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Imran Khan’s PTI elects new head under Election Commission directives

Gohar Khan (C), leading lawyer of the legal team of imprisoned Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan, was elected as the new chairperson of PTI on Saturday  (AFP via Getty Images)
Gohar Khan (C), leading lawyer of the legal team of imprisoned Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan, was elected as the new chairperson of PTI on Saturday (AFP via Getty Images)

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf — former Pakistan prime minister, Imran Khan’s party — chose a new leader on Saturday on the directives of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Gohar Khan was elected unopposed as the new chairperson of the party, PTI officials confirmed on Saturday.

Mr Gohar was nominated by former PTI chief Imran Khan — who had been in charge of the party since its inception in 1996 — just a few days ago.

After he was elected PTI chairperson in Peshawar, Mr Khan expressed his commitment to carrying out this role as a representative of Imran Khan.

The former PTI chief is currently in jail.

“We have to take the country forward,” the new chairperson said on Saturday. “When elections take place, we will defeat everyone.”

Gohar Khan is a senior Supreme Court lawyer and was one of the lawyers working for the former prime minister who has had nearly 200 cases slapped against him.

“I will step down once the conviction of Imran Khan is overturned,” the new party chief said.

Last month, the Election Commission of Pakistan granted the PTI a 20-day timeframe to select a new leader. This came after the nullification of the party’s election from the previous year, during which Imran Khan was reinstated as the head.

A senior PTI leader, Omar Ayub Khan, said that the former premier set a precedent by nominating a party member as his successor rather than a relative, a common practice in Pakistan’s political circles.

“He set an impossibly high bar,” he wrote on X/Twitter.

Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician in the country, faced a conviction in August for the illicit sale of state gifts, rendering him ineligible to participate in his party’s election.

Following a parliamentary no-confidence vote in 2022, Mr Khan was ousted and subsequently embroiled in legal disputes, grappling with charges including corruption and the disclosure of state secrets.

Throughout this ordeal, Mr Khan consistently refuted all accusations, framing his removal as a part of a concerted campaign against him orchestrated by then-prime minister Shahbaz Sharif, the United States, and the Pakistani military.

Additional reporting with agencies