PHC nullifies ECP ruling and returns bat to PTI

PHC nullifies ECP ruling and returns bat to PTI

In a major victory for the embattled Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) has quashed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) verdict and reinstated the party’s electoral symbol, the ‘bat’.

On December 22, the election regulator declared PTI’s internal elections invalid, causing the party to lose its iconic ‘cricket bat’ symbol.

However, on December 26, the PHC, headed by one judge, Justice Kamran Hayat Miankhel, suspended the committee’s decision to cancel the PTI intra-party polls and remove the ‘bat’ symbol from them.

In its order, the court had directed the commission to publish the PTI certificate on its website and restore the party’s election symbol.

Following the PHC decision, the ECP held a meeting. The Commission subsequently decided to challenge the PHC’s decision through an intra-judicial appeal filed on December 30, 2023.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Ejaz Anwar and Justice Syed Arshad Ali of the Supreme Court today resumed the hearing on the PTI intra-party elections and election symbol case in the presence of party lawyers and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

In its judgment today, the PHC directed the ECP to upload the PTI certificate of intra-party opinion polls on its website. “The PTI has the right that the ‘bat’ symbol should be given the same as its election symbol,” the PHC decision said.

The verdict, delivered earlier in the day, was delivered by a two-man bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Ejaz Anwar and Justice Syed Arshad Ali. The petition was filed by PTI chief counsel Gohar Ali and other party leaders, urging the court to declare the ECP order illegal and without jurisdiction.

At the beginning of the hearing, Judge Anwar noted that the title “Ladla” (blue-eyed boy) kept changing from person to person.

Lawyer Qazi Javed said his client and former PTI district general secretary was informed about the party’s internal polls through the media and said Javed wanted to participate in the party polls; but no opportunity was given.

Lawyer Javed said he had also contacted the ECP in this regard.

When asked by Judge Anwar whether the elections had elected all members or only provincial representatives, Javed noted that representatives had been chosen from across the country.

The lawyer opined that if the PTI demands a level playing field, it should also provide the same to its activists.

Complainant Jahangir’s lawyer Naveed Akhtar said his client was the district president of the PTI and he was dismissed from the party based on an explanation. Naveed alleged that the PTI failed to elect officials as per the Constitution and asserted that every party should respect its Constitution.

You are responsible for imposing a sanction on the impossibility of the intra-parties and the autorité for the surveillance of the elections in accordance with the criteria, which is also the basis for the legal assessment of the commission for the electorate. measure.

The complainant’s lawyer argued that the ECP should have ensured that the party elections were held in accordance with Article 208.

PTI lawyer Ali Zafar, while presenting his arguments, said he wanted to clarify the principle of jurisdiction in the case. He said the PHC had jurisdiction under Article 199 to hear the party’s candidature since the elections were held in Peshawar – which falls under the jurisdiction of the PHC.