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Election 2024: PTI to now play without ‘bat’



  • 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 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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