PTI decides to hold intra-party polls afresh

ISLAMABAD   -  At a time when February 8 elections are just a week away, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday announced to hold its intra-party polls afresh in a move to function itself as a political party.

The General Body meeting of the PTI that simultaneously met, physically and virtually, in Islamabad and at four provincial capitals through a resolution called on holding the intra-party polls “as early as practicable and possible.”

Official sources within the party of former prime minister Imran Khan informed The Nation that PTI would hold the intra-party polls before the Election Day in a move to keep its winning independent candidates within its folds after the election. But party leaders are still unsure whether this move will be successful or not. On January 13, the Supreme Court had upheld the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) depriving the PTI of its iconic election symbol ‘bat’ and pushing the party into serious troubles to run for the general elections.

While the General Body meeting was under way, PTI leader Omar Ayub Khan in a post on X said that police had encircled the party’s central offices in Islamabad and Quetta. He said that the party members were being denied access to the premises by the police. He went on to say that the police action was in direct violation of the Supreme Court orders.

 “We condemn this action of the police and call upon the judiciary to take immediate notice,” he said, adding that every obstacle was being placed in PTI’s path to prevent it from functioning as a political party. “Whereas in the light of the decisions of the SC and the ECP… it is imperative that PTI’s intra-party elections be held afresh immediately,” said the resolution passed by the General Body of PTI. The meeting resolved that intra party elections be conducted in person at the venues simultaneously in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta or such other place as may be decided by the party’s Federal Election Commission.

The meeting appointed Secretary Information Raoof Hasan as PTI’s Federal Election Commissioner and Qazi Muhammad Anwar (KP), Senator Waleed Iqbal (Punjab), Noor Ul Haq Qureshi (Sindh), Muhammad Dawood Khan (Balochistan), and Shah Nasir (Gilgit Baltistan) as provincial members of the commission to conduct intra party elections as per party’s Constitution 2019. 

The meeting further resolved that only those, who were registered members of the party on its Raabta official app – the digital register of PTI members – as on 31st January 2024, shall be entitled to vote for and contest the intra party elections. 

For managing the affairs of PTI till the announcing of the results of intra party elections, Omar Ayub shall act as the Chief Organizer of PTI in place of the previous chief organizer, the resolution reads.

In the beginning, the resolution mentioned that ECP in its November 23, 2023 order had decided that the National Council of PTI did not exist. ECP in its later December 22, 2023 order said that the PTI’s Federal Election Commissioner was not appointed by the National Council (which does not exist) and that Omar Ayub, who appointed the Federal Election Commissioner, is not the Secretary General of the PTI, it further said. 

“And whereas PTI consists of we, its members, and in view of the constitutional deadlock as stated above, it is up to us, the members of PTI, to resolve this critical issue to move forward as a political party to exercise our Fundamental Right as per Article 17 of the Constitution of Pakistan.” 

In view of all this, the only solution is for us, the members, to step in, appoint the Federal Election Commissioner and Commissioners and through them conduct PTI’s intra-party elections, also reads the resolution. “This is the only way to get out of this constitutional impasse.”

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