ISLAMABAD: In an apparent U-turn, the electoral body has declared the intra-party elections of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as “highly disputed/objectionable, which could not be accepted at all,” despite earlier verbally declaring these polls as legitimate, and directed the former ruling party to hold the intra-party elections in 20 days, failing which, it would be ineligible for the election symbol of bat.
“Keeping in view the afore stated reasons, we are confirmed in our views, that the respondent party failed to hold, transparent just and fair intra-party elections in accordance with its prevailing Constitution 2019 allegedly held on 10-06-2022, which is highly disputed/objectionable, which could not be accepted at all, therefore it is held that respondent party is failed to hold its intra-party elections within the extended period of one year, till 13-06-2022, but, we, instead of taking the final step to invoke the provision of Section 215(5) of the Elections Act 2017, a lenient view is taken with direction to the respondent party to hold its intra-party elections strictly in accordance with the prevailing party constitution, within 20 days positively and its result along with all the required documents,” stated an order, issued by a four-member ECP bench on Thursday.
The order stated that in case the respondent party failed to comply with direction of the commission and failed to hold its intra-party elections within the prescribed 20 days (effective from Thursday), the respondent will suffer the penal consequences of Section 215(5) of Elections Act 2017 accordingly and would be ineligible to obtain an election symbol for election to Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).
The bench comprising of Nisar Ahmed Durrani, Shah Muhammad Jatoi, Babar Hassan Bharwana and former Justice Ikramullah Khan reserved this verdict in August, this year.
In the final hearing of the case, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) accepted PTI’s submissions related to intra-party elections. The bench members verbally conveyed their decision to the defence side that the PTI intra-party polls were valid, duly held on June 9, 2022— and that the matter now stood resolved.
However, after the announcement of the verbal order, no written order was provided. Last month, the PTI moved a petition in the electoral body for the issuance of the written order.
According to the petition, in June, last year, Jamal Akbar Ansari, the then PTI Chief Election Commissioner, submitted new PTI constitution to ECP, with some amendments, along with certificate of intra-party elections and relevant documents.
However, the ECP declared those documents as “deficient.” The political party again submitted to the ECP the intra-party documents including notification of elected office-bearers.
Again, the electoral body found these documents deficient, and sent them back to PTI for “removal of deficiencies.” The PTI, in its petition, took the stance that the commission accepted that on March 28, this year, “some misunderstanding” had led to the passing of the order relating to the rejection of intra-party polls.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023