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Election 2024: PTI to now play without ‘bat’

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  • Justice Ejaz Khan announces reserved verdict.
  • PHC reinstates ECP’s December 22 decision.
  • PTI to approach Supreme Court against order.

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday 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 — bat. 

A single-member bench comprising Justice Ejaz Khan announced the verdict that the court had reserved hours earlier.  

Election commission’s lawyer Sikander Bashir Mohmand and PTI’s legal team — comprising Advocates Shah Faisal Uthmankhel and Qazi Anwar — appeared in the courtroom. 

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. 

Following its order, the former ruling party approached the PHC, seeking to restore its electoral symbol ahead of the general elections slated for February 8, as it is a major voter driving force.

In its petition, the ECP requested the court review the PTI’s intra-party elections and its decision related to the election symbol.

A PTI supporter holds the partys flags in this AFP file image.
A PTI supporter holds the party’s flags in this AFP file image.

Barrister Asad Rahim Khan told Geo.tv that following the setback in the PHC, the party can still knock on the doors of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

“[However, PTI] also has a division bench hearing in the PHC on the 9th. Depending on that decision, it can then go to the Supreme Court,” the legal expert added.

Talking to reporters in Rawalpindi, PTI’s former chairman Barrister Gohar Khan said his party would move the apex court after due deliberations, noting that the SC “would not let this matter slide”.

“The Supreme Court has already stated that revoking a party’s symbol is tantamount to disbanding the entire party,” the PTI leader said, hoping that his party would get relief from the top court.

Gohar noted that all PTI ticket holders would run as independent candidates if the apex court did not accept the party’s plea, however, he said today’s decision has “damaged” democracy.

The hearing

At the outset of the hearing, Advocate Anwar said that he, along with Barrister Gohar Khan, will represent the PTI in this case.

“The political parties, in the court, said that they stand with the Election Commission,” said Anwar.

At this, Justice Khan said: “We have learned from you that these things are baseless in the eyes of law as whatever happens outside the court has nothing to do with the hearing”.

“Can the ECP approach the court against the high court’s ruling?” questioned PTI’s lawyer calling the electoral body’s petition incorrect.

Advocate Anwar said that the PHC announced its verdict on December 26, however, it has not yet been implemented. “Election Commission has not yet issued the [PTI] intra-party election certificate on the website,” he added.

“Did your party file any contempt case in this matter?” asked Justice Khan.

Following this, the PTI’s counsel said that sidelining a party was not good for the ECP or the democracy.

He said that the PTI wants the ECP to conduct free and fair elections.

Advocate Anwar then inquired about the electoral body’s authority to challenge a high court order. 

Later, the ECP’s counsel told the court that the body was not removing any political party from the list but required the parties to follow its laws.

Mohmand said that the PTI did not conduct intra-party polls, hence, the party elections have been declared null and void. He requested the court to withdraw the PTI’s stay order. 

The court then reserved the verdict after hearing arguments from both sides. 

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No “major breakthrough” in the opposition-led JUI-F and PTI meeting

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Maulana Fazalur Rehman stated that mending rifts in relationships and getting rid of resentment in an interview with the media in Islamabad with a team from the Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Ayeen-e-Pakistan that paid him a visit.

While no significant progress was made at the meeting, all sides decided to keep in touch in order to plan for the future.

“A positive message,” according to the JUI-F chief, was received with open arms by the delegation. Taking a “united” stance on national issues was the primary goal of the meeting, he said.

Democracy is losing its appeal, and Pakistan’s parliament and constitution are losing their respect. In parliament, Maulana Fazalur Rehman continued, “we should have a single voice.”

Remarking on the event, National Assembly Opposition Leader Omar Ayub thanked the JUI-F leader for ‘warmly’ receiving the group.

We had a fruitful discussion in the meeting, he declared, urging the opposition parties to work with the PTI to “protect” the constitution.

Constitutional violations and a lack of a rule of law are the claims made by Omar Ayub. According to him, there was “no reason” why the police searched the PTI’s Islamabad central secretariat office.

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In the instance of illegal recruitment, Pervaiz Elahi is granted bail.

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The earlier-reserved court ruling was delivered by LHC Judge Sultan Tanveer Ahmad on Tuesday.

LHC had filed a post-arrest bail motion, according to the former chief minister.

On October 25, 2023, Pervaiz was taken into custody by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE).

From June 1 to September 18, Elahi has been arrested in a number of crimes; the most recent one was reported by the Punjab ACE on September 18.

More: Pervaiz Elahi’s condition “deteriorated” in Adiala jail; he was hurried to PIMS.

In the Punjab Assembly, Elahi illegally hired 12 people for grade 17 positions, according to information provided by an ACE representative.

In the provincial assembly, the candidates were chosen through record-altering.

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The bail petition of Parvez Elahi in the Jinnah House attack case has been rejected by the ATC.

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A bail application filed by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) party, in the Jinnah House attack case has been rejected by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on the grounds of prematurity.

ATC Judge Arshad Javed announced the decision during today’s hearing.

The counsel representing Parvez Elahi contended that there was a significant likelihood of his client being arrested in relation to the Jinnah House attack case. It was stated that the ex-Chief Minister had previously been held in custody on judicial remand in other cases.

The petitioner requested the court to authorise the release of Parvez Elahi on bail in the Jinnah House attack case.

Nevertheless, the prosecution argued that the bail petition did not meet the necessary legal criteria, emphasising that Parvez Elahi had not been apprehended in connection with the case.

Considering these considerations, the court rejected Parvez Elahi’s request for release, stating that it was premature since he had not been arrested in the Jinnah House attack case.

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