- PTI chief says Justice Wajih wanted immediate dissolution of all elected party officials which was not possible as PTI could not function in ‘vacuum’
- Khan accepts MQM’s mandate in NA-246 by-polls, says ‘MQM contested elections in real sense for the first time’
- Says PTI will present evidence of rigging in 74 constituencies before judicial commission
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday said he has accepted a poll-rigging commission’s findings of “irregularities” in PTI’s intra-party election, and that there should be no doubts that fresh intra-party polls will be conducted.
“The only difference of opinion we have with honourable Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed is on the appointment of a caretaker setup. Justice Wajihuddin has recommended that a caretaker setup be installed immediately after dissolution of all elected officials, but we maintain that till our party’s election commission comes up with a new schedule for polls, we cannot run under an interim setup,” Khan told a press conference. He added that until preparations for conducting an intra-party elections are complete, PTI cannot function in a “vacuum”.
A two-member election tribunal headed by Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed had on March 18, issued a detailed judgment recommending fresh intra-party polls due to serious irregularities in the election process earlier and called for the dissolution of all party offices at the organisational level.
Although the PTI claims the election tribunal had done its job and stood dissolved after completing its investigation and making recommendations, Justice Wajihuddin, in a surprising move, summoned Imran Khan on April 21 to explain why he had not complied with the tribunal’s earlier orders.
In his order, Wajihuddin had expressed concern over the PTI chairman’s decision to allow former office-bearers – some of whom have been accused of committing irregularities in the intra-party elections – to continue as caretakers until fresh elections are held.
While Khan did not appear before his own party’s election tribunal on April 21, he issued an official notification to dissolve the tribunal a few days later — on April 25.
The notification signed by the PTI chief said the tribunal formed by the party in 2013 to investigate “irregularities” in the intra-party elections stands dissolved “with effect from March 22”.
But in clear defiance of party orders, the election tribunal decided to continue holding meetings.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Imran Khan clarified that he could not appear before the tribunal because he could not go to Karachi at a time when the judicial commission, investigating the 2013 general election, was holding important hearings.
“I proposed a video conference with Justice Wajihuddin but he did not agree to that,” said Khan.
Khan also condemned the killing of Karachi University Assistant Professor Wahidur Rahman and rights activist Sabeen Mahmud.
He said an impartial operation to root out violent elements in Karachi was the need of the hour, adding that all political parties had unanimously agreed to that after the Peshawar school tragedy in December last year.
PTI ACCEPTS MQM’S MANDATE:
Khan conceded his party’s defeat in the NA-246 by-polls and said they accepted the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) mandate.
“We have no objection but our candidate was not allowed canvassing…the MQM had been terrorising the people,” Khan claimed, adding that it was for the first time that “MQM contested the elections in real sense”.
Khan said there was a sense of fear among the people Karachi because of the continuing targeted killings in the city. He claimed that because of the volatile nature of law and order situation in the city, businessmen were left with no option but to relocate their businesses to countries such as Bangladesh and Dubai.
The PTI chairman also strongly rejected claims that the party had no evidence of rigging conducted in the 2013 general elections.
“We have about 126,000 documents, which will be presented,” he said. “We will present evidence of rigging in 74 constituencies before the commission.”
When asked for comments over PTI’s performance in cantonment elections, the PTI chief said the results would provide his party an opportunity to examine whether the selection of candidates was correct and what mistakes did the party need to rectify ahead of the forthcoming local government polls.
Responding to a question about the Pak-China Economic Corridor, Khan said that “it is a golden opportunity for Pakistan to uplift its backward areas”.
Talking about controversy surrounding the route, he said the shortest possible route passed through Dera Ismail Khan. He warned that if the route was changed, “it would enhance a sense of deprivation among the people of K-P and Balochistan”.
When questioned about the Pakistan cricket, and affairs in Pakistan Cricket Board, Khan said a person who had cricket and knowledge of cricket could fix matters, but not Najam Sethi.