ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday finally settled the dust by announcing that Chairman Imran Khan will not be contesting the intra-party polls scheduled for December 2 (Saturday) due to his legal problems, and Barrister Gohar Khan has been nominated for the slot of party chairmanship in a “temporary arrangement”. PTI senior leader Senator Syed Ali Zafar addressing a press conference here said that Chairman Imran Khan nominated Barrister Gohar, a member of his legal team, for the slot of the party’s chairman. Khan’s decision not to contest the upcoming intra-party polls is aimed at pre-empting “any illegal or unconstitutional steps by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to prevent the party from getting the bat as its poll symbol or cancel the nominations of its candidates,” he added.
The development comes a day after some conflicting statements were made by PTI with senior party leader Sher Afzal Khan Marwat saying that ex-premier Khan would not contest the upcoming intra-party polls for the slot of party chairman and a party spokesperson denying any such decision.
Flanked by Barrister Gohar and PTI Information Secretary Raoof Hasan, Senator Zafar underlined that the ECP’s order to the party to hold intra-party elections within 20 days to retain bat as its election symbol was illegal and unconstitutional. The PTI senior leader said that Gohar was an appropriate pick for a caretaker chairmanship and with his nomination, they would realise that this was not a minus-one formula because he was Chairman PTI’s own nominee and was appropriate for the temporary arrangement.
Senator Zafar said the chairmanship for the new nominee was temporary, as Khan would return as chairman of the party once his disqualification in the Toshakhana case is overturned. “There is no concept of PTI without Imran Khan.” The PTI senator made it clear: “PTI is Imran Khan and Imran Khan is PTI. PTI is nothing without Imran Khan. It doesn’t matter if you are the chairman on paper or not. The leader … is Imran Khan.”