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Sunday April 21, 2024

PTI-SIC merger 'best decision', says Gohar Ali Khan

“Imran-founded party not organising any overseas protests,” clarifies party chairman

By Web Desk
March 16, 2024
PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan addresses the press conference outside Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, on March 16, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News
PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan addresses the press conference outside Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, on March 16, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News

After some conflicting voices were raised from inside party over Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) merger, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan said Saturday that his party took “serious and best decision in circumstances prevailing the the time when PTI lost its electoral symbol — bat —symbol and was looking for options to secure its reserved seats.

"Not only reserved seats, we also wanted to get protection from our independent candidates as merging with a political party would also stop defections," Gohar said while speaking to media outside Adiala Jail — Rawalpindi post-hearing of £190m  scandal case against PTI founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi.

He reiterated that PTI-SIC merger was best decision taken after much deliberations.

Gohar pinned hopes on the Supreme Court (SC) to provide justice to the Imran-led party that had been rejected for being eligible to get reserved seats for women and minorities. He detailed that the PTI was eyeing a total of 80 seats, including 67 reserved seats for women, and 11 for minorities.

The lawyer-cum-politician also said that they would also seek interpretation of Article 51 of the Constitutions from the top court to know about a party could get reserved seats more than the proportion of winning seats or not.

Gohar announced that the Peshawar High Court's (PHC) decision upholding the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) ruling to deny reserved seats to PTI would be challenged in the apex court.

On Thursday, the former ruling party faced a major blow as the PHC dismissed the PTI-backed SIC’s petition challenging the ECP's ruling that denied reserved seats to the party. The court maintained that the "petitions were unanimously rejected."

After back-to-back protests led by overseas Pakistanis in the United States (US), the party chairman dissociated with the ongoing protests overseas, clarifying that his party did not have any part in it in the recent demonstrations outside the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) headquarters.

“If overseas Pakistanis are making up something, then it would be their own decision,” Barrister Gohar said.

It is noteworthy that several PTI workers from overseas chapter staged protests outside the IMF and WB headquarters in Washington against alleged irregularities in the 2024 general elections in Pakistan.

Yesterday’s protest in US was attended by former premier Khan’s ex-chief of staff Shahbaz Gill and PTI spokesperson in the United States, Sajjad Burki.

The demonstration — organised by "First Pakistan Global" — alleged that the PTI's National Assembly seats were "reduced" to 90 from 180 in the general elections, The News reported.

The protests drew severe criticism from the Pakistani government at the time when the country was seeking another bailout package from the global lender to address its economic woes.

Responding a question, the PTI chairman said that the party did not ask the IMF to stop disbursing financial aid to Pakistan; however, it admitted that the party urged the global lender’s recall its commitments for free and fair elections and transparent allocations of its funds.