election to update its electoral rolls and will elect new office bearers in a free and fair election environment.The PTI chairman slammed Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) for presenting motions to deseat PTI members in the National Assembly.“I would advise my party to not go back to the assembly; let them deseat us if they want.”Imran Khan said he would come back strongly if his party was asked to leave the NA. “We will campaign and come back through elections, stronger than before,” said Khan, citing the case of LG polls re-election in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where his party outperformed rivals.“All parties had joined hands against us in KP, but were not able to defeat us,” said Imran Khan.

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