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Friday June 21, 2024

With high hopes, PTI approaches Supreme Court to reclaim 'bat' symbol

Barrister Gohar Ali Khan says SC has allotted a number to its petition

By Maryam Nawaz
January 04, 2024
Man selling keychains of PTI party symbol bat in Lahore. — Online
Man selling keychains of PTI party symbol 'bat' in Lahore. — Online

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court to reclaim its ‘bat’ electoral symbol as a last resort ahead of general elections.

The Imran Khan-led party approached the top court a day after the Peshawar High Court (PHC) lifted its stay order and restored the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision declaring PTI intra-party polls null and void and stripping it of its election symbol.

Erstwhile PTI chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, while talking to journalists outside the apex court, claimed that a number has been allotted to its petition and they prayed the court to hear the plea within a day or two.

He warned that ‘horse trading’ would be rife if PTI is not allotted the electoral symbol as reserved seats are allotted to parties with a major chunk of the seats.

In its petition, the PTI said: “...the ECP has no jurisdiction to challenge the internal appointments of officials of PTI or set aside PTI’s intra-party election and declare them void.”

“As such the order passed by ECP on is not sustainable in law. ECP is not a court of law and cannot question the appointments made by any political party or examine the validity of a political party’s IPE or set them aside for any reasons. No such jurisdiction has been given to the ECP,” it added.

The electoral symbol is crucial to any political party as voters are aware of which candidate to vote for on the polling day; however, if PTI does not have a unified symbol, it might lose votes due to confusion among the people.

If the top court does not restore the PTI’s electoral symbol, it will have to play the election innings without the bat, with its leaders calling it a “major setback” to the party as it has been contested on the sign in several polls.

In its six-page order, the PHC noted that its earlier verdict had “prima facie created hindrance in the smooth process of the election which Is to be conducted by the ECP”.

“...the interim order of this court passed in favour of the PTI is hereby recalled and consequently the Election Commission of Pakistan is directed to proceed with the election process as per its constitutional mandate.”

The electoral body had filed a review petition at the high court against the PHC's December 26 decision, which had suspended the ECP's order and restored the party's 'bat' symbol till a final decision on the matter.

The ECP, in its order on December 22, had declared PTI's intra-party polls "illegal" and stripped it of using the 'bat' symbol.