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Friday June 21, 2024

PTI moves SC for early hearing of plea challenging PHC verdict on 'bat’

“This is an election matter and involves election symbol of a political party," Barrister Gohar says

By Maryam Nawaz
January 06, 2024
The picture shows a general view of the Supreme Courts building. —APP/File
The picture shows a general view of the Supreme Court's building. —APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday requested the Supreme Court (SC) to hear its petition against the January 3 order of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) which stripped the former ruling party of its iconic election symbol of a “bat” on an urgent basis.

On January 3, PHC revoked the stay order granted by its single-member bench, restoring the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) decision to declare PTI intra-party polls null and void and stripping it of its election symbol. The PTI, however, challenged the verdict in the top court.

In its miscellaneous plea, the PTI urged to top court to fix its petition for hearing on Monday “in the interest of justice”.

In support of his plea, PTI’s Barrister Gohar Ali Khan stated: “This is an election matter and involves election symbol of a political party."

"If interim relief is not taken up and heard, the applicant would be out of the process and all its candidates would contest under separate symbols and after all they may not be subject to floor crossing law which would lead to corruption. Moreover, the applicant will have no share out of the 227 reserved seats.”

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.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PHC, in its six-page order 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.

The party’s candidates would now, given the PHC’s January 3 order, have to contest elections “independently”, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, chief of the think tank Pildat, told Geo News.