In a dramatic turn of events within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), founding member and dissenter Akbar S. Babar has raised concerns over the nomination of Barrister Gohar Ali Khan for the party chairman’s position.

Accusing the move of being more of a “selection than an election,” Babar, who previously filed the foreign funding case against the PTI, expressed doubts about the transparency and credibility of the intra-party election process.

He said, “This must be a first that elections for the party’s central leadership have been announced without its electoral college in place as the electoral college of PTI’s central leadership is an elected provincial leadership which does not exist.”

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According to Babar, the prolonged intra-party election process, initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic with a one-year extension granted by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), has failed to live up to the party’s commitment to transparent and fair elections.

Babar proposed that the Commission should appoint ‘obervers’ to monitor the PTI intra-party elections as it is already discussing the matter.

Babar, who served as the party’s central information secretary and vice-president in the past, claimed that it appears that the PTI has learnt hardly any lesson from its past history of holding rigged intra-party elections.

The decision to nominate Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, described as a ‘newcomer,’ has sparked internal discord within the party.

Some party leaders drew parallels between this nomination and the controversial appointment of Usman Buzdar as the Punjab chief minister, a move that faced criticism for its perceived lack of merit.

The selection of Barrister Gohar Ali Khan over other loyalists within the party, such as Ali Muhammad Khan, Senator Humayun Mohmand, and Advocate Hamid Khan, has raised eyebrows among insiders.

One party leader, speaking anonymously to Dawn, voiced apprehensions about Khan’s association with PPP leader Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, considering it an unwise move given the sensitive nature of the party chairman position.

“Unfortunately, Imran Khan has again done an experiment, just like Usman Buzdar, who left him when his difficult time started. The position of the party chairman is very sensitive and it could be used against the party,” he feared.