Having received a lot of response for my recent political insight post series, I decided to take it one step further and engage other political parties as well in order to present the inside picture of what goes on behind the curtain in Pakistani political parties.
For this purpose I got in touch with Mr Firdaus Shamim Naqvi of the “Pakistan Tehreek E Insaf” and asked him a series of questions which had been brewing for a few days in my mind regarding this party. The unedited answers are presented below.
1) There are various rumors to the formation of PTI as a drawing room party invented by Hameed Gul and Imran Khan, is there any truth in this and can you share some light on the parties actual formation story?
After the Shaukat Khanum fund collection campaign in the period of 94 to 95 many people associated with the campaign hada sked IK to from a party time and again specailly the reason being the way both the major parties had failed to deliver on the aspiration of the people. IK wanted to do only social welfare projects specially in the field of education , he requested the PPP government for land which they did not desire to give to him percieving him to be a threat of sort and that is what prompted him to announce the formation oamf the party. I am not aware of General Hamid Guls involvement, maybe he is being mistaken for Hamid Khan the lawyer who has been with the party from its inception. So it was the demand of many of his friends and associates from the Shaukat Khanum days that actually prompted the formation of the party in April 96. It did not take birth in public hall or a park yes it was zaman park where the birth took place. Of the people involved in the process were many who can be listed if you would want it but primarily it was the subsequent first CEC of the part
2) What is the purpose of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf and what path does it have for its achievement, i am speaking of the manifesto of the party here and its charter?
The purpose behind PTI was to bring about a change in the body politics of Pakistan. We are strongly of the opinion that the present top two political parties were and are not fulfilling the needs of the country.
Pakistan Thereek Insaf is a party on the political scenario which if you would like to put on the political spectrum would state it self to be left of the centre. We fundamentally belive that there has to be justice in all spheres of life; for the society to develop , thus the name Pakistan Thereek e Insaf with the slogan Adalati Insaf sey Mashi insaf tak. It is a fundamental belief that the socialist programme of PPP are ill suited to the Psyche of this country and also PPP’s own commitment to being a party of the left is doubtful. The other parties were either a creation of the agencies, and most of the leadership of the parties was in the hand of the rich feudal landlords of this country and handful people are ruling the country for the last sixty years . With one brother being in the ruling party and the other in the opposition, or various bands of moulvis forming parties along their narrow interpretations of Islam. Except for some small regional parties their was no party which was formed by the masses having people from all walks of life at the national level with a national agenda
PTI is the party which fulfils that need, our manifesto values are transparency in governance , simplicity in style , to be servant of the masses and to treat serving people as Ibadaat rather than becoming rulers.
We will strive to come to power through the power of the ballet box and would like to be independent of the influence of foreign powers and their handmaidens, would like to rule on the foundation of popular support.
3) Several times the youth have thought about following this party as it seems to be a breath of fresh air in the political coterie of Pakistan however even in this party the figure head appears to be undemocratically elected, if not what is the term of Imran Khan as the president of PTI and will he ever step down?
PTI has elections as per its constitution which is available on the website. It is Imran Khans desire to see other people at the helm but unfortunately the whole region is dominated by personalities rather than ideologies and PTI worker and member sees Imran role as a beacon light and believes that without him at the helm the parties mass appeal will decrease, therefore he is elected again and again. Though we believe that we are working our way towards creating a model where the parties chairmanship and parliamentary leadership can be separated. One being an administrative post and the other being political. However the chances of the sons of IK being in politics or his sisters seems remoted compared to the Sharif , Zardari and the ANP khans.
4) On some occasions Imran has been seen to have an apologetic stance towards those to our north, how far does the PTI identify with the Tehreek E Taliban and Tehreek E Nifaz E Shariat?
We are not at all apologetic about the Taliban other extremist religious movements in the region. We are clear that religion cannot be enforced by force , time and again we have talked about the model being the Medina Government where the jews and the christioan were allowed to practice their faith and live in peace with the muslims.
The only reason people think we are pro the movements you have mentioned is that we do not agree with the tactics being used . We believe them to be unfair and harsh thus promoting more polarization. The Taliban and other such movements in Swat have become popular that they are offering hope to the people , while the past ongoing dispensation is ensuring the enslavement of the people.
We believe that providing justice in all spheres of life and taking our decisions independent of the US or any other powers influence matters can be and Inshallah will be solved and at the same time people themselves will realize that the ways of the extremist are not correct.
OPPOSITION TO GOVERNMENT &/US POLICIES DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE PROTALIBAN
5) Since the PTI did not take part in the last election its political mandate has been reduced to nil as it has no actual power in the houses, in the light of the present situation do you think this was a mistake?
What has transpired over the last year has more than justified our principled stand that we will not contest elections under a president who is unconstitutional.
PTI believes in bringing real change , when you compromise on principles you compromise on your agenda of change. It is impossible to bring real change with a set of people who were responsible for the rot which is gnawing the roots of this nation.
Look at the compromise which PML reached with PPP for getting Shahbaz back into power and probably also Nawaz being allowed to contest elections, after having the whole government on the floor with a deadly lock on Zardari, they did not force the government to restore the judiciary to the status of Nov 2nd, they did not insist on the cancellation of the appointment s of the PPP Jiyalas who have been appointed as judges since Nov 2nd.
Because of the NRO the medicine being given to the people remains the same the bottle has been changed.
6) Some time ago we witnessed Imrans rough handling at the hands of the Jammati goons, still PTI marches with them in the Restoration for Democracy movement? Why couldnt PTI distance itself from the Jamaat after the said incident?
Our cooperation with Jamaat has been issue based , primarily the restoration of democracy, and its related issues, we have on the platform of APDM more than 20 parties but the establishment and its agent will only say that we are aligned with Jammat , while we are also aligned with BNP Awami Thereek .
We were also aligned with PML N but Mr. Nawaz Shariff after stating that he is boycotting the elections decided to contest them.
We have seen the Generals nominee as governor, we continue to suffer in a war which has been imposed on us due to our spineless attitude.
How can we even say we are sovereign when our sovereignty is raped every other day in broad daylight by the drone attacks.
7)In the era of the general Imran Khan was seen on several occasions to be with him in the start but later distanced himself from him, would you like to outline this change in strategy?
The general had in his seven points had adopted the objectives of PTI and that is why we supported him.
However after the referendum when we saw the team he was collecting to bring the change we realized he was a hypocrite and did not really want the change he only wanted to perpetuate his own rule . We withdrew from supporting him and publicly acknowledged our mistake.
8) Today PTI seems to be a much more powerful party on ground operational level then it was say 2 years ago, could you please outline some salient points to this as per middle management increase and all.
Alhamdollilah we have now more than half a million members on ground , obviously this would not be possible without an organization. We are more organized in central Punjab than other parts of the country . We need to repeat this model in sindh and balochistan.
We have to start making preparation for elections and we have little time if local elections are contested on party basis.
9) Please highlight some services PTI provides to its members as far as community is concerned?
People join PTI so that they can bring about true change in the life of the people of Pakistan the cornerstone of which is self reliance , we try to install the same spirit in all and this is what Iqbal taught us in the philosophy of Khud opinion and in our opinion there can be no greater service than this.
10) What does PTI plan for the future and what change can it help implement? It has been seen as a vital cog in the lawyers movement, will it provide justice to Pakistanis now that CJP has been restored?
I think I have tried to explain that we want to speak the truth and get falsehood out of politics , we want to introduce the spirit of service and keeping our values try to achieve our mission to bring about a meaningful change for the better for the people of Pakistan. Our emphasis will be on justice for all ,education, developing the economy agro based industry, agriculture, ensuring employment, education and basic health for all.
We will be the first to acknowledge that it is easier said than done.
I hope the above will provide my readers with insight into the actual workings of the party and help clear away some misgivings in regard to it..I would like to thank Mr Naqvi(Member CEC) and Mr Awab Alvi for their candidness and openness for discussion and debate.