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PTI gets bat symbol back through Peshawar High Court

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The Peshawar High Court has allowed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to contest the upcoming elections in February on its bat symbol.

A two-judge bench, including Justice Arshad Ali and Justice Ijaz Anwar, heard the appeal. 

The court had earlier on Wednesday reserved its decision on the PTI’s appeal against the election commission’s decision to withdraw the symbol from the party and nullify its intra-party elections. It had heard arguments from the election commission, the PTI and other parties, and reserved its decision. 

The PHC accepted the PTI’s appeal and declared the election commission’s decision of December 22 null and void. 

Later, a written order of the two-judge bench issued by Justice Arshad Ali declared the election commission’s December 22 verdict unconstitutional and nullified it.

The election commission should publish the PTI party certificate on its website under Elections Act 2017 Clause 209. Under Article 215, the commission should also allot the PTI its election symbol of bat.

The hearing

During the hearing earlier in the day, Justice Ali said intra-party elections were conducted under the Elections Act 2008, asking how the party symbol was withdrawn under a sub-section of Section 215 of the Elections Act 2009.

The election commission’s lawyer Sikander Bashir said the PTI considered the election commission a record keeper, adding it was a regularity body that can look after intra-party elections.

Ali Zafar told the court that the complainant wanted to oust the party from elections. He added that the ECP’s decision would affect all the assemblies of Pakistan as well as the people of Pakistan, including the province. 

The complainant’s lawyer told the court the PTI had failed to hold intra-party elections under the election commission’s rules. All the evidences were submitted to the commission. The Peshawar DC wrote a letter on December 1 and asked about the venue for the intraparty polls, the lawyer added.

Justice Anwar asked if the PTI members came to Peshawar posing as someone else, adding that here families were running political parties.

Justice Ali asked under which section the Election Commission of Pakistan took action against the party, adding that under Section 209, the results of intraparty polls must be submitted to the commission within seven days and this was complied with.

The election commission had to see whether the intra-party elections were held under Section 208 or not, the counsel replied, adding that the PTI was asking for a level playing field for general elections.

“We also asked for a level playing field for the intra-party elections, which was not granted,” the lawyer remarked.

He asked why he should support a party if it cannot hold intra-party elections according to law. 

The complainant said there was no advertisement or information about the intra-party elections, claiming that they found out at night that there would be elections in Peshawar.

He further claimed that the PTI continued to be treated like favourites at which Justice Ijaz Anwar told him to avoid saying such things in court.

The lawyer mentioned he wanted to take up the issue of the court’s jurisdiction, adding the PTI’s application was not admissible. He maintained that the Peshawar High Court does not have jurisdiction over the matter, as the election commission’s cases have to be heard in the Islamabad High Court under the Constitution.

The court asked what the party’s loss will be if it did not get the election symbol and whether the lawyer wanted the party to get its symbol of bat.

The lawyer responded that he belonged to the same political party and wanted a re-poll.

Justice Ali asked when the show-case notice to the PTI was issued after it submitted Form 65 of the election result. The counsel said December 7.

Justice Anwar asked where in the notice it was mentioned that Election Acts 2008 and 2009 had been violated. Justice Ali asked how a decision on the symbol can be taken after the election schedule is issued.

The lawyer further said the PTI also went to the Lahore High Court against the election commission’s decision, which asked to let the PHC decide. 

At the outset of the hearing, counsel for one of the complainants told the court his client was a former district general secretary of the PTI and found out from the media that the intra-party elections were taking place.

He wanted to participate in the election, but was not given the opportunity, the lawyer further said.

Justice Anwar said if the election commission annulled the intra-party elections, he should have called for a repoll. “If you belonged to the party, you should have objected to the withdrawal of the party symbol, but you did not,” he added.

“We were not given a chance in the elections for which we went to the election commission,” Qazi Jawad stated. 

‘No one can stop PTI from winning’

Following the decision, PTI leader Senator Ali Zafar told the media that nobody can now stop the party from winning elections. The Peshawar High Court has continued its tradition of delivering verdicts as per law and justice.

“The election commission has become our opponent,” Zafar remarked, claiming that someone who called himself a member of the commission also did not want the PTI to get the bat symbol back. 

He further stressed that if the bat symbol is not added to the ECP’s website in 15 minutes, it would constitute contempt of court. 

Ali Zafar said the decision was a victory for the Constitution and law, adding that the commission must implement it as soon as possible. If the verdict was not implement, the PTI would move court against it.

He further said the ECP had the right to approach the Supreme Court, however the party was not worried as the Constitution and law existed. 

Also Read: Elections 2024: ECP scraps PTI’s intra-party elections, revokes ‘Bat’ symbol

On December 22, the Election Commission of Pakistan had declared the PTI’s intra-party elections “unconstitutional” and revoked the “bat” as its electoral symbol ahead of the February 8 general elections.

The ruling underscored the election commission’s insistence on adherence to democratic processes within political parties. The PTI’s failure to conduct intra-party elections as mandated by the constitution led to the withdrawal of the symbolic representation, signaling a deviation from the established democratic norms. 

PTI Chairman Gohar Ali Khan hails PHC verdict as ‘historic’

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) made a historic decision and the bat symbol has been restored, said PTI Chairman Gohar Ali Khan. 

“This symbol is the symbol of representation of the people of Pakistan,” Barrister Gohar said in a media talk. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had failed on every front and illegally withheld the mark.

“The National Assembly’s 227 seats would have gone out of our hands if the symbol was not restored,” the lawyer added. 

PTI’s ‘bat‘ missing from ECP’s list of symbols for Feb 8 elections

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has recently communicated the list of election symbols for various political parties to the returning officers, outlining the symbols assigned to 145 parties, excluding Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its bat symbol.

Under the directives of the ECP, the lion symbol was granted to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the arrow symbol to the Pakistan Peoples’ Party parliamentarian (PPPP), the eagle symbol to Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), and the batsman symbol representing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-Nazriati (PTI-N).

Supreme Court disposes of PTI’s plea for bat symbol as withdrawn

The Supreme Court on Wednesday morning disposed of the appeal of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regarding its bat election symbol as being withdrawn. 

The apex court had formed a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, to address the issue. The bench, which included Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musrat Hilali, was scheduled to hear the PTI’s appeal today. 

PTI founder Imran Khan out of election race

Justice Tariq Nadeem of the appellate tribunal of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Wednesday upheld the returning officer’s verdict rejecting PTI founding chairman Imran Khan’s nomination papers for constituency NA-122.

Imran’s nomination papers were rejected from NA-122 (Lahore) and NA-89 (Mianwali) on December 30.

The verdict issued by the RO for NA-122 stated that the papers were rejected on “moral” and other grounds. 

PTI has plan b if bat symbol dispute persists,’ says Barrister Gohar

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan on Tuesday revealed that the party has devised a contingency plan, labeled as ‘Plan B,’ in the event the dispute over the iconic bat symbol persists.

Addressing a presser outside the Peshawar High Court, PTI chief expressed optimism about the court’s decision, stating that a favorable outcome would pave the way for the timely distribution of tickets to PTI candidates.

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