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PTI’s Unopposed Leadership Transition

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The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) has elected Barrister Gohar Ali Khan as its new chairman in intra-party elections, as mandated by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Notably, Gohar secured the chairman’s position unopposed after being nominated by the ex-PTI chief, Imran Khan. Addressing the press in Peshawar after his election, Gohar expressed his commitment to carrying out his responsibilities as Imran’s representative, emphasizing the party’s dedication to the country’s progress.

Remarkably, Gohar highlighted the meticulous scrutiny of PTI’s intra-party polls compared to those of the numerous other political parties in Pakistan. He stressed that the people, witnessing this scrutiny, would stand against any oppression, and collectively, they aim to propel the nation forward. Gohar also underlined the PTI’s purpose as a vehicle for struggle, noting Imran Khan’s incarceration as a testament to the party’s unwavering efforts. Looking ahead, he asserted the PTI’s determination to triumph in future elections.

Alongside Gohar, Omer Ayub Khan clinched the position of party secretary-general unopposed, while provincial leaders, including Munir Ahmed Baloch, Haleem Adil Sheikh, Ali Amin Gandapur, and Dr. Yasmin Rashid, secured their respective roles. However, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) promptly criticized the process, labeling it a “selection, not an election.” Marriyum Aurangzeb, a spokesperson for the PML-N, raised questions about the secrecy and unanimous nature of the elections, terming them as dubious.

Furthermore, Akbar S. Babar, a founding member of PTI, expressed his intention to approach the ECP against the perceived irregularities in the intra-party polls. Babar raised concerns about the exclusion of founding members from the process and asserted that detailed facts would be presented to the ECP in the coming days. He emphasized the ECP’s responsibility to examine the evidence and hinted at the possibility of escalating the matter to the Supreme Court if deemed necessary.

This development follows the annulment of PTI’s previous intra-party polls in June last year by the ECP, deeming them “highly objectionable.” The timing of this decision, just two months ahead of general elections, has intensified political activities across the country. The PTI, despite complaining about an uneven playing field, adhered to the ECP’s directive to conduct the intra-party elections, showcasing its commitment to democracy and the rule of law.

In a surprising move, the nomination of Barrister Gohar as the new chairman has sparked controversy within the PTI. Some insiders question the wisdom of appointing Gohar, given his association with PPP leader Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan. Despite internal dissent, a PTI spokesperson reiterated the party’s commitment to democracy and adherence to the law, stating that last year’s elections were held again to uphold the rule of law despite the ECP’s previous ruling.

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