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Saturday, April 13, 2024

PTI will retain the “BAT” or not? PHC holds verdict

The ECP lawyer requested the court to withdraw the PHC order, stating that arguments would be presented before the division bench.

PTI will retain the “BAT” or not? PHC to decide tomorrow

On Tuesday, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) reserved its judgment concerning the review pleas filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). These pleas were lodged against the PHC’s decision to suspend the ECP’s nullification of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) intra-party polls and the withdrawal of the party’s election symbol. The ECP had earlier ruled against allowing PTI to keep its ‘bat’ symbol for the upcoming February 8 general election. The decision was based on the party’s failure to conduct intra-party polls in accordance with its constitution and election laws, resulting in Barrister Gohar Khan assuming the position of PTI chairman.

Following the ECP’s decision, PTI approached the PHC, leading to the court’s suspension of the ECP’s ruling. The court noted that the general elections were scheduled for February 8, and the deadline for allotting election symbols was January 13.

Applicability of high court directives 

On Saturday, the ECP filed a review petition in the PHC, contesting the suspension of its decision by the court. During the subsequent hearing, presided over by Justice Ejaz Khan, ECP counsel Sikandar Mohmand appeared before the court. The judge inquired about the applicability of high court directives nationwide, to which the lawyer confirmed that the Supreme Court had suspended a similar decision by the Lahore High Court regarding returning officers.

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The ECP counsel clarified that the interim relief and the final plea were identical. When asked about the petitioner’s whereabouts, the counsel expressed unawareness. Justice Khan mentioned that he couldn’t issue an order as the case was fixed before a division bench on January 9. The ECP lawyer requested the court to withdraw the PHC order, stating that arguments would be presented before the division bench. The court then reserved its verdict, adjourning the hearing to the following day. Justice Khan announced that the court would deliver the verdict after hearing from the PTI counsel and issued a notice to the party.