ISLAMABAD: In an unusual move, the poll body has issued a notice to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), mainly on a petition moved by Akbar Sher Babar, a former PTI member, who was expelled from the party over 12 years ago.

The intra-party elections of the PTI were held on December 2. However, Babar challenged these polls in the electoral body, terming them as fraudulent.

Entertaining this petition, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a notice to the PTI on Friday and fixed the coming Tuesday as the next date of hearing of this case.

Intra-party elections of the political parties are regarded more of a ceremonial exercise— and the ECP mostly accepts the related certificates submitted to it by the political parties regarding completion of the party polls, a mandatory requirement under the relevant election laws.

However, in case of the PTI intra-party polls, the matter is lingering since last year when the PTI held its intra-party elections but the ECP refused to accept these polls.

In an apparent U-turn, the electoral body, on November 23, declared the intra-party elections of 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 electoral symbol of bat.

Prior to that, in the final hearing of the case in August, the 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.

But, after the announcement of the verbal order, no written order was provided.

In October, the PTI moved a petition in the electoral body for the issuance of the written order.

According to this 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


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