December 21, 2023
ISLAMABAD – The PTI on Wednesday said former prime minister Imran Khan, who is incarcerated at Adiala Jail, would contest the upcoming general elections from three constituencies.
On August 5, a trial court in Islamabad had convicted Imran in a case filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that involved concealing details of state gifts and jailed him for three years.
The verdict meant he was disqualified from contesting general elections for five years. However, the same month the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had suspended Imran’s three-year sentence but he still remains in jail in other cases.
Earlier this month, the Islamabad High Court had reserved its verdict on Imran’s petition seeking the suspension of his conviction in the Toshakhana gifts case.
In a media talk outside Adiala Jail today, Barrister Ali Zafar said: “Imran Khan sahib wants to inform that he will be contesting elections from at least three constituencies of Pakistan.”
He said the IHC was set to release its verdict on Imran’s petition challenging conviction in the Toshakhana case. “We hope that the judgment will soon be announced because the [election] schedule has been released,” the lawyer said, hoping that the verdict would be in the PTI’s favour.
Barrister Zafar said all the PTI workers had been given directions to file their nomination papers as the country had entered into the election mode.
“As long as the PTI candidates are concerned, our workers in jail, who have rendered sacrifices for the party in this difficult time, would be 100 per cent allotted tickets on a priority basis,” he said.
“The rest of the candidates have also been finalised and their names will be announced soon,” Barrister Zafar stated.
He also said that stopping party workers from filing nomination papers was an “undemocratic exercise” and would jeopardise free and fair elections. “We request the ECP to take action on this,” the lawyer added.
Meanwhile, PTI Chairman Gohar Khan said the party wanted elections to be held on February 8 at any cost. He highlighted that his party had time and again stressed the need for a level playing field for all political parties.
“Today, we were very upset at what Shah [Mehmood Qureshi] sahib told us,” he noted, claiming that the PTI vice chairman’s nomination papers had been “snatched” from Qureshi’s secretary.
“Snatching nomination papers from people on the street would make these elections a shame,” he said.
Barrister Gohar added that Imran would be provided with his nomination papers tomorrow, vowing that “Khan sahib will contest these polls, God willing”.
“Khan sahib has asked all the party workers to file their nomination papers,” the PTI chairman said, adding that the decision to allot party tickets would still be taken by Imran. He further revealed that the PTI founding member would contest elections from Lahore, Mianwali and Islamabad.
Barrister Gohar said he too would participate in the upcoming polls from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Buner.
Meanwhile, PTI leader Latif Khosa also complained about issues pertaining to the submission of nomination papers and said the party was filing writ petitions in all high courts in this regard.
He said the party would aim to obtain executive orders from the courts so that no candidate would encounter any obstacles in submitting their nomination papers.
Khosa hit out at the PTI’s opponents, saying that they were still afraid of entering the electoral battlefield against the party.
“The time for banning any party has passed and finished. Banning does not come under the executive’s domain,” he said. Khosa added that the PTI chief himself had ordered him to contest the elections despite the lawyer’s reluctance to do so.
He added he would submit his own nomination papers from Lahore in a few days.