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ECP ruling on PTI’s intra-party polls postponed to 13th

ECP ruling on PTI’s intra-party polls postponed to 13th

ISLAMABAD: For a second time, the Elec­tion Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday post­poned announcement of its verdict on a petition that challenged Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s intra-party elections won by the panel led by PTI chairman Imran Khan in June this year.

A four-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Mohammad Raza had reserved its ruling on Nov 13 on a petition filed by Yusuf Ali, former general secretary of the PTI, Swabi chapter.

Earlier, the ECP had announced that the verdict would be announced on Nov 28, but due to the absence of two members of the commission, it was postponed till Dec 5.

On Tuesday, the CEC observed that one member of the commission was abroad and needed to be consulted before announcement of the judgement on Dec 13.

Petitioner Yusuf Ali, who is a leader of the dissident PTI founders group, had challenged the PTI’s intra-party election as, according to him, it violated the party’s constitution and was not transparent and fair.

According to CEC, one member of the commission is abroad and needs to be consulted before announcement of judgement

Talking to the media outside the ECP, Mr Ali claimed that the commission had a historic opportunity to free political parties from personal control by declaring the PTI’s intra-party elections as null and void.

“Our leaders quote examples of the west and yet do not practise democratic values here that allow political parties to become the nurseries of new leadership,” he added.

The petitioner’s lawyer informed the commission that the party had held ‘dummy’ intra-party polls in violation of the party’s constitution. He claimed that the constitution had been amended on May 13, a month before intra-party polls took place on June 12.

The petitioner said that the PTI had not completed the necessary legal formalities in amending the constitution, and pointed out that the constitution could only be altered by the party’s central executive council with a two-thirds majority.

He said that under the controversial amendment, registered voters had been restricted to vote for one of two panels, one of which was led by Imran Khan. The party had redrafted the constitution and developed software for the intra-party poll, whereby anything written instead of a binary 1 or 2 option would entail the rejection of the vote.

As per the amended constitution, 2.7 million voters had to decide between PTI chairman Imran Khan and party leader Naik Mohammad Khan. No party member was allowed to choose anyone apart from the two panels — Insaf and Ehtesaab — each with 14 members.

Meanwhile, another leader of the PTI founders group and the petitioner of the foreign funding case Akbar S. Babar said Imran Khan was following in the footsteps of Robert Mugabe who was disowned by his own party for his dictatorial and despotic ways.

He said Imran Khan’s double standards stood exposed and it was time that PTI workers took the lead from Yusuf Ali and stood up for their rights.

“Imran Khan claims of making a ‘new Pakistan’ whereas lifestyle of only PTI ministers has changed,” he said.

He said almost Rs170m of the Peshawar beautification project has been wasted after the start of the rapid transit project. “Who is responsible for the wastage of taxpayers’ money?” he said, adding that Imran Khan was not prepared to be held accountable for misuse of funds worth billions of rupees and continued to challenge the jurisdiction of the ECP in the foreign funding case before the Islamabad High Court.

PTI lawyer Advocate Babar Awan had argued that the petition could not be heard by the ECP as intra-party elections could not be challenged through an election petition. “The petitioner has nothing to do with the PTI’s intra-party elections,” Mr Awan said, claiming that the elections were held in a transparent manner.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2017

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