PTI 'bat' symbol: ECP removes objections from petition against PHC verdict

Top electoral body prepares miscellaneous petition seeking immediate hearing in apex court

Maryam Nawaz
A man uses his mobile phone as he walks past the Supreme Court of Pakistan building in Islamabad, Pakistan May 13, 2023. — Reuters
A man uses his mobile phone as he walks past the Supreme Court of Pakistan building in Islamabad, Pakistan May 13, 2023. — Reuters
  • ECP files amended plea after removing objections. 
  • Amended plea filed without specific documents. 
  • Miscellaneous plea to be submitted for immediate hearing. 

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday removed objections from its petition seeking to overrule the Peshawar High Court’s verdict in favour of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) intra-party polls and revival of its iconic electoral symbol.

The Supreme Court's (SC) registrar office had earlier in the day returned the top electoral body’s appeal after raising objections.

The appeal was filed against the PHC verdict nullifying ECP's decision to declare PTI’s intra-party polls “unconstitutional” and strip the former ruling party of its their symbol ‘bat' — a sign that depicts the party's founder, Imran Khan’s former life of cricket.

However, the electoral body filed an amended plea after expunging the documents to which the objections were raised by the top court's registrar.

Additionally, the commission 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 likely 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 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 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”.