The PTI has shown that it discourages the monopolistic hold of one person, group or even baradari (clan) on the party

By holding ongoing intra-party elections countrywide, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has moved at least one notch up on the political credibility ladder. The intra-party elections of the PTI can be considered a serious endeavour to show its rival political parties that it is a strong contender for peopleís representation in the forthcoming general election this year.

The episode of the PTIís intra-party elections has aired at least 10 messages. First, the PTI values the efforts of its party workers. Unlike other political parties wherein party workers are deemed just followers to sing a paean for their leader, chant party slogans and be ready to lay down their lives at the beck and call of the party leader, the PTI has honoured its party workers by giving them the right to vote someone in and the other out. In this way, the PTI has expressed that it considers its political workers not an expendable commodity but a dependable one.

Second, the PTI believes in the empowerment of its workers. Intra-party elections have offered a chance to party workers to be heard and be leaders. The enthusiasm of the party workers in contesting and voting for the intra-party elections has shown that the workers are motivated and hopeful of their role in the future. In this way, the PTI has shown that its real strength lies in the emancipation of its workers.

Third, the PTI has proved that it abhors and curbs the trends of dynastic politics in its hierarchy. Unlike other political parties in which dynastic politics is considered the lifeblood to sustain the party because the party funds flow upstream, the PTI has shown that its lifeline is its workers and that it believes in election and not selection.

Fourth, the PTI has reached out to electoral respondents, the prospective voters. Over the past five years at least, the PTI has been making serious efforts to broaden its electoral base. If its one (party) voter is considered attached socially to only five prospective voters, the actual potential voter strength of the PTI can be calculated. The strength is bound to pay electoral dividends in the forthcoming national election. Through intra-party elections, the PTI has consolidated its electoral sway, especially in the domain of ambivalent voters, and the party has tried to persuade them that there is no need to exist as undecided voters; instead, be committed voters.

Fifth, the PTI has proved that democratic culture should exist and flourish first within a political party before the party demands the same at the national level. That is, the presence of monarchic tendencies prevalent inside a political party cannot make a party justify the demand for democracy at the national level. Through the intra-party elections, the PTI has struck at the heart of this paradox.

Sixth, the PTI has shown that it is open to young leadership. To charm the youth by distributing laptops is one approach but to make the youth stakeholders in a political party is altogether a different strategy. Through intra-party elections, the PTI has made a serious effort in making the youth stakeholders in the win or loss of the party in the forthcoming national election. The inclusion of the youth by making them a stakeholder in the partyís affairs is a major strategic advance made by the PTI.

Seventh, the PTI has shown the way a political party can itself become the first nursery for the democratic training of its members. People prize democracy only when they practice democracy at the grassroots level. The trend indicates that when the PTI comes to power, it will promote local bodies elections. Retrospectively, one of the reasons for the silence of people on the ouster of the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in October 1999 was the absence of democratic awareness of people at the grassroots level. Had that awareness been there, a strong protest would have been launched against the dictatorial regime of General Pervez Musharraf and he would have been forced out. Through intra-party elections, the PTI has raised the level of democratic awareness of both its members and the people at large.

Eighth, the PTI has publicised that elections can be held at the local level and that the excuse of provincial governments to postpone local bodies elections is pretty lame. The ruling parties, both at provincial and national levels, are deliberately denying local democracy to people.

Ninth, the PTI has shown that for any newcomer, who may be a defector, party positions cannot be presented on a golden platter. Instead, one has to prove oneís worth and then one has to keep on proving oneís worth. That is, for survival in the leadership lot of the PTI, all newcomers including defectors have to work hard to remain popular amongst the workers. Abdul Aleem Khan (PTIís Lahore President), a real estate tycoon, might have invested a lot of money in voters to get elected, as has been alleged, but to survive for a long time, he has to do work more than Mian Mahmood-ur-Rasheed, his electoral rival, used to do. The winning of an election is not a big issue; the issue is how to sustain the winning position.

Tenth, the PTI has shown that it discourages the monopolistic hold of one person, group or even baradari (clan) on the party. The fall of Mian Mahmood in Lahore is a lesson in this regard. His Mian baradari could not prop him up; otherwise, Mian Mahmood was the person who was instrumental in making successful the PTIís convention at the Minar-e-Pakistan on October 30, 2011. The message is clear: anyone that does work can get elected.

The past of the PTI was a pilot study in the political affairs of Pakistan. However, the PTI has turned over a new leaf. It is hoped that it will keep on practising democracy at the intra-party level and remain an example for other political parties to follow.