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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announced on Wednesday that Barrister Gohar Khan would contest intraparty elections for the slot of party chairman in a “temporary arrangement” as party chairman Imran Khan would not be contesting intraparty elections scheduled for December 2 (Saturday) due to legal issues.

The decision to nominate Barrister Khan comes a day after incarcerated party chairman Imran Khan handpicked him for the slot after consulting his lawyers during a meeting in Adiala jail.

Speaking at a presser Barrister Ali Zafar, as senior PTI leader, along with Barrister Gohar Khan, confirmed that Gohar has been nominated for the party chairmanship but it will be a “temporary arrangement.”

Zafar recalled that Imran Khan had been convicted in Toshakhana case as he highlighted the incumbent party chairman’s legal challenges.

Zafar maintained that a person could not be disqualified for failing to declare Toshakhana gifts. At the same time, he said that the party wanted to preempt any “illegal or unconstitutional” steps by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to prevent the party from getting the “bat” as its election symbol or cancel the nominations of its candidates.

He noted that while Imran’s Toshakhana sentence has been suspended, a “final decision” had not yet been made, adding all these matters were discussed with Imran Khan in the presence of other lawyers.

He quoted Imran Khan as saying that he did not want to give the ECP any excuse for not giving the party the bat symbol in the upcoming general elections, rejecting the nomination of candidates or baring them from participating in the election.

“The support of the masses is with us…we will win the elections when they are held. I want to take part in the general elections. Intraparty election has no importance to me. I want that the Toshkahana case is decided as soon as possible. When it is decided, I will contest intraparty polls as chairman,” Zafar quoted Imran as saying.

He further said that the former prime minister had directed the party to hold intraparty polls, adding that the decision was placed before the senior leadership which had approved it.

He said that Imran would not contest intraparty polls until the Toshakhana case was decided.

Zafar said that the question then arose about the candidates for the intraparty polls as well as the nominee for “caretaker chairman”.

He said that the names of several prominent personalities were discussed but all of them had been appointed to permanent positions within the party.

“It would not be appropriate to give them a temporary position. That’s why we need someone who is not controversial and can play a role in this caretaker mode, this temporary arrangement,” he said.

Announcing Gohar as the nominee for chairman, Zafar said that he was an appropriate pick for a “temporary arrangement.”

“With his nomination, you will realise that this is not a minus-one formula, that this is not a coup. He is Imran Khan sahib’s own nominee and is appropriate for the temporary arrangement we are implementing,” he added.

“PTI is Imran Khan and Imran Khan is PTI. PTI is nothing without Imran Khan. It doesn’t matter if you’re the chairman on paper. Imran Khan is the leader and will continue to be the leader as long as he is there,” he declared.

Zafar said that the party had to overcome legal hurdles as well as implement the ECP’s “illegal and unconstitutional” order on holding intraparty polls which is why it was taking this step.

Speaking on the occasion, Barrister Gohar said: “I am speechless. I do not have the words to thank Imran Khan sahib.” He said that Imran Khan is the leader of the PTI whether he was in jail or free, adding Imran Khan was the leader and chairman, is the chairman and God willing will remain the chairman.

“Let me make it clear that I will handle the post as party chairman until Imran Khan is back,” he added.

Barrister Gohar Khan hails from Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He is a lawyer at the Supreme Court of Pakistan and also appears in all high courts.

He is a law graduate from Wolverhampton University, England and is also holding an LLM degree from Washington School of Law, USA.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Parvez Nov 30, 2023 11:39am
Good move..... political parties don't belong to families in a true democratic political party. Upto now only the JI was the only democratic party, choosing it's leader from among the party by a voting process.
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