Imran Khan’s Party Vows to Participate in Feb 8 Elections Despite ‘Bat’ Symbol Defeat

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The besieged leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, Barrister Gohar Khan, stated on Monday that despite being compelled to participate in the February 8 election without their cricket bat symbol, the party would not boycott the event.

Mr Gohar’s announcement followed the recent removal of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party’s iconic electoral symbol, the cricket bat, leaving them no choice but to field their candidates as independents.

“We will not boycott the elections and will fully participate,” Mr Gohar stated, adding that the party would release a list of supported candidates and their respective symbols within three days.

A three-member panel of the Supreme Court confirmed the Election Commission of Pakistan’s ruling from December 22, which declared the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s intra-party elections as “unconstitutional” and revoked their electoral symbol.

While speaking to the media outside Adiala Jail, Mr Gohar criticized the court’s decision, claiming that it infringed upon the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan and constituted a “conspiracy against democracy.”

He also mentioned that the party intended to file a review petition against the judgment, arguing that a five-member bench should have heard the case due to its relevance to Article 17 of the Constitution.

When asked about his communication with Imran Khan, the founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party who is currently confined in Adiala Jail, Mr Gohar relayed Mr Khan’s message to all party supporters: “Ghabrana nahi hay [don’t worry], remain steadfast and peaceful. Protect your vote and exercise your right on February 8.” Additionally, the PTI withdrew its plea for contempt proceedings against the Election Commission of Pakistan. The plea, filed on December 26 and being heard by a three-member bench, accused the commission of failing to implement the top court’s orders for a fair playing field in the upcoming general elections.