Home Latest News Akbar S. Babar Moves ECP against PTI’s Intra-Party Polls

Akbar S. Babar Moves ECP against PTI’s Intra-Party Polls

Party founding member claims PTI elections were rigged, adding he wants to ‘save’ the electoral symbol of a ‘bat’

by Staff Report

File photo of petitioner Akbar. S. Babar. Twitter

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founding member Akbar S. Babar on Tuesday challenged at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the party’s intra-party polls, conducted last week, alleging they were “rigged/fraudulent.”

In the plea, Babar and other party members and former office-holders urged the electoral body to order the party to conduct fresh polls in accordance with stipulated procedure. “I pray that the Election Commission of Pakistan declare the PTI Intra Party Election purportedly held on Dec. 2, 2023, as ‘null and void’ and without any legal effect and the ‘party’ be directed to hold fresh intra-party elections as soon as possible,” read the petition. It further sought the appointment of independent third-party monitors to review the fresh intra-party elections, claiming the PTI had previously also failed to conduct transparent intra-party polls, as partially documented in the ECP’s order of Nov. 3, 2023.

The petition requested that the party’s electoral symbol of the “bat” be held in abeyance until the PTI conducted fresh, transparent intra-party polls according to law.

According to the petition, the Election Act, 2017 and the Rules provide the legal framework to ensure that the leadership of political parties is democratically elected and represents the will of its members. “It is time that the charade of holding rigged and manipulated intra-party elections must end. All major political parties must be vigorously scrutinized under the relevant laws to allow credible and competent leadership to emerge from within political parties,” it said, adding this was the only way forward for democracy to deliver and meet the challenges confronting society.

Addressing media outside the ECP after submitting his petition, Babar said other members of the PTI—former office-bearers Yousuf Ali and Noreen Farooq—has also filed separate applications against intra-party polls. “We want to save the symbol of bat,” he claimed, adding he was the one to file an application for its allocation in 2002.

Rebuffing PTI’s claims that he was not a registered member of the party, he said he had also submitted a court decision with the application that restored his party membership. “I am the only party member who secured favorable verdicts from different judicial forums,” he maintained, as he maintained that incumbent PTI Chairman Gohar Khan had been made chief despite having nothing to do with the party.

Babar had voiced his refusal to accept the results of the Dec. 2 intra-party polls last week, maintaining it was full of irregularities, including no voters lists or nomination forms for interest applicants. During the polls, all contesting candidates had won unopposed, including Gohar, who was Imran Khan’s handpicked candidate to replace him while he remains disqualified in the Toshakhana case.

A day earlier, the PTI had submitted the results of the polls to the ECP in light of the electoral body’s order to do so or risk losing its electoral symbol.

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