- Imran Khan to lead the nation from jail if not released: PTI.
- Party to nominate contestants from “all constituencies”.
- “Coercion, fascism will not deter from contesting the polls.”
The former ruling party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Monday announced that it would contest the upcoming general elections from “all constituencies” at both provincial and national levels.
The PTI announcement comes after the party’s core committee meeting which said that it would nominate candidates from every constituency from all across the country.
Last week, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), pursuant to the directions of the Supreme Court, had announced that general elections would be held on February 8, 2024 — ending months of ambiguity surrounding the poll date.
The top electoral body announced the election date after consulting with President Arif Alvi on the apex court’s CJP Isa-led three-member bench’s directions given while hearing multiple pleas seeking timely elections within 90 days.
The Imran Khan-led party, in its statement, reiterated its vigour and determination to take part in electoral politics adding “coercion and fascism will not deter [PTI] from contesting the elections”.
Addressing former prime minister and party chairman Imran Khan’s incarceration, the statement said: “The PTI chairman will lead the nation after being released [from Adiala jail]”.
“If the chairman is kept incarcerated, [then] he will lead the nation from the jail,” it added.
The PTI chief along with the party’s Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi are currently imprisoned in Adiala jail in the cipher case.
The ousted premier — who was removed from power via a parliamentary vote — last week moved the top court seeking bail in the cipher case after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected his pleas seeking bail, halt proceedings and the cancellation of the first information report (FIR).
The duo was indicted in the cipher case on October 23 — despite filing a petition under CrPC 265-D to stop the indictment — after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) booked them for violating the secret law by misusing and misplacing the diplomatic cable based on conversations between Pakistan’s envoy to Washington and the US diplomat.
last week, the party faced another major setback after former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser was apprehended in a graft case and sent to Adiala jail to be kept in the same facility as that of Khan and Qureshi.
The PTI huddle also approved the issuance of a ‘White Paper” to highlight the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and the caretaker government’s decisions leading to a dire economic situation in the country.
“The nation and the world [at large] will not accept electoral interference and rigging,” the party’s statement said while stressing the issue of level playing field.
The PTI is not the only political party that has complained of the absence of equal opportunities as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has been vocal about there not being a level playing field.
Both parties have alleged preferential treatment being given to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The PTI’s announcement to contest elections comes as political parties are gearing up to go into “election mode” as the date for the poll draws near.
Earlier in the day, three-time former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif — who returned from his self-imposed four-year exile last month — while chairing a meeting in Lahore directed the party leaders to begin their preparations for the elections.