INTERNATIONAL

Violation of PTI’s party constitution ‘proved’ to the extent of chairman’s election, observes Pakistan’s apex court

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Saturday observed that violation of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s party constitution was “proved” to the extent of the party chairman’s election.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party’s chairman Gohar Khan (R) speaks during a press conference in Islamabad. (AFP)

“The constitution of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) says that the chairman shall be elected every two years while other (members) every three years. Violation of the party constitution is proved to this extent,” Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa said.

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“Isa, heading a three-member bench, was hearing a petition by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) challenging the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) decision to restore the PTI’s ‘bat’ election symbol,” Dawn.com reported.

Ahead of the February 8 general elections, the ECP will allot election symbols to political parties on Saturday, the Dawn report added.

Earlier on Friday, in a blow to the PTI, the CJP ruled that a high court’s order to restore the PTI’s iconic cricket ‘bat’ symbol was prima facie, flawed. The ECP on Thursday moved the apex court against the Peshawar High Court (PHC) verdict that annulled its decision to declare as “unconstitutional” the organisational polls in Khan’s party and revoked the cricket ‘bat’ electoral symbol.

During the hearing on Friday, the chief justice, raising a pertinent question as to whether the high court declared PTI’s intra-party polls in line with the law, asked: “The issue of the bat electoral symbol’s allotment comes later. First, we will have to review the party’s intra-party elections.” The SC proceedings are being broadcast live on the SC’s website and YouTube channel.

The election commission had on December 22 barred the PTI from keeping its ‘bat’ symbol for the upcoming February 8 election, citing irregularities in their internal polls that did not comply with the party’s own constitution and election laws.

Following the ECP’s decision to revoke their symbol, the PTI challenged it in the PHC where a single-member judge granting temporary relief reinstated the bat symbol and referred the case to a larger bench for a hearing on January 9.

On December 30, the polling body challenged the PHC’s jurisdiction over the matter.

However, in a dramatic turn of events, the PHC reversed its earlier decision and upheld the ECP’s order.

The PTI, however, after taking its fight to the Supreme Court, later withdrew its appeal and hoped for a favourable outcome from the PHC.

The PHC on Wednesday declared the commission’s order “illegal, without any lawful authority and of no legal effect”.

The commission, dissatisfied with the PHC order, challenged the decision in the apex court and sought its revocation.

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