“The chairman (Imran Khan) is disappointed and concerned about the party’s performance (in the third round of polls),” a PTI official aware of discussions in the meeting said.
Imran is reported to have asked the party’s key organisers at a meeting in Bani Gala to present their reports about the local government polls, according to the official.
During Sunday’s session, the chairman discussed the reasons behind PTI’s poor performance in Karachi and Rawalpindi—the latter is a constituency which Imran himself represents in the National Assembly.
According to unofficial results, PTI’s arch-rivals Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) swept the third phase of local government elections in Punjab, including Rawalpindi. The ruling party had already swept the previous two rounds in addition to gaining a strong position in the Islamabad Capital Territory.
In Karachi, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is leading the hotly contested elections in the metropolis ahead of rivals Pakistan Peoples Party. To boost its chances, Imran’s party had allied itself with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in the city, but fell well short. Such was the failure of PTI and JI in Karachi that their respective city chiefs, Ali Zaidi of PTI and Hafiz Naeemur Rehman of JI, lost their respective elections.
Following Sunday’s informal session, the party is expected to convene a formal session of senior leaders on Monday [today] in which several other important decisions would be decided.
“It will be a consultative session with senior leaders of the party,” the official added.
The upcoming PTI intra-party election is one of the key topics that is expected to be discussed in Monday’s session.
According to a PTI official, the party is expected to finalise a date for the elections and name an interim setup which will conduct the polls.
The PTI had already dissolved its core committee and key party positions, replacing elected office bearers with organisers, after a report by its election tribunal headed by Justice (retired) Wajihuddin Ahmed.
The PTI official added that after the interim setup is announced, party organisers are expected to relinquish their posts in order for them to partake in the intra-party elections.
Further, the party is expected to embark on a six-month membership drive ahead of the elections.
As the National Assembly reconvenes for a new session on Monday [today], senior leaders of PTI deliberated upon their strategy in parliament.
Among the issues discussed during Sunday’s meeting, party leaders deliberated moving away from their popular refrain of electoral fraud to issue-based politics. However, the party is not expected to abandon its longstanding demands regarding deficiencies in the electoral process, focussing on incompetence of the Election Commission and provincial election commissioners.
Having already established contact with the Pakistan Peoples Party, the PTI will be focussing its efforts on opposing the government’s recent move to impose Rs40 billion in new taxes and for the privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines.