Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) (Urdu: پاکستان تحريک انصاف, “Pakistan Movement for Justice”) is a centrist political party in Pakistan founded in 1996 by former national cricket captain Imran Khan. PTI is the most rapidly growing political party of Pakistan, and has created a tri-party system, in which it opposes both the leftist People’s Party and the conservative PML-N.
The party aims to create a welfare state, where the state is responsible for education, health and employability of citizens. It promotes freedom of thought, abolition of personal income tax and dismantling religious discrimination in Pakistan.
Directly following its founding in 1996, the party had little initial success. Khan won a seat in the Pakistani general election, 2002. The party boycotted the 2008 election, but in 2013 it received over 7.5 million votes, making it second in the number of votes and third in the number of seats won. Although it sits in opposition to the government at national level, the party governs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a reflection of its consolidated support among ethnic Pashtuns.
The party terms itself an anti-status quo movement advocating egalitarian Islamic democracy. It claims to be the only non-family party of mainstream Pakistani politics. With over 10 million members in Pakistan and abroad, it claims to be Pakistan’s largest party by membership. According to the 2013 election results, PTI was the third largest party in National Assembly, and emerged as the governing party of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was founded by Imran Khan on 25 April 1996 in Lahore, Pakistan. Founded initially as a sociopolitical movement, in June 1996 the first Central Executive Committee of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was formed under the leadership of Imran Khan, including Naeemul Haque, Ahsan Rasheed, Hafeez Khan, Mowahid Hussain, Mahmood Awan and Nausherwan Burki as founding members. PTI began to grow slowly but did not achieve immediate popularity. Khan launched PTI as a party which he claimed represented the true aspirations of the people of Pakistan.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s constitution was approved on 24 January 1999 by the Central Executive Committee in Lahore. In October 2002, Khan ran for office in the National Elections and became a member of parliament (MP) for Mianwali, his home town. Khan, however, remained deeply critical of the entire political order of Pakistan, which he deemed corrupt, inefficient, and morally bereft of any of the founding principles of Pakistan. In protest, Khan began a grassroots campaign to raise awareness about his political party.
After Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007 and Nawaz Sharif returned from self-exile in Saudi Arabia, pressure increased upon President Musharraf to hold democratic elections. PTI, in conjunction with many political parties, joined the All Parties Democratic Movement, which was opposed to further military rule. The general election in 2008 resulted in a PPP victory. This election was boycotted by PTI.
During the presidency of Asif Ali Zardari, Imran Khan’s popularity soared amid discontent with the ruling administration’s domestic and foreign policy. PTI promised to create an independent, self-reliant Pakistan free from debt, dependency and discord. In Pakistan: A Personal History, PTI chairman Khan argues that a selfish and corrupt ruling elite, primarily made up of politicians, feudal leaders, and military bureaucrats, had destroyed Pakistan and brought it to the brink of disaster. PTI maintains that it represents all Pakistanis, regardless of religious, ethnic, linguistic, and provincial backgrounds.
Pakistan Tahreek e Insaf’s agenda envisions a modern Islamic republic that advocates individuals’ welfare through community co-operation. PTI wants to set Pakistan on a course to political stability, social harmony, and economic prosperity for all religious, ethnic and racial communities.
PTI has an agenda to blend traditional social and religious values and cultural and ethnic diversity of Pakistan into common goals and aspirations for a just society based on Mohammad Iqbal’s and Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s vision of Islamic democratic culture providing social security, welfare and the rule of law.
Mohammad Iqbal’s work has influenced Imran Khan in his deliberations on an “Islamic social state”.
The party manifesto includes a desire to provide credible leadership, to restore Pakistan’s political and economic sovereignty, to establish a strong system of accountability and to combat corruption.
The party has a published constitution. It aims for unity, solidarity, social justice and prosperity. The Central Executive Committee is its main central council, with a duty is to assist the chairman with the day-to-day functions of the National Council, to lay down party policy, to guide the party at national level and to act as executive authority of the party. The chairman is the head and the chief spokesman of the party.
His duty is to ensure that the organisation works at all levels in accordance with the aims and objectives of the party. He may delegate his powers to the Secretary General or any member of the Central Executive Committee. He may suspend any office bearer pending disciplinary action. In the event of removal or suspension of an office bearer, he may delegate power and duties of such office bearer to any other member of the Party.
A new constitution was drafted by a committee headed by lawyer and Senior Vice-President Hamid Khan, creating the positions of Vice-Chairman and President.
The PTI has called for major social, economic, and political reforms. The PTI’s ideology is derived from Allama Iqbal’s vision of a self-reliant, modern democracy following Islamic principles. In 2011 the PTI promised to stop all foreign aid if it comes to power. The PTI maintains that corruption in all of its forms – whether moral, financial, spiritual – has ruined Pakistan, and therefore a culture of accountability and transparency is needed to restore faith in the system of government. The PTI has argued for religious tolerance and greater representation for minorities. Christians, Sikhs, and Hindus have joined the PTI. The PTI has also spoken out for senior citizens, poor people, and women.
PTI believes in raising education standards across the country, universal literacy, and promoting schools and colleges. On 20 February 2013 PTI launched its ‘Education Policy’ with plans to introduce a uniform education system with one curriculum for all and education in mother tongue and in Urdu at primary school. English would be taught as a subject. PTI believes that educational institutions should be de-politicized and their governance devolved to town level. The party believes in measures to promote adult literacy for those aged 15 to 30 and to educate women.
The PTI has called for a complete overhaul of Pakistan’s current political order The PTI believes in abolishing feudalism, economic inequality and government mismanagement. The PTI promised to crack down on police brutality, restructure the civil service, reform the electoral system, allow for a truly independent judiciary, decentralise state power, and enforce laws which extend personal liberty. On 18 August 2014, Khan announced PTI would renounce all its seats won in the 2013 elections, claiming the elections were rigged. He accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of plundering the national wealth and demanded his resignation. He called on the public to withhold taxes and payment of utility bills to force the government to resign. On 22 August 2014 all 34 PTI lawmakers resigned from the national assembly.
The PTI propose civilian control of Pakistan’s military. The Inter-Services Intelligence service would report directly to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and the defence budget would be audited by the government. Imran Khan also pledged to resign should any terrorism take place from Pakistani soil following these reforms.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf organised a protest against drone attacks in Pakistan on 23 November 2013 at Peshawar, where it called on the federal government to force an end to U.S. CIA drone attacks and to block NATO supplies through the country to Afghanistan. “We will put pressure on America, and our protest will continue if drone attacks are not stopped.” The U.S. embassy declined to comment on the protest that also temporarily closed a route leading to one of two border crossings used for the shipments.
Chairman PTI Imran Khan with Secretary of State John Kerry.
The PTI believes in pursuing a foreign policy based on a nationalist agenda, which it believes will safeguard all of Pakistan’s national interests and promote greater regional co-operation. The PTI would forge stronger relationships with neighbouring countries, but not at the cost of Pakistan’s national sovereignty or territorial integrity. The PTI would fully restore Pakistan’s economic and political sovereignty if elected into power, and has consistently vilified the PPP-led federal government for subverting Pakistan’s national interests and strategic ambitions to please international powers.
The PTI hopes to have a relationship with the US that would be based on “self dignity and respect”. The PTI will also stop all foreign aid to Pakistan. The PTI would make the Kashmir issue a top priority and would try and solve the issue permanently so that Pakistan no longer has any border or territorial disputes with any of its neighbours.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf contested the general elections of 1997, 2002 and 2013. It boycotted the 2008 general elections.
1997 and 2002 general elections
Less than a year after its founding, PTI contested the 1997 general elections. Imran Khan stood in seven constituencies across Pakistan but did not win a majority in any.
In the 2002 general elections, party chairman Imran Khan won one seat from Mianwali. PTI secured 0.8% of the popular vote.
2008 general elections
PTI openly boycotted the Pakistani general election on 18 February 2008 because it believed that the election was fraudulent and laced with irregularities.
2013 general elections
On 21 April 2013 Khan, the chairman of PTI, launched his campaign for the 2013 elections from Lahore where he addressed supporters at The Mall, Lahore followed by prayers at the Data Durbar Complex. which was followed by large rallies in Karak and Dera Ismail Khan. He also announced that he would pull Pakistan out of the US-led war on terror and bring peace in the Pashtun tribal belt. On 22 April 2013 Khan addressed different public meetings in Malakand, Lower Dir District and Upper Dir District where he announced that PTI will introduce a uniform education system in which the children of rich and poor will have equal opportunities.
On the same day he spoke at a rally in Rawalpindi’s Constituency NA-56 accompanied by Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad. On 23 April 2013 Khan addressed large rallies in Renala Khurd, Okara and other parts of Sahiwal Division. He challenged PML-N President Nawaz Sharif to a live debate, a challenge which PML-N was quick to decline. On 24 April, Khan addressed rallies Nankana Sahib District, Sheikhupura and Pattoki where he announced that once he comes to power no parliamentarian will receive development funds as they are misused for achieving political gains.
On 25 April 2013 Khan addressed political gatherings in South Punjab including in Pakpattan, Lodhran and Vehari. On the following day Khan continued his mass campaign in South Punjab, he addressed rallies at Jalalpur Pirwala, Muzaffargarh, Mian Channu, Kabirwala and Khanewal where he promised to end the system of tyranny and announced that once in power he will make law which will allow every village or town to elect its own Station House Officer which he believes will prevent corruption and police brutality, he also promised to eliminate the post of Patwari and make a computerised and professional land record system.
Khan ended his south Punjab campaign by addressing rallies at Bahawalpur, Khanpur, Sadiqabad, Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur on 27 April. During the campaign he collectively visited over 25 towns and cities and addressed dozens of rallies and corner meetings, at the end he promised to hang the killers behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto he also said that the local government system is important for prosperity of Pakistan. On 28 April, Khan moved to central Punjab where he addressed large rallies at Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad and Sargodha while promising people to bring justice and equality to Pakistan.
On 29 April 2013 Khan addressed rallies at Murree, Talagang, Chakwal, Taxila and Attock. On 30 April, Khan visited his home town of Mianwali where he addressed several rallies, he lashed out on Bhutto’s and Sharif’s. He is quoted to say ‘You can’t lead revolution from behind bulletproof glass’ he also claimed that he had conquered fear of dying 17 years ago. On 1 and 2 March, Khan addressed gatherings in Sibi, Loralai, Zafarwal, Pasrur, Narowal, Jacobabad and also led a car rally in Rawalpindi. On 3 May Khan continued his campaign at Battagram, Mansehra, Torghar District, Abbottabad and Haripur, followed by rallies at Buner District, Swabi, Charsadda, Mardan, Nowshera and Peshawar on 4th while promising to abandon war on terror.