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Monday June 17, 2024

ECP files amended plea in top court to challenge PHC verdict reviving PTI ‘bat’ symbol

Top electoral body prepares miscellaneous petition seeking immediate hearing in Supreme Court

By Maryam Nawaz
January 11, 2024
View of the Supreme Court building. — APP
View of the Supreme Court building. — APP

ISLAMABAD: After the Supreme Court’s registrar office raised objections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Thursday filed an amended plea seeking nullification of the Peshawar High Court’s verdict which approved the legality of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) intra-party polls and revived its iconic “bat” symbol.

Earlier in the day, the top electoral body filed a petition against the high court’s judgment, however, the top court’s registrar returned it after raising objections.

Later, an amended plea was submitted again after expunging the documents to which the objections were raised.

Additionally, the country's top poll organising authority prepared a miscellaneous petition to be submitted to the apex court for the immediate hearing of the amended plea, Geo News reported citing sources.

The miscellaneous plea is expected to be filed by the ECP after the allotment of case number by the top court.

Minutes before the plea was filed in the apex court, the Imran-led party filed a contempt of court petition against the ECP over its failure to comply with the court order to revive its ‘bat’ electoral symbol ahead of the February 8 general elections.

The former ruling party which rose to power after the 2018 general polls contended that the election commission committed “contempt of court” by failing to upload the certificate regarding PTI’s intra-party elections on its website despite getting PHC directives.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja, ECP members and secretary were made respondents in the case.

A day earlier, a two-member bench of the PHC comprising Justice Ejaz Anwar and Justice Syed Arshad Ali announced a short order on a petition jointly filed by PTI leader Gohar Ali Khan and six other party leaders, pleading with the court to declare the ECP order “null and void”.

The order read the top electoral body’s ruling given on December 22, 2023, was “illegal, without any lawful authority and of no legal effect,” besides directing publication of the party’s certificate on the website.

After the verdict, the commission held a brief consultative meeting on the situation arising out of the restoration of the symbol of ‘bat’ for the PTI.

It is pertinent that time constraint is a real challenge, as the Returning Officers (ROs) are to allocate poll symbols to the contesting candidates on January 13, who were sent the list of symbols on Tuesday and the list did not contain over a dozen symbols, including “bat”.