Imran Khan’s PTI Faces Crisis as Nomination Papers Rejected

The PTI also lost its electoral symbol ‘bat’ leaving the party’s nominated candidates with no other option but to contest as independent candidates…reports Asian Lite News

Future of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which emerged as a major political party in the country in the 2013 general polls, is in the doldrums as nomination papers of several party leaders, including founder Imran Khan, have been rejected by the Election Commission of Pakistan over corruption charges.

Though Khan, former prime minister, is languishing in jail on charges of corruption and misplacement of secret document for 14 years and 10 years respectively, he enjoys love and support of many.

The PTI also lost its electoral symbol ‘bat’ leaving the party’s nominated candidates with no other option but to contest as independent candidates.

With PTI and its leader Imran Khan out of the picture, many believe that the tone for the polls has already been set as the country heads towards another process of “selection” rather than “election”.

It is believed that the May 9, 2023 riots, triggered after the arrest of Khan in Islamabad, which saw angry party supporters storming military installations across the country, became the prime reason for the downfall of PTI and its leadership.

“The military establishment under COAS (Chief of Army Staff) General Syed Asim Munir seems to have decided to dismantle and destroy PTI as part of their punishment for attacking military installations on 9th May,” said senior political analyst Javed Siddique.

“We see an open, blatant and targeted dismantling of PTI, its workers, its leaders and its founder as anyone and everyone who tries to even come out of their home with a PTI flag are taken into custody. The party is not allowed to hold even a corner meeting for political campaigning. Its candidates are now contesting polls under multiple election symbols in independent capacity. It is almost clear to all now that PTI has been kept out of these elections deliberately,” he added.

A different version of analysis on PTI still remains that while it may not be contesting the upcoming elections, the party itself may be a major asset for the military establishment after the formation of the new elected government.

“PTI and Khan have proven many interesting facts about themselves. There are a set of people who follow Khan more than the party’s policy. They have also proven that they are not equipped or competent to run a national government. But they have also proven that they can send shockwaves in any government through protests, street power shows, resistance campaigns and long marches, which in the past have proven to be very effective and have kept ruling governments on their toes,” said political analyst Ayub Khan.

“So I think that PTI may not have any say in the upcoming polls, but it certainly is a major tool for the military establishment or even for itself to cause serious damage to any ruling governments. And that is what I think now, will keep the presence of PTI alive in the future,” he added.

“It is an open secret in Pakistan that the former PTI chief’s followers and supporters have been silenced but are still intact. The ongoing targeted cleansing operation against the party, its leaders and supporters may have yielded results for the polls, but it certainly cannot be sustained for long,” he said.

Many people are of the view that soon after the general elections, the former prime minister will be out and emerge more stronger. He will challenge the ruling government through big rallies and anti-government long marches, a tool that the country’s powerful military establishment would always want to keep in its backup plan.

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