The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) conducted the intra-party elections held on the directives of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with voters utilising an online app to cast their votes.
Nominated by the PTI founder a few days prior, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan assumed the top leadership position unopposed.
Speaking in Peshawar after his election as chairman, Gohar said he will keep fulfilling this responsibility as Imran’s representative. the Dawn reported.
He said that Pakistan has 175 political parties, all of which have been providing details of their intra-party polls to the ECP since 1960. “However, none of these polls have been scrutinised as closely as those of the PTI.”
“People are seeing this and will block the oppression,” he said. “We have to take the country forward.”
He further added that PTI’s purpose is to struggle, and that Imran Khan is in jail because of his efforts.
“When elections take place, we will defeat everyone,” Gohar said.
In the aftermath of the elections, PTI election commissioner Niazullah Niazi revealed that former federal minister Omar Ayub Khan secured the position of secretary general, while Yasmin Rashid, despite being incarcerated, was elected as the PTI Punjab president, taking on the responsibilities of the provincial chapter, according to ARY News.
Similarly, Haleem Adil Sheikh and Ali Amin Gandapur, both facing incarceration, clinched the unopposed positions of party presidents for Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces, respectively.
Earlier in the week, Barrister Ali Zafar made the announcement that Imran Khan, as the party chairman, would not be participating in the intra-party polls. Instead, Barrister Gohar Khan had been nominated for the coveted role of party chief. The development was officially communicated by PTI Senator Ali Zafar during a press conference in Islamabad, accompanied by Raoof Hasan and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan.
While a PTI spokesperson did not officially disclose polling details, Gohar’s nomination papers were received by Returning Officer Sardar Masroof Khan in Islamabad. PTI Chief Election Commissioner Niazullah Niazi told Dawn that elections are following the party’s 2020 rules, revised in 2022, with members voting for the entire panel.
Five Returning Officers (ROs) were nominated, covering federal and provincial levels. However, the exact number of candidates and voters remained unspecified, with Niazi stating “thousands” were eligible.
The ECP had invalidated PTI’s 2022 intra-party polls, instructing fresh elections within 20 days to retain the electoral symbol, a cricket bat.
“In case, the respondent party failed to…hold its intra-party election within the prescribed 20 days which will run from today [Thursday], the date on which this order is announced, in such eventuality the respondent will suffer the penal consequences of Section 215(5) of Elections Act, 2017 accordingly and would be ineligible to obtain an election symbol for election to Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament),” stated the ECP order.
Amid complaints of an uneven playing field, PTI reaffirmed its commitment to democracy and the rule of law. The decision to nominate Barrister Gohar, reportedly causing internal discord, was defended by the party as a move away from traditional politics.
The former PTI spokesperson accused conspirators of attempting to sabotage the elections but affirmed the party’s determination to adhere to constitutional and democratic principles, Dawn reported.