ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Friday announced it will hold its intra-party polls after the Feb 8 general elections, reversing its decision made just 24 hours earlier to hold party elections on Feb 5.

The PTI’s federal election commissioner, Raoof Hasan, said the amended schedule would be announced by the Federal Election Commissioner’s office.

In a statement issued on Friday, Mr Hasan said the decision to postpone intra-party elections had been made “due to unfortunate security situation created by the administration and views expressed by some of PTI members who said they were busy in their respective constituencies for general election preparations”.

Mr Hassan said that at the time of PTI’s general body meeting on Jan 31, the designated venue of the party where the meetings were to take place, the entry of party members was unlawfully banned by the administration and the party’s Islamabad office was sealed, thus forcing the party leaders to search for an alternative place and seek legal remedies.

“While we are ready to hold IPE (intra-party elections) on the basis of secret ballot through digital balloting, the PTI arrangements for the availability of alternative venues require additional time,” he said.

Mr Hasan said that several PTI members had requested to hold intra-party polls after the Feb 8 general elections, as they were busy in their constituencies for general elections preparations.

“Taking cognisance of the unfortunate security situation created by the administration and the views expressed by some of the party members, holding of intra-party elections needs to be rescheduled,” he added.

Meanwhile, PTI founder Imran Khan said that people were well aware that all cases registered against him had no legal basis as these were part of a political circus that had been going on in the country for the past 22 months to demoralise PTI voters.

In a message, he said, “The unfolding of the Toshakhana, cipher and Iddat cases only highlight their frivolous, baseless and politically motivated nature,” Mr Khan said.

The former PTI chairman said that he had led his life with impeccable financial integrity and credibility, with the people of Pakistan donating billions of rupees for his welfare projects.

“The Toshakhana case was concocted because no evidence of financial corruption against me was found,” the former prime minister said. He termed the Toshakhana case a ‘sham trial’, adding that relevant authorities had sensed that the trial would conclude in absolving him. “They deprived me of my fundamental right of cross-examination,” Mr Khan said.

Referring to the Iddat case, he said the case has been expedited as they want to create a narrative against my dream of establishing Pakistan on the principles of Riasat-i Madinah.

Without naming any person or authority, Mr Khan said, “They are concluding it in haste without an iota of fairness in the trial just to declare me guilty.”

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2024

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