PTI to hold fresh intra-party polls on March 3

Web Desk
Supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan hold a giant cricket bat with the colours and initials of the party in Multan on July 20, 2018. — AFP
Supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan hold a giant cricket bat with the colours and initials of the party in Multan on July 20, 2018. — AFP

  • Polling to be held at party's central office, provincial secretariats.
  • Candidates can file nomination papers on Feb 23 and 24.
  • Scrutiny to be held on Feb 25 which will be decided upon by Feb 27.

Following its decision to sit on opposition benches in the Centre and in Punjab while gearing up for forming its government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Thursday announced its decision to hold fresh intra-party polls on March 3.

The announcement comes after the party was rendered symbol-less following the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) 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.

Though the Peshawar High Court had then restored the party's "bat" symbol, the Supreme Court (SC) eventually overturned the PHC verdict and upheld the ECP's appeal — therefore leaving the party's candidates with no choice but to contest the February 8 polls as independent candidates.

Earlier this month, PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan had announced holding intra-party polls to elect the chairman, central and provincial organising bodies on February 5 but the party, however, postponed the elections.

Now the party has issued a fresh schedule.

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.

Earlier this week, the party — whose candidates won over 80 National Assembly (NA) seats, secured victory in more than 100 Punjab Assembly seats and emerged as the largest party in the KP Assembly in the Feb 8 polls — announced joining hands with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) in the Centre, Punjab and KP in a bid to secure its share of the 70 NA reserved seats for women and minorities which are allocated proportionally to the parties.

Sources say more than 80 PTI-backed independent candidates have so far have joined the SIC. However, the party's quest for reserved seats isn't likely to go smoothly.

According to Advocate Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar the allocation and distribution of reserved seats for women and non-Muslims as per Articles 51, 106 and 224 of the Constitution read with Section 104 of the Election Act, 2017 and Rule 92 of the Election Rules, is only for those political parties which have a presence in the assembly through their own election symbol after the general election but when a political party does not have a legal existence through elected representatives, then independent returned candidates will not have the legal option to join such political party under the law.

However, Khokar told The News that despite the PTI not being able to form a parliamentary party in the prevailing circumstances, its decision to ally with the SIC may allow the latter to get a share of the reserved seats.