KARACHI: PTI senior leader and lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar has said that in a meeting with Imran Khan one person has been agreed on as someone who can contest the PTI’s intra-party polls in Imran’s place. The name of the person will be announced as soon as all legal compulsions are finalized, and the party could hold the intra-party election on Saturday or Sunday.
Speaking to host Muhammad Junaid on Geo’s Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath on Tuesday night, Barrister Ali Zafar said that there is “no confusion within the party on how to move forward in this matter [of intra-party polls].”
Zafar said that he and a few others had met Imran Khan on Tuesday and “a couple of decisions were taken as a result. Imran Khan asked about the legal status of the ECP’s order regarding intra-party polls to which I said that in my opinion this was an illegal order and we should appeal it. So we have decided to appeal it.”
On the intra-party elections, Barrister Zafar said that when asked by the party chairman on whether to hold the polls or not, he had given the advice that, “notwithstanding the ECP’s order’s legal standing, I said that I have maintained previously as well that we should hold intra-party elections because I get the impression -- and this is also felt among the party’s leadership -- that the ECP is trying to make sure the PTI does not get the bat as its election symbol. So, while we have the right to appeal, we should hold intra-party polls as well. Imran Khan has agreed to that.”Will Imran be contesting his party’s internal polls? According to Barrister Ali Zafar, “after a debate and discussion on this, it was decided that if there is any apprehension that were Imran to contest the party elections the ECP could again raise an objection then we will hold the election for now without Imran’s Khan’s participation and we nominate someone else [in his place]. We have to take a final and legal decision on this and then we will announce it.” Speaking further about how exactly the PTI could move regarding its intra-party polls, Zafar said that the intra-party polls are open and anyone can win them but that there is one name that has been finalized from among a few names that were debated in the meeting with Imran Khan. “I cannot disclose the name before we finalize all legal consultations regarding this. If Imran Khan is not taking part in these party polls, then we will be announcing the name.”Responding to the confusion and disconnect between the statement put out by the PTI’s Twitter (X) account -- which had said that no decision had been taken regarding Imran not taking part in the party polls -- and Sher Afzal Marwat’s contention that Imran will not contesting the party polls, Barrister Ali Zafar said that Marwat “is correct in what he is saying; he was also there [in the meeting] but the PTI press release is also correct since we have not made a final decision yet.”When asked if names other than Barrister Gohar’s [for potential party chairman candidate] were discussed in the meeting, Zafar said a number of names were discussed and then one name was chosen.On whether the PTI could go into the February elections with the same party chair as will be elected in the intra-party polls, Barrister Ali Zafar said that “this is a temporary phase. One thing I want to make clear: Imran Khan will remain the party leader whether he holds the title of chairman or not. He is the PTI; he is the PTI head; and he will lead the PTI. The PTI is nothing without him. The whole nation knows this. The title does not affect the election campaign or the party. This is a Plan B and we had prepared for this”.
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