Thursday April 18, 2024

Intra-party polls: PTI to conduct fresh elections on March 3

Elections will be held at party's central office in Islamabad as well as provincial secretariats

By Web Desk
February 22, 2024
People buy flags of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in Peshawar on February 3, 2024, ahead of the upcoming general elections. — AFP
People buy flags of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in Peshawar on February 3, 2024, ahead of the upcoming general elections. — AFP

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Thursday announced to conduct a fresh intra-party election on March 3 in the wake of its decision to assume the opposition seats in the National and provincial assemblies.

The major announcement by the Imran Khan-founded party came weeks after the Supreme Court (SC) upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan's verdict declaring its intra-party polls — held in December 2023 — null and void following the administrative irregularities and after failing to abide by its own constitution as well as Election Act 2017 and Election Rules 2017.

Resultantly, the party was also deprived of its iconic 'bat' symbol ahead of its participation in the recently held general elections on February 8. Earlier, the Peshawar High Court had restored the symbol which was overturned by SC, leaving PTI members to contest the polls as independent candidates.

Earlier this month, PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan had announced holding intra-party polls to elect the chairman, central and provincial organising bodies on February 5 but the party, however, postponed the elections.

Now the party has issued a fresh schedule.

As per the PTI's election schedule, candidates intending to contest the intra-party polls can submit their nomination papers on February 23 and 24, with the scrutiny being carried out on February 25.

Meanwhile, the final decisions on nomination papers will be announced on February 27 and the polling will be held on March 3 at the party's central office as well as provincial secretariats.

Earlier this week, the party — whose candidates won over 80 National Assembly (NA) seats, secured victory in more than 100 Punjab Assembly seats and emerged as the largest party in the KP Assembly in the Feb 8 polls — announced joining hands with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) in the Centre, Punjab and KP in a bid to secure its share of the 70 NA reserved seats for women and minorities which are allocated proportionally to the parties.

Sources say more than 80 PTI-backed independent candidates have so far have joined the SIC. However, the party's quest for reserved seats isn't likely to go smoothly.

According to Advocate Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar the allocation and distribution of reserved seats for women and non-Muslims as per Articles 51, 106 and 224 of the Constitution read with Section 104 of the Election Act, 2017 and Rule 92 of the Election Rules, is only for those political parties which have a presence in the assembly through their own election symbol after the general election but when a political party does not have a legal existence through elected representatives, then independent returned candidates will not have the legal option to join such political party under the law.

However, Khokar told The News that despite the PTI not being able to form a parliamentary party in the prevailing circumstances, its decision to ally with the SIC may allow the latter to get a share of the reserved seats.