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Saturday, May 25, 2024

“BAT” decision : ECP approaches PHC

The ECP, in its review petition, argued that the court's verdict was contrary to both the law and the guidelines set by the Supreme Court.

“BAT” decision : ECP approaches PHC

On Saturday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) lodged a review petition with the Peshawar High Court (PHC) challenging the suspension of its earlier decision to deny the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) the use of the “bat” as its electoral symbol for the upcoming February 8 general election. The PHC, earlier in the week, had halted the ECP’s declaration of the PTI’s intra-party polls as unconstitutional and the subsequent withdrawal of the party’s iconic symbol.

The court had directed the ECP to publish the PTI’s certificate on its website promptly and reinstate the party’s election symbol. The ECP, in its review petition, argued that the court’s verdict was contrary to both the law and the guidelines set by the Supreme Court. The petition emphasized that the constitution unequivocally grants the commission the authority to make factual determinations regarding the issues raised in the writ petition.

Further, the ECP contended that the high court’s jurisdiction was confined to its territorial boundaries, whereas the allocation of the PTI’s election symbol extended nationwide. Consequently, the ECP asserted that the PHC’s order exceeded its territorial jurisdiction. Urging the high court to expedite the review process due to the national significance of the matter, the ECP called for the formation of a special bench.

ECP and PHC faced backlash 

Notably, the decision to reinstate the PTI’s election symbol faced opposition from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), with accusations that the court undermined the ECP’s authority. The PML-N raised concerns about the impartiality of the high court judge issuing the order, alleging familial connections to candidates contesting on Imran Khan’s party tickets in the February 8 polls.

More to read: India Seeks Extradition of Hafiz Saeed, Pakistan Rejects

Expressing disagreement with the ECP’s decision, PTI counsel Moazzam Butt criticized it, accusing the commission of hindering free and fair elections. Outside the court, Butt highlighted concerns about threats against the Chief Justice of the high court and the deployment of police outside the court premises.