Infostani International- The Peshawar High Court, through Justice Kamran Hayat Mian Khel, suspended the Election Commission’s decision and reinstated the election symbol of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the bat, along with the intra-party election. Justice Kamran Hayat Mian Khel issued notices to all parties involved and directed the scheduling of the writ petition for a hearing before the Division Bench after the winter vacation. A political party faced a lack of allotment for its electoral symbol as the deadline for assigning electoral symbols was set for January 13. With general elections scheduled nationwide on February 8. Given the urgency of the matter, the court expedited the case.
During the proceedings, lawyers representing the petitioners, the Deputy Attorney General, and the complainant’s counsel presented their arguments. Despite their submissions, the court determined that January 13 marked the final date for the allotment of election symbols. In addition there was no other Division Bench available in the Peshawar High Court. Consequently, the court decided to schedule a hearing for the case before the first available Division Bench after the holidays. But, in the meantime, suspended the Election Commission’s order.
PTI Lawyers Challenge Election Commission, Citing Authority Overreach
At the start of the application hearing, Barrister Ali Zafar, Barrister Gohar Ali, and other lawyers represented PTI. They contended that the Election Commission exceeded its authority by nullifying PTI’s intra-party elections on December 22 and withdrawing the bat symbol from Kanshan. They stressed that the Election Commission, lacking the authority of a trial court. Could not declare any political party’s intra-party elections invalid. On December 2, Peshawar conducted intra-party elections, and the Election Commission initially found them valid. However, the objection raised questioned Umar Ayub’s status as the party’s general secretary at the time of appointing the Chief Election Commissioner. Arguing that he lacked authorization and should have obtained approval from the Federal Council under election laws.
The PTI representatives argued that the elections were transparent with no irregularities, and the Election Commission. Without prior warning, declared them unlawful. They cited Supreme Court judgments stating that no political party should be deprived of its electoral symbol. Furthermore, the complainant was not a PTI member. The complainant’s lawyer asserted that the Election Commission had the authority to annul intra-party elections. While the Additional Attorney General suggested postponing the case until after the winter vacation.
However, Justice Kamran Hayat asked about the number of political parties in Pakistan and whether other parties had received notices. He highlighted that PTI was a registered party in the 2018 elections. Questioning the Election Commission’s justification for declaring the intra-party election invalid. Expressing the need for clean and transparent elections, Justice Kamran Hayat acknowledged the urgency due to the released election schedule.
Peshawar High Court’s Decisive Move: PTI’s Symbol Reinstated, Election Commission Overruled
He expressed concerns about the Election Commission excluding a party from the election. Also pondered the consequences if the court deemed the Commission’s order incorrect. Barrister Ali Zafar clarified that the Election Commission’s written decision cited incorrect appointments as the reason for declaring the elections null and void. He emphasized that the Election Commission lacked the authority to question party appointments and that the election symbol was a fundamental right.
Worried about potential repercussions from a delayed decision. Justice Kamran Hayat suspended the Election Commission’s ruling and reinstated PTI’s intra-party election and bat symbol until the next hearing. Following the court’s decision, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Khan expressed satisfaction. Stating that the Peshawar High Court had thwarted conspiracies against PTI. He praised the judiciary for reinstating the people’s trust and hoped for the reversal of the Election Commission’s order in the upcoming hearing. The PTI spokesperson, echoing similar sentiments, described the High Court’s decision as a victory for constitutional and political struggle. Anticipating justice for imprisoned workers and leaders, including those from PTI.