New party chief pledges to continue carrying out duties as Imran’s representative

PESHWAR:

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday held its intra-party elections on the instructions of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and elected Barrister Gohar Ali Khan as the party’s new chairman.

The new party chairman was elected unopposed after being recently nominated for the post by ex-PTI chief Imran Khan.

The chief election commissioner of intra-party elections, Niaziullah Niazi, announced the results from a polling station in Peshawar. He said all candidates were elected unanimously in the intra-party polls.

Speaking in Peshawar following his appointment as chairman, Gohar pledged to continue carrying out his duties as Imran’s representative.

He pointed out that among Pakistan’s 175 political parties, all have been submitting their intra-party election details to the ECP since 1960. Yet, he lamented that none have undergone the level of scrutiny seen in the case of the PTI.

“People are noticing this and will resist injustice,” he said. “Our aim is to propel the nation forward.”
He claimed that Imran’s incarceration was a consequence of his struggle, adding that when the elections arrive, “we will emerge victorious against all contenders”.

Meanwhile, senior PTI leader Omar Ayub was elected as the new general secretary while Ali Amin Gandapur was elected as the party’s provincial president in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

Haleem Adil Sheikh was elected as PTI Sindh’s president, while Dr Yasmin Rashid was picked as the president of Punjab, and Ali Asghar was elected as the provincial general secretary.

Taimur Saleem Jhagra was elected as PTI’s senior vice president, and Atif Khan is the newly elected president of the Peshawar Region.

On November 23, the ECP nullified PTI’s intra-party elections conducted in June of the previous year, deeming them “highly objectionable”.

 

Earlier, PTI officially announced that Imran Khan would refrain from contesting the intra-party polls due to legal constraints, with Gohar set to stand in his place as a provisional measure.

The ECP’s directive to hold intra-party elections within 20 days to retain the bat as the party’s symbol prompted PTI’s expeditious preparations.

In an official statement, a PTI spokesperson lauded Imran Khan’s role in championing democratic values within the party, emphasising PTI’s concerted efforts in holding genuine intra-party elections.

The spokesperson highlighted last year’s elections conducted in adherence to the law.

Despite alleged illegitimate pressure from the ECP, the spokesperson reaffirmed PTI’s commitment to legal compliance by proceeding with the intra-party elections.

Lashing out at PML-N’s criticism of its intra-party elections, the PTI on Saturday said that the party’s criticism was a clear manifestation of its extreme nervousness about the upcoming general elections.

Strongly reacting to Marriyum Aurangzeb’s criticism of elections as “selection”, PTI spokesperson said that the PML-N was in a constant state of extreme anxiety since the public badly rejected the “ladla” (blue-eyed) after his homecoming under “a clandestine deal”.

He alleged the fear has engulfed the PML-N after seeing that it was writing on the wall that “ladla” would face a humiliating drubbing in the forthcoming general elections despite striking a secret deal.

He contended that those who always come to power through behind-the-scene agreements and secret deals were talking about the transparency of elections, which was beyond comprehension.

PTI spokesperson asked that Marriyum should talk about her own political background and status before raising questions on the credibility and fairness of the PTI’s intra-party elections.

He reminded Aurangzeb of her role within PML-N, saying it “was nothing but merely of a bondservant of the Sharif family and covering up their crimes”.

PTI spokesperson made it clear that PTI was the only political party in the country which buried the concept of hereditary and dynastic politics and provided opportunities for capable and hard-working people to come forward.

He went on to say that history was a witness that being the champion of hereditary and dynastic politics, PML-N had never let others outside of the Sharif family hold central positions in the party.

PTI spokesperson noted that the courtiers of corrupt Sharifs were not even allowed to stand alongside members of the Sharif family in the party functions.

He suggested that the PML-N could avoid further humiliation and embarrassment provided it focused on knocking at the door of the people rather than making unnecessary hue and cry over the intra-party elections.

Meanwhile, Akbar S Babar, a founding member of PTI, declared his intention to file a complaint with the ECP regarding the conduct of the intra-party polls.

During a press conference held in Islamabad, he raised concerns about the nature of elections that excluded participation from the party’s founding members.

Citing irregularities in the polling process, he asserted, “We’ll present these facts to the ECP and provide details of the issues in the coming days.”

He added it would be the ECP’s responsibility to decide on the intra-party polls after considering the material put before it. “Apart from this, if we need to go to the Supreme Court, if our lawyers think it appropriate, then we will do so but this has not yet been decided,” Babar added.

Previously, Babar had dismissed Gohar’s candidacy for the party chairman position, labelling it a “selection rather than an election.”

In an official statement to the press, Babar expressed deep concerns regarding the nomination of the new PTI chairman, casting doubt on the transparency and credibility of the entire intra-party election process within the party.

He pointed out the contradiction in a party that advocates for transparency and fair play in national elections but seemingly refrains from providing its members with an unbiased platform to elect leadership, free from external interference or manipulation.

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