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Friday June 21, 2024

PTI moves Supreme Court to seek review of bat symbol verdict

"Election Commission not empowered to review intra-party elections," says PTI in petition

By Maryam Nawaz
February 06, 2024
Supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan hold a giant cricket bat with the colours and initials of the party in Multan on July 20, 2018. — AFP
Supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan hold a giant cricket bat with the colours and initials of the party in Multan on July 20, 2018. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking review of the top court's verdict on the party's intra-party polls and electoral symbol ahead of polls on February 8.

In a review petition filed today, the party — whose founder Imran Khan remains behind bars in multiple cases — has requested the apex court to review its January 13 decision wherein the top court upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan's verdict declaring PTI's intra-party polls "unconstitutional," depriving the party of its iconic electoral symbol. 

The plea by PTI requested the SC to review its verdict and restore the decision of the Peshawar High Court, which termed the ECP's decision "invalid" on January 10.

The PHC decision was announced following the hearing of PTI's petition challenging the ECP's decision declaring the intra-party election as null and void and revoking their electoral symbol "bat".

PTI's petition also stated that its intra-party elections held in December were conducted as per the party's constitution.

"Election Commission not empowered to review intra-party elections," PTI pleads in its petition to SC.

Last month, a three-member SC bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarrat Hilali — annulled PHC's January 10 order, depriving the former ruling party of its 'iconic' electoral symbol — bat.

The five-page verdict stated that the apex court judges "do not agree with the learned judges [of the PHC] that the ECP did not have 'any jurisdiction to question or adjudicate the intra-party elections of a political party".

It stated that accepting any such interpretation would render all provisions in the Election Act, 2017, that require the holding of intra-party elections "illusory and of no consequence and be redundant".

The verdict stated that since the ECP had been calling upon PTI to hold its intra-party elections since 24 May 2021, the time when the party was in power, "it cannot be stated that ECP was victimising PTI".

In its reasoning for today’s verdict, the top court stated that the PTI’s petition filed in the PHC was “not maintainable” as it failed to disclose that another similar petition was pending before the five-member bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The apex court underscored that although a petitioner “may elect to avail of his remedy before either court, but having chosen a particular court the same dispute cannot then be taken to the other court”.