ECP hits back as PTI swings for ‘batsman’ symbol to keep innings going

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ISLAMABAD, JAN 13 /DNA/ – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has taken notice of deceiving attempts by some candidates through their applications ahead of general elections — scheduled for February 8.

An order issued by the election commission read that some candidates were trying to deceive it via their applications seeking the electoral symbol of another political party.

The top electoral body directed the returning officers (ROs) to refrain from allotting the electoral symbol of a party other than which the candidate belongs.

It detailed that every candidate was bound to submit a party association certificate under the Election Act, 2017. Additionally, a candidate could not keep membership in more than one political party at a time, it concluded.

It is pertinent to know that candidates are required to submit an affidavit to the ROs wherein they declare their party affiliation.

The development came after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) implemented ‘Plan B’ and issued fresh tickets to the candidates under the name of another party — “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Nazriati” amid confusion over its iconic “bat” symbol.

In a statement, the party said that it has issued fresh tickets to the national and provincial assembly candidates and directed them to submit the declarations to the returning officer.

In conversation with reporters in Islamabad, PTI spokesperson Shoaib Shaheen said party candidates can submit their nomination papers under PTI-N’s name.

“In line with the law, the ECP can allot tickets to any party. The returning officers are bound [by the law] to issue tickets for whichever party the candidates ask them to,” the PTI leader said.

He lamented that, at times, the authorities “steal” the bat electoral symbol from the party, and at times, they do the same with their batsman symbol.

Later in the day, the party also complained that ROs were not accepting its candidates’ nomination papers, with Shaheen also filing a petition in the election commission.

Reacting to the development, PTI-N Chairman Akhtar Iqbal Dar categorically turned down the possibility of any alliance with the PTI due to its “corrupt” incumbent members.

“Everyone in the PTI’s team is corrupt, I can’t talk to them,” Dar said while speaking to News.

Responding to a question whether his party would issue tickets to PTI candidates, Dar said: “[I] don’t want to comment on PTI’s founder […] all of them are corrupt.”

“There can be no talks with them [the PTI]. Barrister Gohar and other shady individuals have hijacked the party,” he added.

The fresh move was seen as the former ruling party’s participation in the upcoming general elections — which are less than a month away — remains uncertain due to the ongoing saga surrounding its electoral “bat” symbol.=DNA