PTI pleads before SC to review 'bat' symbol, intra-party verdicts

Maryam Nawaz
Man selling keychains of PTI party symbol bat in Lahore. — Online/File
Man selling keychains of PTI party symbol 'bat' in Lahore. — Online/File

  • SC annulled PHC's on Jan 10 order, withdrew bat symbol.
  • PHC termed ECP's decision "invalid", favouring party.
  • PTI says ECP not empowered to review intra-party polls.

ISLAMABAD: With just two days left for Pakistan's 10th general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is yet again trying to reclaim its electoral symbol 'bat', as it has filed a plea with the Supreme Court to review the verdict ordering its withdrawal.

The party has also moved the apex court on Tuesday seeking a review of the decision about PTI's intra-party polls.

PTI — 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 is 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”.