In last-ditch bid, PTI moves Supreme Court to reclaim 'bat' symbol

"ECP has no jurisdiction to challenge internal appointments of officials of PTI or set aside PTI’s intra-party election"

By
Maryam Nawaz
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

  • PTI says ECP has no jurisdiction to set aside party's intra-party polls.
  • Party urges Supreme Court to hold hearing on plea at the earliest.
  • PTI to suffer huge blow if apex court does not restore its symbol.


ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Thursday moved the Supreme Court in its last-ditch effort to reclaim its iconic ‘bat’ electoral symbol ahead of the February 8 polls.

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.

The PTI decided to move the apex court a day after the Peshawar High Court (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.

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.

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.

Talking to reporters outside the apex court, PTI’s former chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan said the SC has allotted a number to its petition. “We request the court to hear the plea at the earliest, if not today, then tomorrow.”

Gohar feared that sans PTI’s electoral symbol, “horse trading” would be rife as reserved seats are allotted to parties with a major chunk of the seats. “The Supreme Court should play its role in removing hurdles in the way of the elections.”

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.