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Wednesday May 29, 2024

Feb 8 polls: PTI begins election campaign in Karachi sans ‘bat’

Central leader Sher Afzal Marwat leads gathering of PTI supporters at Sea View

By Syed Daniyal Hussain
January 14, 2024

KARACHI: With just a few weeks left in the general elections 2024, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) finally launched its electoral campaign with a rally at Karachi's Sea View beach on Sunday, as the party leadership expressed the resolve to contest the polls despite losing its 'iconic' election symbol.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) earlier in the day allotted different symbols to the Imran Khan-founded party's candidates, who will now be participating in the electoral process without the symbol of 'bat', which was taken away in the latest Supreme Court verdict.

In Karachi, PTI's central leader Sher Afzal Marwat led the party's first election rally this evening with a large number of participants in attendance, Geo News reported.

PTI Karachi leader Khurram Sher Zaman was also present on the occasion.

The gathering was announced by PTI leader Raja Azhar, who said that the party would begin its campaign from Sea View, which is a famous picnic point for Karachi's citizens.

However, he complained that the police had placed barricades on the ways leading to the venue.

Later, the traffic police issued a clarification that the main track along the Sea View beach was temporarily blocked due to the political rally, but was restored soon after.

They said that there was no barricade on the roads towards the spot anymore.

Addressing the rally, Marwat said that the citizens of Karachi have come out in support of PTI but those who invited him to the city did not attend the gathering.

He said that the ticketing in Sindh was not transparent in Sindh and he condemns that. The ticket holders who were not present there were not loyal to the party, he added.

"Victory is not possible if the people of Karachi don't support [PTI]," Marwat said.

The PTI took a major blow as the top court annulled the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) January 10 order, which had provided a relief to the party by restoring 'bat' as its electoral symbol, which represented the party supremo's life as a cricketer.

The ECP had assailed the high court's decision nullifying the commission’s order that barred the former ruling party from keeping its electoral symbol for the upcoming polls due to irregularities in their internal polls.

After a day-long hearing, the apex court set aside the PHC's ruling and upheld the December 22 decision of the electoral body.

Following their failure in the highest court, PTI announced to contest the elections independently, since it no longer has a unified symbol.

“All PTI candidates will contest independently. We will issue a list of all our candidates with their election symbols,” PTI’s now-former chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan told journalists at the Supreme Court in Islamabad.

In his presser, Gohar noted that the top court’s order issued today was “controversial” and it had “deeply disappointed” him. He added that his party would challenge the Supreme Court's verdict.

On an electoral map, the leaders of the Imran-led party appear haphazardly strewn, as an electoral symbol is crucial to any political party as voters are aware of which candidate to vote for on polling day, so the PTI might lose votes due to confusion among the people.

Some of the main PTI leaders who will contest elections on different symbols from Lahore are Yasmin Rashid from NA-130 with the symbol ‘laptop’, Salman Akram Raja on NA-128 with ‘racquet’, Latif Khosa has been given the English letter ‘K’ for NA-122 and Mian Azhar given ‘wicket’ for NA-129, according to Geo News.