Election 2024: PTI to now play without ‘bat’

Mass rejection of PTI candidates nomination papers

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday revoked the stay order granted by its single-member bench, restoring the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to declare PTI intra-party polls null and void and stripping it of its election symbol — bat. 

A single-member bench comprising Justice Ejaz Khan announced the verdict that the court had reserved hours earlier.  

Election commission’s lawyer Sikander Bashir Mohmand and PTI’s legal team — comprising Advocates Shah Faisal Uthmankhel and Qazi Anwar — appeared in the courtroom. 

The electoral body had filed a review petition at the high court against the PHC’s December 26 decision, which had suspended the ECP’s order and restored the party’s ‘bat’ symbol till a final decision on the matter.

The ECP, in its order on December 22, had declared PTI’s intra-party polls “illegal” and stripped it of using the ‘bat’ symbol. 

Following its order, the former ruling party approached the PHC, seeking to restore its electoral symbol ahead of the general elections slated for February 8, as it is a major voter driving force.

In its petition, the ECP requested the court review the PTI’s intra-party elections and its decision related to the election symbol.

Barrister Asad Rahim Khan told Geo.tv that following the setback in the PHC, the party can still knock on the doors of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

“[However, PTI] also has a division bench hearing in the PHC on the 9th. Depending on that decision, it can then go to the Supreme Court,” the legal expert added.

Talking to reporters in Rawalpindi, PTI’s former chairman Barrister Gohar Khan said his party would move the apex court after due deliberations, noting that the SC “would not let this matter slide”.

“The Supreme Court has already stated that revoking a party’s symbol is tantamount to disbanding the entire party,” the PTI leader said, hoping that his party would get relief from the top court.