Bharat Express

Pakistan’s Election Body Issues Notice To PTI On Petition Challenging Intra-Party Polls

At least 13 other PTI members joined Babar in challenging the election


Imran Khan

Pakistan’s election commission on Friday issued a notice to jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party on a petition challenging its recent organizational polls, which were termed as “rigged and fraudulent”.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), held its election on December 2 following a ruling by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for fresh intra-party polls to elect its chairman and other key officer-bearers to retain the cricket bat as its election symbol.

The same day, the party announced that it had elected Imran Khan’s nominee, Barrister Gohar Khan, as the party Chairman.

Gohar, 45, was hand-picked by the 71-year-old cricketer-turned-politician after consultation with his loyalist lawyers who frequently meet him in jail where he has been kept since being arrested on August 5 after his conviction in the Toshakhana corruption case. Khan himself avoided filing the nomination due to conviction and disqualification.

However, one of its founding members, Akbar S Babar, who developed differences with the party years ago, filed a petition with the ECP, terming the exercise as “rigged and fraudulent” with a plea for fresh organizational elections.

At least 13 other PTI members joined Babar in challenging the election.

The members in the petition maintained that no schedule was given before the elections and the voter lists were also not released.

“There was no activity in the PTI central secretariat related to elections,” the plea said.

Separately, the country’s mainstream parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), also questioned the legitimacy of the intra-party elections.

A five-member ECP panel, led by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, conducted the hearing on the petition.

Babar’s counsel implored the commission to declare the PTI’s polls null and void and to mandate a fresh conduct of the elections.

However, an ECP member from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa insisted that elections could not be conducted multiple times, emphasizing that they were bound to occur only once.

After the hearing, the ECP issued a notice to the PTI, seeking its response to the objections raised in the pleas.

After arguments by Babar’s lawyer, the ECP panel adjourned the hearing till December 12.

Sources PTI