PML leaders fail to complete party reorganisation
* January 3 deadline passes
* Officials remain pessimistic about reorganisation effort
By Shahzad Raza
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League (PML) leaders have failed to meet the 15-day deadline – ending today (Monday)–to complete forming three central bodies of the party.
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, party president, announced on December 20, 2004 that the party’s reorganisation would be completed within 15 days. The deadline was January 3.
Party sources told Daily Times that the general council (GC), central working committee (CWC) and central executive committee (CEC) could not be formed before January 4 because of an incomplete list of members.
They said the leaders of four small defunct factions – PML-Functional (PML-F), PML-Zia (PML-Z), PML-Junejo (PML-J), PML-Jinnah – had not yet given up their demands for more party representation. The largest defunct faction – PML-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-QA) – wants 70 percent control of the PML.
“I feel the party’s reorganisation is merely an eye-wash. I don’t think the process will be completed in the foreseeable future,” said a PML leader requesting anonymity.
The authority of Chaudhry Shujaat has been challenged by Pir Pagaro, chief of the defunct PML-F. The party has not yet submitted the names of their leaders and its members for the three top central bodies of the party.
Like other smaller factions, the PML-F demanded that the party’s general council and other central and provincial organisations be formed on the basis of equality. PML-QA leaders have rejected the demands of smaller factions, arguing that the representation of any party faction be finalised according to its strength in parliament.
While merging their factions into a single party in May 2004, PML faction leaders decided to form a 1,500-member general council, a 200-member CWC and a 30-member CEC. In the absence of a proper general council, the party could not fulfil an important requirement of its own constitution - the endorsement of office-bearers nominated by the PML president to run party affairs.
For several months, all PML office-bearers – except the party president –have been working without the consent of the party’s supreme body. The party president was elected in a joint meeting of the general councils in May 2004. Following the meeting, the council empowered the party president to nominate other PML offices bearers on the condition that it endorsed the respective nominees.