ECP Reserves Verdict on Petitions Challenging PTI’s Intra-Party Elections

Mon Dec 18 2023
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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Monday reserved its verdict on a set of petitions challenging the PTI’s intra-party elections.

The elections, which resulted in Barrister Gohar Khan replacing founding chairman Imran Khan as PTI’s new head, were held on December 2 on directives issued by the electoral body. The lawyer was elected as the new party head after being nominated by Imran Khan himself, who is incarcerated at Adiala Jail.

However, an estranged PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar announced that he would challenge the entire process in a court of law. He alleged that the PTI carried out a ‘selection’ process aimed at throwing out party workers and giving the party reins to a few lawyers.

The leaders of the other mainstream political parties, including the PML-N and PPP, also questioned the legitimacy of the PTI’s intra-party elections. At the previous hearing, the ECP had issued a notice to the former ruling party while hearing Babar’s petition challenging the polls.

At the outset of the proceedings today, PTI counsel Barrister Ali Zafar emphasised that intra-party polls process was unnecessary when a chairman was elected unopposed, pointing out that no law provided clarification on the process of intra-party polls.

Responding to an ECP member’s query about an election schedule before the vote, the PTI lawyer replied in the negative, asserting that the party and the union could unilaterally make decisions regarding intra-party polls.

Zafar highlighted that the ECP had given a verdict on February 22, 2023, stating that a person who was not a member of a party could not cast a vote in intra-party elections. “The pleas [against PTI’s intra-party elections] suggest as if we conducted secret polls,” Zafar was astonished.

Zafar told the ECP that his party had 0.837 million voters and added apart from a few individuals, no one else came to the ECP. He said the PTI was the sole party that had all its records accessible online.

After hearing arguments from all sides, the ECP reserved its verdict on the pleas.



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