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Second time lucky! Gohar Khan re-elected unopposed as Imran Khan's PTI chairman

Omar Ayub Khan, PTI's candidate for the next PM, has been elected unopposed as the Imran-founded party’s central general secretary. Ali Zafar was previously named the candidate for the party chairman, but he refused, leaving only Gohar as the sole candidate for the post.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Islamabad Published on: March 01, 2024 12:53 IST
Pakistan, PTI chairman, Gohar Khan
Image Source : AP PTI leader Gohar Khan (centre), who became the party chairman for the second time.

Islamabad: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday announced that Barrister Gohar Khan has been re-elected as the party chairman unopposed after the withdrawal of all other candidates from the organisational polls. “At the conclusion of the withdrawal phase of candidates/panels, there is only one candidate/panel remaining,” the PTI said in a statement on late Thursday.

Meanwhile, Omar Ayub Khan, the party's PM candidate, has been elected unopposed as the Imran-founded party’s central general secretary while Yasmin Rashid, Ali Amin Gandapur, and Haleem Adil Sheikh were elected unopposed as the PTI presidents for Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces respectively, Geo News reported.

This makes Gohar, 45, the only leader to have been elected to the chairman post twice in the party. The PTI was scheduled to hold fresh organisational polls on March 3 after the result of its earlier intra-party election was annulled by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Several party leaders had submitted their nomination papers as panels for the intra-party polls, but a majority of them withdrew only two days before the organisational election.

PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said he had no option but to announce the unopposed winners in the absence of opponents on most seats. The party will organise an organisational poll in Quetta for the Balochistan president’s post. "The final result of the election will, however, be declared by the Federal Election Commissioner on March 3, 2024, after the election process," said the PTI.

Ali Zafar was earlier named chairman candidate

Gohar was elected as PTI chairman last year after it held an intra-party poll in December on ECP's directions, but its result, which some disgruntled PTI workers challenged, was annulled after a bitter court battle. Subsequently, the party was deprived of its iconic cricket bat symbol by the top electoral body, and Gohar, who became the chairman after those elections, was no longer the party head. Last week, Gohar announced that the party's next chairman nominee is Barrister Ali Zafar.

The party's top post has been lying vacant for more than a month after the ECP and the Supreme Court declared its intra-party elections conducted in December unlawful. However, Zafar refused to accept the chairmanship and only Gohar submitted his candidature for the top post. 

In November last year, incarcerated party founder Imran Khan stepped down as the PTI chief to avoid any legal implications as he has been facing scores of cases ranging from terrorism to money laundering since his ouster from power in April 2022 and nominated Gohar for the post.

Gohar 'removed' due to incompetence: Marwat

Senior party leader Sher Afzal Marwat claimed that Gohar was kicked from the post of party chairman for his “incompetence” and "poor" performance. “Incompetence and poor performance are the reasons behind Gohar’s removal as chairman. Barrister Gohar is a gentleman, but his performance was not satisfactory," Marwat told Geo News. The party has issued a show-cause notice to Marwat.

The PTI-backed independents won majority seats at the National Assembly in the controversy-marred general election. However, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have agreed on a power-sharing deal to form a new coalition government, effectively ending Khan's chances of returning to power. The PTI has rejected the attempts by two of its arch-rivals to form a coalition government, warning that robbing its public endorsement by the "mandate thieves" will result in the worst political instability.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | US lawmakers urge Biden administration to not recognise new Pakistan govt over alleged interference

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