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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) will hear the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) petition challenging its single bench ruling on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) electoral ‘bat’ symbol and intra-party elections on Wednesday (today).

Earlier, The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday reserved its verdict on the intra-court appeal filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the PTI’s intra-party elections and election symbol case.

The election watchdog has filed an intra-court appeal in the PHC challenging the decision of its single-judge bench.

A single-member bench comprising PHC’s Justice Ijaz Khan heard the petition.

During the hearing, counsel for the ECP said that despite the fact that the election commission, and not the federal government, was a party to the case, the single bench of the high court did not listen to its point of view. “The court granted ‘stay’ in the case without listening to the ECP,” he said.

Justice Ijaz Khan, however, remarked that he could not give a decision in the case right now since a division bench of the high court was due to take up the case for the hearing on January 9.

The ECP’s lawyer prayed to the judge to withdraw the high court’s decision of suspension of the election commission’s verdict for the time being, and leave the rest to the division bench.

The counsel said that the ECP had issued a notice to the PTI on the petitions challenging its intra-party elections. “But questions were raised over the jurisdiction of the election commission,” he said, adding, “It was argued that the verdict it gave in the case was unconstitutional.”

He went on to say that the ECP was an independent institution, and that it had the power to give decisions on its own.The counsel further said that the PTI had filed a similar petition in the Lahore High Court.

“How can it move another high court when already another high court is seized with the hearing of the same case. There are verdicts by the Supreme Court which can be cited in support of this argument.” The court then reserved the verdict after hearing the arguments.

On December 22, the electoral watchdog invalidated PTI’s internal elections, resulting in the withdrawal of the party’s iconic ‘cricket bat’ symbol.

“So keeping in view, the clear mandate of Elections Act, 2017 read with PTI constitution 2019, it is held that PTI has not complied with our directions rendered therein order dated November 23, 2023 and failed to hold intra-party election in accordance with [the] PTI prevailing constitution, 2019 and Election Act, 2017, and Election Rules, 2017,” the ECP’s written order had read.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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