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ISLAMABAD: As rumours swirl over replacement of incarcerated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, the party on Tuesday strongly rebutted the reports of replacing him with someone else in the forthcoming intra-party elections.

After his conviction in Toshakhana reference by a local court, Khan – under the law – could not contest the intra-party elections for the top post which he has been holding since the creation of the party in 1996.

However, a senior party leader who wished not to be named told Business Recorder that Imran Khan would not partake in the intra-party election due to his conviction in Toshakhana reference.

“Under the law, he [Imran Khan] could not contest intra-party election as he has been convicted in Toshakhana reference, but still we’ll consult our legal team as to what could be done. His [Imran Khan] own directives will be final,” he added.

Talking to journalists, Barrister Gohar Khan, one of the members of PTI chief’s legal team, said the decision would be made on Friday after consulting the party chairman.

Shoaib Shaheen, a member of the party’s core committee, told reporters that the party has not reached a decision about who should replace Imran as the chairman and that a name was expected to be finalised after a party delegation meets the ex-premier jailed in Adiala.

Reacting to the reports, the PTI rejected the statements related to the election of the new party chief, saying “discussions are continued on all the important matters regarding holding intra-party elections”. Last week, the ECP ruled that the PTI intra-party polls were not transparent, ordering the former ruling party to hold new elections if it wishes to retain its “bat” symbol.

The PTI was ordered by the commission to hold fresh elections within 20 days in a reserved verdict announced on November 23.

In the verdict, the ECP stated that the PTI failed to hold free and fair intra-party elections, adding that the polls were “objectionable and controversial”.

“If PTI fails to hold elections within 20 days then it will have to face severe consequences. In case of failure to hold [intra-party] elections, the [PTI] will not be eligible to secure an election symbol,” said the verdict.

The ECP had issued notices to the PTI for not holding intra-party polls on August 2 and reserved its verdict on the matter on September 13.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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