The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s core committee on Monday announced the party will contest the upcoming general elections from “all constituencies” at both provincial and national levels.
Last week, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced it would conduct general elections nationwide on Feb. 8, 2024, resolving demands from multiple parties for a definitive date for polls following the August dissolution of the National Assembly.
In a statement issued after the core committee meeting, the PTI paid tribute to party chief Imran Khan, maintaining he would continue his fight for “real independence.” Without naming anyone, the party lamented that “some individuals,” owing to their “theft, personal interests and pathetic politics,” had trampled their politics by seeking compromises from the state, apologizing, and returning under the umbrella of NROs.
“No amount of state tyranny,” it continued, “will prevent the PTI from contesting elections with an agenda of supremacy of the Constitution; restoration of democracy; rule of law; and the prosperity of the nation.” It said the decision to contest elections from all constituencies was as per the instructions of Khan, adding the former prime minister would personally lead the campaign after being released from Adiala Jail. If he remains incarcerated, however, it added, then he would “lead the nation” from jail.
Khan is currently detained at Adiala Jail as an under-trial prisoner in the cipher case, which accuses him of disclosing classified information and hurting Pakistan’s national interest. If convicted, he faces imprisonment of up to 14 years, as well as the death penalty. The PTI chief has filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking approval of his bail in the case, as well as the suspension of proceedings in the ongoing jail trial.
In its statement, the core committee strongly condemned the ongoing crackdown against PTI leaders and workers, lamenting the “fascist measures” being employed against the party ahead of polls. It claimed that the “worst state interference, uneven electoral field and rigged elections” would be unacceptable to the nation and the rest of the world. Attempts to force the PTI out of the election race and deny it a level-playing field, it alleged, had become apparent after the announcement of the election date.
The statement called on the ECP to ensure there was no electoral rigging and urged the Supreme Court to also take notice of the alleged use of state machinery to manipulate the polls. The committee also announced that it had approved the issuance of a white paper on the “destruction of the economy” by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led and caretaker governments.