The PTI on Thursday announced that it would be holding fresh intra-party elections on March 3 (Sunday).

After a long battle and marathon hearings in the run-up to the February 8 general elections, the PTI was stripped of its symbol last month when the Supreme Court upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to declare the party’s internal polls as “unconstitutional”.

In its detailed verdict, the apex court had ruled that a political party must never be deprived of its election symbol for some minor violation, but forsaking intra-party elections was a major violation of law and the Constitution.

The verdict forced hundreds of party members to contest the elections as independent candidates with different electoral symbols and deprived the PTI of its right to reserved seats.

The party had earlier decided to hold the internal elections on February 5 but later changed its mind and postponed them until after the Feb 8 general elections over the “unfortunate security situation created by the administration” and concerns expressed by members.

Today, the PTI’s Federal Chief Election Commission released its schedule for the intra-party elections which will now be held on March 3.

According to the schedule, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the party will issue its notice inviting nomination papers for PTI members on Feb 22. Party members will be able to file their nomination papers with the returning officers (RO) between 10am to 3pm on Feb 23 and 24.

The schedule said that the scrutiny of the nomination forms will be completed by 3pm on Feb 25 while Feb 26 will be the deadline for filing appeals against the RO’s decision. The decisions on the appeals and the final list of panels/candidates will be issued by Feb 29.

Meanwhile, the last day for withdrawing candidates/panels and the issuance of a revised list of panels will be Feb 28.

The schedule said that intra-party elections would be held from 10am to 3pm on March 3, adding that polling would be held in the following places:

  • Islamabad: PTI Central office, St.32, G-8, Islamabad
  • Balochistan: PTI Provincial Secretariat, Main Chorangi, Shahbaz Town, Quetta
  • KP: Mehmaan-e-Khas Wedding Hall, GT Road, Opposite Gulbahar Police Station, Peshawar
  • Punjab: 197-XX, Street 6, Phase 3, DHA, Lahore
  • Sindh: Insaf House, 16-B, Block 6, PECHS, Rashid Minhas Street, Karachi

The schedule said election results will be declared by 8pm the same day while a notification regarding the same will be issued on March 4.

Speaking to the media in Rawalpindi later, Barrister Gohar Khan that PTI Senator Ali Zafar would contest the party’s intra-party polls, which are scheduled for March 3, for the slot of the chairman.

He further said that Omar Ayub would contest the polls for the position of the party secretary general. “This is Khan sahib’s decision,” Gohar added.

PTI-backed independents join Sunni Ittehad Council

Despite all the odds, PTI-backed independents had managed to clinch a lion’s share in the Feb 8 polls. On Sunday, two days after deciding to sit on the opposition benches and launch a countrywide campaign against alleged rigging in the Feb 8 elections, the PTI had renewed its efforts to form governments in the Centre, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the help of a new partner, the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

A day earlier, almost all PTI-backed winning independent candidates officially joined the SIC. As many as 89 MNAs, 85 members of the KP Assembly, 106 members of the Punjab Assembly and nine members of the Sindh Assembly submitted their affidavits.

Three party leaders did not submit affidavits, including Omar Ayub Khan, Barrister Gohar Khan and Ali Amin Gandapur while the notification of one candidate, Dawar Kundi, was yet to be issued by the ECP.

While Ayub and Gohar deliberately did not file affidavits to become SIC members because they plan to contest PTI’s intra-party elections, Gandapur did not file the affidavit as he has been nominated as the party’s candidate for the slot of KP chief minister.

PTI sources told Dawn that all the notified MNAs, apart from Ayub and Gohar, and MPAs had joined the SIC. “We hope that we will get our due share from the reserved seats in the national and provincial assemblies,” a party source said.

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