PTI lawyer Barrister Gohar Ali Khan has been elected unopposed as the party’s new chairman, replacing incarcerated chief Imran Khan.
Moreover, former minister Omar Ayub Khan has been elected the central secretary general of the party.
These names were announced by PTI Election Commissioner Niazullah Niazi on Saturday morning as the party conducted its intra-party elections on the orders of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). He also announced that all the candidates and panels have been elected unopposed.
The party's central polling centre was set up in Peshawar's Rano Garhi area, overseen by its Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Presiding Officer Ali Zaman.
He further said that the estranged founding member of the PTI, Akbar S. Babar, did not get in touch to submit his nomination papers, adding that he was neither a party member nor a candidate.
Niazi said Babar’s opposition to the chairman’s candidate was rejected. He said they were custodians of the Constitution and would not take any undemocratic step.
Furthermore, former Punjab minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has been announced as the provincial president of the PTI, Haleem Adil Sheikh the Sindh president, Ali Amin Gandapur Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Munir Ahmed the president of the PTI Balochistan chapter.
Previously, it was announced that the intra-party poll would be held through a mobile app called Rabta. It was expected that the party’s 6.5 million registered workers would vote during the election.
The election was held for the slots of PTI chairman, and regional and provincial heads. The voting was scheduled to begin on the party app at 2pm and last till 4pm by the party management cell.
The cell was supposed to send an SMS about the commencement of the voting process.
On November 29, PTI leader and Senator Ali Zafar had announced that the party will hold its intra-party elections on December 2.
Talking to the media in Islamabad, the lawyer also announced that Barrister Gohar Ali Khan would be the nominee for the party chairman’s election, as Imran Khan would not be contending for the office.
He further said that the PTI had conducted its intra-party polls in 2022. The election commission had directed the PTI to hold intra-party polls within 20 days to qualify for being allotted the ‘bat’ electoral symbol.
“We had two options: to challenge the election commission’s decision or hold the intra-party elections as ordered,” the senator said.
On November 23, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had ordered the PTI to hold intra-party elections within 20 days, as previously, it had not conducted them transparently as per the Constitution.
The ECP had also sought a report in seven days after the election. “The Election Commission is taking a soft approach before taking any action,” it concluded on the party's application seeking the 'bat' electoral symbol.
“If the intra-party elections are not held within the stipulated period, the party will be disqualified from contesting the elections,” the supreme electoral body said.
“If the party fails to conduct the election within 20 days, it will have to face serious consequences,” the ECP remarked.
Who is Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, Imran Khan’s choice for PTI’s caretaker chairman?
Barrister Gohar’s nomination as the caretaker chairman of PTI has sparked curiosity and speculation about his background and sudden foray into the party's leadership.
Hailing from the Bunir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, a Supreme Court lawyer, shared insights about his past before his unexpected entry into PTI's leadership.
His political journey commenced with the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) before he transitioned to PTI. Engaging actively in the 2008 general elections, he remained involved in electoral processes but later withdrew from active political participation, focusing instead on legal advocacy for political entities.
Educationally, Barrister Gohar holds an LLB from the University of Wolverhampton, UK, and an LLM from Washington Civil of Law, establishing a robust legal foundation for his career. Associated with Aitraz Ahsan & Associates for years, he practiced law under the guidance of Aitzaz Ahsan.
A significant milestone in Barrister Gohar's career was his involvement in the lawyers' movement in 2007 alongside Aitzaz Ahsan. Notably, he assisted in the case for the rehabilitation of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, demonstrating his commitment to legal activism.
His recent prominence within PTI stemmed from being a pivotal member of Imran Khan's legal team, handling crucial legal affairs and serving as the party's focal person on legal matters. Initially focusing on cases such as the foreign funding case against PTI and Imran Khan's Election Commission contempt cases, his role expanded with the accumulation of more complex legal challenges.
Despite a brief political stint with PPP and an unsuccessful election attempt in 2008, Barrister Gohar chose to channel his efforts into legal advocacy. He emphasizes the necessity for political workers to maintain affiliations with parties, portraying himself as a political activist deeply engaged in the political landscape through legal avenues.
Over the years, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan's legal expertise became pivotal in handling cases involving various political parties in Pakistan, showcasing his intricate involvement in the country's political and legal domains. His sudden emergence as a caretaker chairman within PTI has left many pondering the implications and contributions he may bring to the party's leadership.