Barrister Ali Zafar pulls out from PTI chief race

Our Correspondent
February 25, 2024

PTI leader cites "conflict of interest" behind his recusal as candidate for party chairman post

PTI leader Barrister Ali Zafar. — X/SyedAliZafar1


In a rather unsettling development for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which arguably has been facing a leadership crisis, Barrister Ali Zafar has withdrawn his name for the PTI chairman slot, The News reported on Sunday.

Zafar, whose name was announced by Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, as the candidate for PTI chairman ahead of the party's intra-party polls, has emerged as a key figure for the party as he not only represents the party in the Senate but also has been a part of the legal team contesting various cases in multiple courts in recent months.

Earlier this week, the party had announced holding fresh intra-party elections on March 3 in the backdrop of the Supreme Court's decision in favour of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) wherein the apex court had upheld the electoral body's plea to uphold its decision declaring the PTI's intra-party elections null and void due to administrative irregularities pertaining to its failure to adhere to its own Constitution and the provisions of the Election Act 2017 and Election Rules 2017.

As per the PTI's election schedule, candidates intending to contest the intra-party polls can submit their nomination papers on February 23 and 24, with the scrutiny being carried out on February 25.

Meanwhile, the final decisions on nomination papers will be announced on February 27 and the polling will be held on March 3 at the party's central office as well as provincial secretariats.

Speaking to The News, Barrister Zafar said that he feels he cannot be a chairman of the party and also continue his work to ensure PTI founder Imran Khan is released from jail.

"Professionally, I feel that while I'm trying to get Khan Sahibout of jail, if I become the chairman of the party there is a potential conflict. That conflict is that my interest as chairman could be to keep him in jail so my chairmanship could go on.

"I do not want to get into such a conflict of interest. Professionally, I think it is not right," the lawyer stressed.

On being asked whether the PTI founder had accepted his recusal from vying for the chairman slot, Zafar responded in the affirmative.

The development comes as the party is also seemingly battling internal rifts after its prominent leader Sher Afzal Marwat was issued a show-cause notice after he, while talking to Geo News, said that former chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan was removed as the party's chief over "incompetence and poor performance".

However, on Saturday the two leaders "reconciled" and were seen hugging each other in a video that went viral on social media.

"I didn't use the word of 'incompetent' for Barrister Gohar," Marwat said, adding that he wants to tell PTI workers that the two leaders have "no rifts" between them.


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