The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided to withdraw the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) electoral symbol, the “bat,” after the Peshawar High Court (PHC) reversed its earlier decision on Wednesday. This decision is the result of the election watchdog identifying disparities in the intra-party elections.

The PTI had challenged the ECP’s decision, leading to a temporary restoration of their electoral symbol on December 26 by a single-member bench of the high court. However, the ECP filed an intra-court appeal against this decision, seeking a review of the interim order.

COURT’S RULING

The court, in its ruling, stated, “the Election Commission of Pakistan is directed to proceed with the election process as per its constitutional mandate,” ensuring a free, fair, and transparent election. The court scheduled a hearing for January 9 to address the petitioner’s grievances.

Justice Kamran Hayat Miankhel temporarily suspended the ECP’s decision on December 26, allowing the PTI to keep using its “bat” symbol until January 9.

PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan and six other leaders notably appealed the ECP’s December 22 ruling, citing jurisdictional objections among other grounds.

On December 26, Justice Kamran Hayat Miankhel temporarily overturned the ECP’s ruling, allowing the PTI to keep using its “bat” symbol through January 9. Reiterating that the commission was not inconvenienced by the interim order, PTI’s attorneys argued during the review plea arguments that the ECP’s plea was unmaintainable.

In contrast, they argued that in the case that the order was recalled, PTI would suffer irreversible losses.

ARGUMENTS

In response, ECP lawyer Sikander Bashir Mohmand claimed that the high court’s interim ruling was impeding the commission’s work on a number of issues related to symbol allotment and intra-party polls.

He emphasised that there were no legal issues with the commission’s decision from December 22 and that the commission was still able to issue judicial orders.

Counsel Naveed Akhter informed the court that his client, the vice president of the PTI’s Charsadda chapter, had challenged intra-party polls with the ECP on behalf of Jehangir Khan, one of the respondents. But the following day, he claimed, the party had cancelled his membership.

 

 

 

 

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