Opponents question legitimacy of PTI’s intra-party polls

Published December 3, 2023
The combo photo shows Akbar S Babar (L), Marriyum Aurangzeb (M) and Pervez Khattak. — File
The combo photo shows Akbar S Babar (L), Marriyum Aurangzeb (M) and Pervez Khattak. — File

ISLAMABAD: The PTI on Saturday received a sharp criticism from its opponents over its intra-party elections as a party dissident and one of the founding members, Akbar S. Babar, announced that he would challenge the whole process in a court of law.

The leaders of the country’s mainstream parties, including the PML-N and PPP, also put question mark on the legitimacy of the intra-party elections conducted by the PTI on the directives of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Speaking at a news conference at Islamabad’s National Press Club, Akbar Babar said that instead of intra-party elections, the PTI had in fact carried out a selection process aimed at throwing out the PTI workers in order to give the party’s reins to a few lawyers.

“The PTI’s intra-party election was not only a violation of the Constitution of Pakistan but also of its own constitution,” said Mr Babar while calling upon the ECP to scrutinise all political parties and their funding.

Akbar Babar vows to challenge the process in court

The head of a breakaway faction of the PTI, Pervez Khattak, also termed the PTI’s intra-party elections ‘fake exercise’. Mr Khattak, who had recently formed his own party with the name PTI-Parliamentarians, said the ECP had rightly ordered the holding of intra-party elections in the PTI.

Talking to reporters in Peshawar, Mr Khattak went on alleging that all the PTI intra-party elections held during the last 12 years were “forged”.

On this occasion, he made a confession that “forged records” were presented to the ECP in the past during his presence. He said Barrister Gohar Khan had been introduced to the party only two years ago and claimed that the new PTI chairman did not even have a party membership card.

The PML-N’s information secretary, Marriyum Aurangzeb, also held a press conference in Rawalpindi soon after the announcement of the results of intra-party elections by the PTI.

Flanked by local PML-N leaders, Ms Aurangzeb said the whole intra-party election process was a “framed exercise” and even the basic formalities of the elections were not fulfilled. She claimed that no one had even seen the nomination papers along with the names of proposers and seconders. She said the whole nation witnessed the “manipulated and rigged elections” in which candidates were not even allowed to file nomination papers. She dubbed the PTI’s intra-party elections a “puppet show”.

“You must have seen the intra-party elections of the PML-N last month. The whole activity was telecast live on electronic media to ensure transparency in the process,” she said.

A PPP leader and former deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Faisal Karim Kundi, said that “rigging was clearly visible in the PTI’s intra-party elections. He called upon the ECP to take notice of this rigging.

“Can a fugitive person become an official of a party?” he questioned. “We have full confidence in the ECP and the Chief Justice of Pakistan that they will play their role in conducting fair and transparent elections,” he said in reference to the ­­coming general elections.

Taunting the new PTI head, he said: “Imran Khan could not find anyone from the entire PTI for the post of chairman and that is why Imran only got an old Jiyala for the top post of his party.”

Similarly, Awami National Party president Aimal Wali Khan termed the PTI intra-party elections ‘a mockery of the democratic system’. “The entire democratic system was mocked by this process and fugitives have been awarded positions,” Mr Khan said in a statement issued from Bacha Khan Markaz.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2023

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