Gohar Ali Khan has been elected as the new chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party, replacing former Prime Minister Imran Khan. This change was necessary to allow the party to participate in the national election scheduled for February 8. Imran Khan, who is currently in jail facing numerous legal cases, nominated Gohar Ali Khan to be the new chairman of the PTI.
The party’s chief election commissioner, Niazullah Niazi, announced that Gohar Ali Khan was elected unopposed. This change was prompted by a warning from the Election Commission of Pakistan, which stated that the PTI risked losing its emblem – a cricket bat – unless an internal ballot was held for party officers.
Gohar Ali Khan assured party supporters that he would remain a loyal representative of Imran Khan and that he would step down once Imran Khan’s conviction is overturned. Another of Khan’s lawyers, barrister Ali Zafar, described the selection of Gohar Ali Khan as a temporary “babysitting” arrangement for the party.
Imran Khan has been facing political and legal battles since he was removed as prime minister in April 2022. He has been jailed for unlawfully selling state gifts while in office from 2018 to 2022, and he remains in jail for another trial in an official secrets case along with his party’s vice chairman, Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Imran Khan has denied all the charges against him, as has Qureshi, a former foreign minister.
Imran Khan has claimed that his removal was part of a campaign against him by then-Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the United States, and the Pakistani military – a claim all three deny. Despite these challenges, the PTI is preparing to participate in the upcoming national election under the leadership of Gohar Ali Khan.
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