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Pakistan: Imran Khan's party ordered to conduct fresh intra-party polls within 20 days for 'bat' symbol

On November 23, the Election Commission said that the intra-party polls held last year were objectionable and controversial, saying that it had amended the constitution before the elections. The fresh elections will have to be conducted as per the time frame set by the ECP to retain the bat symbol.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Islamabad Published on: November 28, 2023 16:30 IST
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
Image Source : PTI Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has agreed to conduct fresh intra-party elections within 20 days, as per the time frame given by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), to retain its 'bat' symbol. The electoral body ruled on November 23 that PTI's earlier intra-party polls were not transparent, according to Geo News.

In a reserved verdict announced on Thursday, the ECP observed that the PTI failed to hold free and fair intra-party elections and that the polls were objectionable and controversial. "PTI's intra-party elections cannot be accepted,” the verdict said. The party held the election on June 10, 2022, but the ECP rejected it, saying that the party had amended its Constitution two days before holding the polls.

In response, PTI's Central Media Department said that its members discussed important issues including the country's political environment, organisational activities of the party and the intra-party elections during a core committee meeting. The meeting reiterated the demand for foolproof security arrangements during Imran's court appearance and condemned the arrest of former Member of National Assembly (MNA) Junaid Akbar.

“The government’s attempts to endanger the security, security and life of Chairman Imran Khan in the past are not hidden from anyone. His safety and security is of utmost priority: millions of workers from across the country want to go to court to welcome their beloved leader,” said a PTI spokesperson, adding that the ex-PM has an important message for the party leaders and workers during his appearance.

In August, the electoral body gave the PTI a final warning to hold the elections or it could be declared ineligible to obtain an election symbol. The PTI elections were due on June 13, 2021, but an extension was granted by the ECP. 

Imran Khan's hearing to continue in open court

Meanwhile, a special court ruled on Tuesday that the cipher case trial proceedings of the PTI chairman will continue in an open court in Adiala Jail, where he is currently imprisoned. Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain said, "The cipher trial will take place in jail in light of the security report by the superintendent of Adiala Jail."

Adiala jail authorities failed to present the former PM today before the court at Islamabad’s Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) citing “serious security risks”, reported Dawn. Four witnesses have already been examined and the fifth was being cross-examined when the Islamabad High Court (IHC) division termed the government’s notification for jail trial “erroneous” and scrapped the proceedings.

Additionally, a Pakistani accountability court on Monday sent former Prime Minister Imran Khan to 14 days of judicial remand in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case. The court had rejected the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) plea for an extension of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman's physical remand.

Notably, Imran has been incarcerated since August 5, after an Islamabad court sentenced him to three years in prison in the Toshakhana case. His Toshakhana sentence was later suspended by the IHC but he was arrested in the cipher case.

ALSO READ | Pakistan: Imran Khan sent to 14-day judicial remand in Al-Qadir corruption case

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