Reviewing ruling party’s poor performance in local government elections, prime minister vows to personally oversee future candidate selection
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday claimed that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will no longer pick candidates on the basis of “favoritism” or “bribes” in a bid to prevent a repeat of the losses it suffered in the first phase of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa local government elections.
According to sources within the Prime Minister’s Office, the prime minister met Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in Islamabad and was presented a report on the PTI’s performance in last week’s local government elections. They said Khan had lamented that the provincial authorities had not selected “deserving” candidates for the local body polls, leading to the PTI losing out on mayoral seats and only managing to secure tehsil chairman positions.
The brief report presented to the prime minister also sought to blame the party’s losses on a “poor candidate selection” and lack of party discipline. Sources claimed it alleged that several PTI lawmakers had not supported their own party in the polls and “mismanagement” had resulted in the party’s own workers contesting against each other for the same seat. The central theme of the report appeared to be a lack of party unity, which fractured its support and allowed opposition parties to emerge victorious on key seats.
Per the sources, the prime minister regretted that “internal incompetence” had led to the PTI’s defeat in its heartland. He directed the provincial chief minister to unite the party on a single platform and reiterated that he would personally oversee the second phase of the local body polls to ensure a repeat of last week’s losses did not occur.
Admitting the PTI’s poor showing in the local government polls, Khan on Tuesday had noted that the PTI had “paid the price” for its mistakes in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. “PTI will come out stronger,” he had said in a posting on Twitter. On Wednesday, the prime minister claimed regardless of the results, his party had “empowered” the local government system in Pakistan. “Amidst the noise over KP local government elections, no one realizes these elections are start of modern, devolved local government system as exists in successful democracies,” he wrote on Twitter. “Directly elected tehsil nazims will improve governance and create future leaders. First time in our 74-year history we have an empowered local government system,” he added.
Khan is set to visit Punjab capital Lahore on Thursday (today) to direct provincial authorities to avoid the mistakes of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and selected the best candidates for the local government polls that are expected in March or April.