Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to challenge Election Commission’s verdict on intra-party polls in Peshawar Court tomorrow

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Islamabad [Pakistan], December 25: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday announced that it will challenge the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to declare its intra-party polls as unconstitutional and revoke the ‘bat’ symbol in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday.
The decision of the PTI comes after the electoral watchdog declared its intra-party polls “void,” which had declared Barrister Gohar Ali Khan as the party’s new chairman.
In its 11-page order, the ECP said, “It is held that PTI has not complied with our directions rendered therein order dated November 23, 2023 and failed to hold intra-party elections in accordance with PTI’s prevailing Constitution, 2019, Election Act, 2017, and Election Rules, 2017.”
The PTI had called ECP’s decision part of the “famous London plan” and a “disgusting and shameful attempt to stop PTI from [participating in the] election.” It said the party would win the general elections and added that it would appeal against the ECP’s decision at every forum.
It said that PTI candidates will contest the polls with the “bat” symbol. Speaking to Dawn, PTI lawyer and central information secretary Mohammad Muazzam Butt said the party had decided to approach the high court and would file a writ petition on December 26.
Mohammad Muazzam Butt said the main party leadership will file the case, called the ECP’s verdict “legally flawed,” and added that the commission had failed to serve justice in its order.

Butt added, “We are not being provided a level playing field and attempts are being made to keep us away from polls.”
In an interview, PTI lawyer Naeem Haider Panjutha said PTI will approach the PHC instead of the Islamabad High Court (IHC). He said that his party had expected that the electoral watchdog would take such a decision.
He said, “By snatching the ‘bat symbol, how can you say this will be a free and fair election? You are taking away the rights of the voters of such a big political party,” he said. He said that the law and the Constitution made it clear that the electoral symbol of a party could not be taken away.
Panjutha said that there were at least 15 cases where the Islamabad High Court had done “injustice” to PTI founder Imran Khan. Panjutha said the party would approach the PHC on Dec 26 and expected that the party would be given justice.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday decided against letting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) retain its ‘bat’ electoral symbol for the February 8 general election, Dawn reported.
The ECP’s verdict was announced a day after the Peshawar High Court (PHC) directed the electoral watchdog to decide on PTI’s intra-party polls and electoral symbol by Friday in “accordance with the law.”
The ECP had taken notice of the PTI’s intra-party polls held on December 3, days after the ECP declared ‘null and void’ the intra-party polls held in June 2022, giving the PTI 20 days to hold fresh elections or be ready to become ineligible for the poll symbol.
As per Dawn, the party was on the receiving end of sharp criticism over the polls as estranged PTI founding member Akbar S Babar announced that he would challenge the entire process. He had alleged that the PTI had carried out a selection process aimed at throwing out party workers to give the reins to a few lawyers.
Akbar had approached the ECP against the intra-party elections, alleging they were “rigged and fraudulent.”
Various other petitions were also submitted to the ECP along similar lines as Babar’s, with the mutual demands of declaring the intra-party election without effect and ordering the exercise to be carried out anew.

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