Jailed former prime minister Imran Khan will not contest the intra-party polls and has instead nominated Barrister Gohar Khan for the post of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman to lead the party in the upcoming general elections, a top leader said on Wednesday.
Barrister Ali Zafar announced that Chairman Imran Khan would not be contesting intra-party polls scheduled for December 2 and Barrister Gohar Khan had been nominated for the slot of party chairman, Dawn newspaper reported.
His statement comes a day after confusion erupted within Imran Khan’s party after it dismissed a statement by one of its own senior leaders, who claimed that the jailed leader would not contest for the chairman’s post in the upcoming intra-party polls.
“Imran Khan was, is and will continue to be the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf… I will carry out my responsibility till Khan returns,” Gohar Khan said.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is set to conduct intra-party elections within the 20-day time frame set by the election commission to retain the ‘bat’ as its electoral symbol, ahead of general elections scheduled to be held on February 8.
Barrister Gohar Khan will be the candidate for PTI’s chairmanship, Senior Vice-President Sher Afzal Marwat said on Tuesday, hours after Khan, 71, reportedly decided against retaining the top post due to legal hurdles as the party heads towards internal polls, Geo News reported.
Khan remains behind bars in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail and is entangled in several legal battles.
His party, in an earlier statement on X, strongly rebutted the “speculation” over the election of a new party chairman.
The party’s Core Committee on Monday gave formal approval to hold the intra-party polls within the time frame of 20 days given by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). If the party does not follow the orders, it will lose its bat symbol.
Khan, being a former iconic international cricketer, is considered synonymous with the (cricket) bat.
This will be a huge development for the party as the country moves towards general elections, set to take place in February.