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PTI’s Controversial Intra-Party Elections

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PTI is facing intense backlash from its adversaries following the conclusion of its intra-party elections. Akbar S. Babar, a dissident and one of the party’s founding members, has declared his intention to legally challenge the entire election process. Notably, leaders from major political parties in the country, including the PML-N and PPP, have cast doubts on the legitimacy of the PTI’s intra-party elections, conducted under the directives of the ECP.

Addressing the media at Islamabad’s National Press Club, Akbar Babar raised serious concerns, asserting that the PTI’s purported intra-party elections were not only a breach of the Constitution of Pakistan but also a violation of the party’s constitutional principles. Accusing the party of orchestrating a selection process masked as elections, he alleged a deliberate attempt to sideline dedicated PTI workers, paving the way for a select few lawyers to seize control of the party. Babar called upon the ECP to scrutinize all political parties and their funding, underscoring the need for transparency and adherence to constitutional norms.

Pervez Khattak, heading a breakaway faction of the PTI and now leading his party, PTI-Parliamentarians, echoed Babar’s sentiments, labeling the intra-party elections as a ‘fake exercise.’ In Peshawar, Khattak contended that the ECP’s directive to conduct intra-party elections was justified, claiming that all such elections held by the PTI over the last 12 years were allegedly “forged.” In a startling admission, he revealed instances of presenting “forged records” to the ECP in the past, shedding light on the questionable practices within the party. Khattak further questioned the legitimacy of the new PTI chairman, Barrister Gohar Khan, alleging a lack of a party membership card even after two years of association.

The PML-N’s Information Secretary, Marriyum Aurangzeb, convened a press conference in Rawalpindi immediately after the PTI announced intra-party election results. Flanked by local PML-N leaders, Aurangzeb characterized the entire process as a “framed exercise,” asserting that even the basic formalities were neglected. She contended that the lack of transparency was evident, with nomination papers, proposers, and seconders’ names not disclosed. Describing the PTI’s intra-party elections as a “puppet show,” Aurangzeb drew a stark contrast with the PML-N’s recent elections, which were telecast live for public scrutiny.

Former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi joined the chorus, alleging visible rigging in the PTI’s intra-party elections. Expressing confidence in the ECP and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Kundi called for a fair and transparent electoral process, raising questions about the suitability of a fugitive holding a position within a political party. Taunting the new PTI head, he remarked on the apparent lack of suitable candidates within the party, culminating in the appointment of an “old Jiyala” to a top leadership position.

Awami National Party president Aimal Wali Khan added his voice to the criticism, branding the PTI’s intra-party elections as ‘a mockery of the democratic system.’ Khan emphasized the detrimental impact of the process on the democratic ethos, highlighting concerns about fugitives securing prominent positions within the party. The sentiments were conveyed in a statement issued by Bacha Khan Markaz.

Amid these explosive revelations and accusations, the PTI finds itself embroiled in controversy, with key figures from rival parties decrying the integrity of its intra-party elections. As the political landscape in Pakistan continues to evolve, questions about transparency, adherence to constitutional norms, and the suitability of leadership choices within the PTI take center stage.

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