Peshawar: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the ruling party of Pakistan, elected lawyer Gohar Ali Khan as its new chairman on Saturday, following the disqualification of its founder and leader Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case. Imran Khan, who is currently in jail, has named Gohar Khan as his successor and representative till his release.
PTI intra-party elections
The PTI intra-party elections were conducted in line with the orders of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to secure its election symbol “Bat” in the general elections to be held in February next year. The elections were held through secret ballot and online voting, with the participation of over 3.5 million PTI members across the country.
According to PTI Party Chief Election Commissioner Niazullah Niazi, Gohar Khan was elected unopposed as the Central Chairman of the party, as no other candidate filed nomination papers against him. He also announced that Omar Ayub Khan was elected unopposed as the Central General Secretary of the party, while Ali Amin Gandapur and Yasmin Rashid were elected as the provincial presidents of the party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab respectively.
Gohar Khan’s statement
Announcing Peshawar, Gohar Khan said that he would take over the responsibility of chairman as the representative of Imran Khan, who is the real leader and ideologue of the party. He said, “We will take the country forward but as long as I am here, I will work as the representative of Imran Khan, who is in jail because of his ideological struggle. PTI will not fight with anyone.”
He also regretted that no political party had to face such elections as PTI and said that the court did not take into account other parties receiving foreign funding. He said that PTI is the only party that has transparent and democratic elections within the party and that the party will continue to work for the welfare of the people.
Imran Khan’s disqualification and plans
Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, was disqualified by the Islamabad High Court in the Toshakhana case on October 27, 2023, for not disclosing his assets and receiving gifts from foreign dignitaries. He was sentenced to five years in prison and barred from holding any public office for 10 years. He is currently lodged in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi and has challenged his conviction in the Supreme Court.
Imran Khan has decided to hand over the post of chairman to Gohar Khan, who is a close aide and loyalist of him, till his release. He has also named him as his successor, in case he is unable to contest the next general elections due to his disqualification. He has expressed confidence that Gohar Khan will lead the party and the country in the right direction and that he will return to power after his acquittal.