Infostani International- In the legal clash between PTI and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Barrister Ali Zafar argued before the Peshawar High Court that the ECP lacks the authority to revoke PTI’s electoral symbol, deeming it a mere “record keeper.” The dispute, stemming from the ECP’s nullification of PTI’s internal polls and the ‘bat’ symbol, has escalated to the Supreme Court. The hearing, marked by delays and objections, revolves around the ECP’s jurisdiction and alleged ill-intent intentions. The court’s rulings hold significant implications for PTI’s participation in the upcoming elections.
Legal Battle Unfolds: PTI Challenges ECP’s Symbol Revocation at Peshawar High Court
On Tuesday, Barrister Ali Zafar of PTI argued that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) lacked the authority to revoke a political party’s electoral symbol, contending that the ECP was merely a “record keeper.” The Peshawar High Court (PHC) was hearing a petition challenging the ECP’s decision to nullify PTI’s internal polls and strip it of the ‘bat’ symbol.
The ECP’s decision on December 22 to disallow PTI from retaining its electoral symbol for the February 8 election was based on the party’s failure to conduct intra-party polls following its constitution and election laws. The PHC had suspended the ECP’s decision but later restored it, leading PTI to approach the Supreme Court, with a hearing scheduled for January 11.
During the hearing at the PHC, Justice Ejaz Anwar and Justice Syed Arshad Ali expressed displeasure over the delay caused by PTI lawyers’ late arrival. The PTI Lawyers’ Forum had informed the court of the delay, attributing it to the expected arrival of party counsels Gohar and Barrister Ali Zafar.
When the hearing finally commenced, Barrister Zafar argued that individuals objecting to PTI’s intra-party polls were not party members, and the ECP had initially accepted the polls before questioning them. He emphasized that the ECP had no authority to revoke the ‘bat’ symbol, and the objections were based on ill intent.
Court Proceedings: ECP’s Defense Against PTI’s Symbol Revocation Challenge
Sikandar Shah Mohmand, the ECP counsel, countered by stating that the petitioners claimed that PTI did not conduct the intra-party polls according to its constitution. He mentioned that the PTI had not sought nomination papers from any candidate, and the electoral symbols would be allotted on January 13.
Justice Ali asked if they could resolve the matter without involving the Supreme Court, and the ECP lawyer replied in the negative. Considering the impending symbol allotment deadline, the court questioned the PTI’s ability to provide a list of candidates. Barrister Zafar pleaded for restoration of the interim relief, but the court refused, directing him to continue arguments.
After Zafar concluded his arguments, the court adjourned for 15 minutes. When the session resumed, ECP counsel Mohmand presented his arguments, highlighting that the Lahore High Court had dismissed the case, asserting that relief couldn’t be sought simultaneously from two courts. He emphasized that the ECP had given PTI multiple opportunities to comply with its orders, even allowing a year extension due to the pandemic.