JI, PTI top ‘internal democracy’ chart

A pie chart showing how parliamentary parties scored in the assessment of their internal democracyISLAMABAD: When ‘internal democracy’ among the political parties in parliament is compared, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) comes in last and Jamaat-i-Islami tops the chart, according to an assessment carried out by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat).

However, according to the assessment report if JI’s restricted system of membership and internal election excludes it from the comparison, PTI emerges as the party with the best internal democracy.

The report lists the parties in descending order and gives them scores in percentage. At the top is Jamaat-i-Islami with a score of 56 per cent followed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf at 49 per cent, Awami National Party at 46 per cent, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) and the National Party both get scores of 43 per cent, Muttahida Qaumi Movement is at 42 per cent, Pakistan People’s Party’s score is 34 per cent and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz comes in last with a score of 32 per cent.

Journalist Mujibur Rehman Shami, a member of the Pildat committee which assessed the constitutions and internal activities of the eight parties, noted that most of the political parties do not even have a list of their members.

“This is the reason the party which made Pakistan has fragmented into groups,” he said at the launch of the Pildat report here on Tuesday.

“Most parties spend millions in contesting elections but bank accounts do not show matching amounts. We cannot afford political parties receiving funds from unknown sources,” he added, advising them not to emulate “the budgets of traders’ unions” and keep proper accounts.

PTI Member of National Assembly (MNA) Arif Alvi found it “encouraging” that his party “scored high” in the internal democracy assessment.

“We held elections of PTI for overseas Pakistanis in 2006 and decided to introduce electronic mail to cast vote. Then in Pakistan we opened membership through phone and around 3.5 million people registered. Another four million were registered manually,” he said.

“We held elections through mobile phones but had to form a commission under retired Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed to look into complaints of manipulation,” he said.

“With the passage of time we will improve. If bar councils can hold elections every year why can’t political parties,” he asked.

Senator M. Hamza of PML-N said that unfortunately most of the political parties revolve around personalities. “The issue has to be resolved,” he added.

PTI MNA Ali Muhammad claimed that his party practiced true democracy.

“The party chief, Imran Khan, did not know me until I reached the assembly,” he said.

PML-N MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani stressed that democracy has to be ensured in the country “and for that there should be democracy within political parties”.

His colleague in the National Assembly, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, recalled the difficulties the party has faced.

“In 1999 our party office in Islamabad was occupied. However, PML-N has been focusing on democracy and been improving by default and by design,” he said.

PPP Senator Dr Jehangir Badr regretted that it was a job of the political parties to study the level of democracy in their ranks but appreciated that a nongovernmental organisation – Pildat - has done it. “Democracy in the country cannot be ensured unless it is ensured within the political parties,” he said.

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