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Intra-party elections within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have taken an unexpected turn as senior leader Sher Afzal Marwat claimed that party chairman Imran Khan has decided not to contest, citing legal restrictions and potential disqualification in the Toshakhana case. The announcement, made during a media talk outside Adiala Jail, has stirred speculation about the future of Imran Khan’s leadership within the party.
Marwat asserted that Khan’s decision was made through consensus and would be reconsidered once the disqualification concerns were resolved. However, the PTI, without directly naming Marwat, refuted the claim, emphasizing that discussions on crucial matters, including intra-party elections, were ongoing, and no decision had been made to withdraw Khan or nominate another leader.
The senior vice president stood by his statement, labeling the party’s denial as a “paradox” and urged the media to verify his assertions with witnesses present during the decision-making process. Marwat further asserted on social media that no member of the Khan family would participate in the intra-party elections.
Amidst the controversy, PTI leader Shoaib Shaheen condemned the developments as an attempt to create disarray within the party. He pointed to the ongoing Toshakhana case and the potential for Imran Khan’s disqualification, emphasizing the need for a coherent plan based on the court’s decision, expected within 20 days.
Sources close to the matter revealed three potential contenders for the PTI chairmanship: Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, former federal minister Murad Saeed, and Bushra Bibi, Imran Khan’s wife. The sources also mentioned former National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser as a possible candidate. However, the prevailing sentiment is that Imran Khan’s preference will heavily influence the selection.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi emerges as a strong candidate due to his position as vice chairman, but some sources suggest that Imran Khan may have reservations about him. Murad Saeed, a favored individual, currently remains underground, potentially affecting his candidacy. Despite Imran Khan’s trust in Bushra Bibi, hereditary politics could pose a challenge, given Khan’s previous stance against it.
As the PTI navigates through these uncertainties, the party has a few days to make critical decisions regarding its leadership, intra-party elections, and potential nominees. The unfolding developments are closely watched as the party seeks to maintain stability amid internal challenges