In a surprising turn of events, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) imprisoned supremo Imran Khan on Tuesday decided not to contest the upcoming party chairman election.
The announcement was made by Mr Khan's lawyer Sher Afzal Khan Marwat, who cited the looming threat of disqualification in the ToshaKhana case as the primary reason behind this strategic move.
Legal hurdles force Khan's withdrawal
Speaking to the media outside Adiala Jail, Marwat explained that the legal landscape, particularly the recent decision by the Election Commission, played a pivotal role in Khan's decision.
The Election Commission of Pakistan had ordered the PTI to conduct intra-party elections within 20 days, raising concerns about the party's compliance with its constitution.
Marwat clarified, "Due to the legal ban, Chairman PTI Imran Khan will not be a candidate for Chairman PTI this time." He emphasized that Imran Khan's withdrawal was not a sign of permanent disengagement but a strategic move to navigate the current legal challenges.
'Imran's temporary step back'
Despite the setbacks, Marwat assured supporters that Imran Khan remains the chairman of PTI in spirit. "These are temporary difficulties," he remarked, "whenever this disqualification ends, Imran Khan will be the chairman of PTI again."
The decision to refrain from the upcoming election is seen as a tactical move to avoid further legal complications and ensure a smoother return to the party leadership once legal matters are resolved.
PTI reacts to Marwat's statement
Responding to recent reports, the PTI vehemently rejected the "speculations" surrounding the potential election of a new party chairman.
In an official statement released on its verified handle, the Imran Khan-led party also dismissed the statements made by senior leaders regarding the appointment of a new party chief.
پاکستان تحریک انصاف کے انٹرا پارٹی انتخابات کے انعقاد اور چیئرمین عمران خان کے نئی مدت کیلئے انتخاب میں حصہ لینے کا معاملہ— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 28, 2023
پاکستان تحریک انصاف کی انٹراپارٹی انتخاب کے حوالے سے میڈیا میں کی جانے والی قیاس آرائیوں کی سختی سے تردید
چیئرمین تحریک انصاف عمران خان کے الیکشن کمیشن…
The party asserted that discussions are currently underway to address crucial matters concerning the organization of intra-party elections.
The PTI's leadership appears to be divided on the issue of the party chairman election.
Election commission's directive
On November 20, the Election Commission of Pakistan directed the PTI to hold intra-party elections within 20 days.
The directive was issued following concerns about the party's failure to conduct elections in accordance with its constitution. The commission had raised objections to the PTI's use of the bat symbol and issued a show-cause notice regarding the non-compliance with intra-party election regulations.
The PTI had argued that the intra-party election had taken place in June 2022 as per the party constitution of 2019. However, the Election Commission contested this, leading to the order for fresh elections within the stipulated timeframe.