Politics

PHC Engages in Legal Showdown: PTI Takes Center Stage, Challenging Verdict on Intra-Party Polls and Election Symbol

PESHAWAR: Justice Kamran Hayat Miankel of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) has started hearing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) petition challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order declaring the intra-party polls illegal and revoking its electoral symbol.

The party had filed the petition earlier today naming the ECP and those who challenged the elections as respondents. It had requested the court for an urgent hearing of the matter.

The petition stated that the ECP did not have the authority to decide the procedure for intra-party elections. The complainant who challenged the intra-party polls was not a party member, it added.

“The ECP withdrew the electoral symbol ‘bat’,” it read asking the court to form a bench comprising senior judges and hear the plea on Tuesday (today).

On December 22, the commission had declared PTI intra-party polls as “unconstitutional” and revoked its claim on its electoral symbol — “bat”.

The PTI prayed to the court to hold and declare that the impugned order is without jurisdiction, without lawful authority and illegal and as a consequence, thereof, set it aside forthwith.

The PTI also pleaded to hold and declare the proceedings by ECP to question the validity of the IPEs on the basis of any objections filed by any persons were coram non judice, illegal and without lawful authority.

“…find and declare that ‘election symbol’ has been illegal and unlawfully been withdrawn which is, inter alia, violation of fundamental rights of the petitioners including Article 17 and Article 25 of the constitution.”

The PTI asked the court to direct the ECP forthwith to “publish the certificates of PTI on its website of ECP as required by 209 (3)” in the interest of justice and to restore its election symbol.

In the wake of PTI’s intra-party elections, held on December 2, ex-PTI member Akbar S Babar had refused to accept the polls and moved the electoral authority against it.

Following the Election Commission’s verdict that the polls were not in line with the rules, the party not only had its symbol taken away, but it was also left without a chairman — as the polls declaring Barrister Gohar Khan as chairman were ruled illegal.

Talking about the decision last week, Gohar had lambasted the ECP for stripping the party of its bat symbol but hoped that the courts would back the PTI’s plea for its restoration.

“[PTI’s] electoral symbol will be restored,” hoped Gohar, who is also a lawyer by profession.

Political analyst Mazhar Abbas had told Geo.tv that the election commission has “never” declared any political party’s internal polls unlawful, noting that it seems like the PTI is “under attack”.

This is not the only pressing matter for the PTI. Its former chairman, Imran Khan, is behind bars and he is the main driving force behind the party’s votes.

Although he was granted bail in a cipher-related case last week by the Supreme Court, the PTI founder was arrested in two other cases before that and his release remains uncertain.

Moreover, since he was convicted in a corruption case, he has been barred from contesting elections for a period of five years. His sentence is suspended, but isn’t overturned so far.

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