Islamabad, Pakistan: The most unique and funny intra-party elections in the history of Pakistan concluded in less than half an hour on November 2, 2023, when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announced Barrister Gauhar as its new Chairman of the party.
Joined PTI in 2021, Barrister Gauhar reportedly was selected by Bushra Bibi and announced by Barrister Ali Zafar. Akbar S. Babar who is the founder and leader of PTI has called this development as “third takeover of PTI by aliens”. He said this time aliens are lawyers. He believes that it is a matter of concern because PTI which calls itself a political party ignored the norms laid down by the Election Commission and held an objectionable party Chairman. This process raises several serious political and academic questions including:
- Was this spectacle that ended in half an hour a selection, an election, or just an announcement of the name that was already decided by Bushra Bibi?
- Were nomination papers of the party Chairman given to all party leaders? Akbar S. Babar who is the founder leader of PTI is saying that this did not happen at all and he was not allowed to participate in this process.
- Is it not clear that PTI is run by Bushra Bibi instead of the system that converts a group of people into a party?
- Are democratic values existing in PTI or decisions are imposed in an authoritarian way?
- How can this party be called a political or democratic party under such circumstances?
- Where are the long-standing and old political leaders of the party in all this bogus process? What is their political future?
- A fugitive has become the provincial president of the party. Has this ever happened before?
In Punjab and KP, appointing the criminals of May 9 as party presidents is a shameful act – the evidence of the wickedness of both of them was seen with their own eyes on May 9 – this means that the party chairman and his family No lessons have been learned from the past and party still justify mutiny of May 9 because main characters of this mutiny have been awarded top position in the party.
The way the announcement of the Chairman was done indicates that PTI, which raised the slogans of democracy, justice, and merit, is dead today. The brazen manner in which the intra-party elections were conducted exposed the democratic system of Pakistan. PTI, which has been watching the country with sit-ins and rallies by crying of rigging, was caught red-handed today by rigging itself. Ideological workers who sacrificed
Pakistan People’s Party has demanded to take notice from the Election Commission. Faisal Karim Kundi says that PTI’s election has been nothing just a process of selection of new Chairman.
Ahmad Bilal Mehboob, head of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PLDAT), a non-governmental NGO working for the promotion of democracy in Pakistan, called the intra-party election of PTI controversial. On the orders of the Election Commission, PTI conducted intra-party elections to get the symbol of the bat in the elections, in which Imran Khan did not participate. Got elected.
Reacting to PTI’s intra-party election, PLDAT chief Ahmad Bilal Mehboob said that political parties in Pakistan talk about free and fair elections, but there is no transparency in the intra-party election of political parties. Ahmad Bilal Mehboob further said that he did think that the intra-party elections were conducted in a good manner. He called the process as “controversial”. He said that the voter list was not given in the PTI intra-party election, and Akbar S. Babar should have been given the full opportunity to contest. On the other hand, the founding leader of PTI, Akbar S. Babar, has once again expressed his reservations about the party elections and has announced to challenge of the PTI intra-party election.
PMLN has also decided to approach ECP against this announcement calling the whole process a fraud with Pakistan’s electoral system.
Akbar S. Babar while expressing his viewpoint on the PTV talk Show “Chotha Satoon” said that he would not leave his fight to reclaim the original PTI that was established on a cause for change in Pakistan. He stated that he filed the foreign funding case against the PTI because he knew that the party had lost its direction and he at last won the case because he was on the right path. He said that he went to the Party Secretariat and asked for nomination papers and a voter’s list but he was denied both because there was no voter list available with the party Secretariat. He said that the nomination of the new PTI chairman has raised serious questions about the transparency and credibility of the entire PTI intra-party election process.
He was of the view that a party that champions transparency and a level playing field in the national elections is shying away from allowing its workers a level playing field to elect its leadership without interference and manipulation.
Babar stated that he would not let the party be hijacked again and would play his positive role in reclaiming the party from aliens. He proposed that the Election Commission of Pakistan should appoint ‘observers’ to monitor the PTI intra-party elections because today’s election was not following the rules and procedures of the ECP and the PTI Constitution.