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Big Decision: PTI Losses ‘Bat’ Symbol

In a late-night big decision, the Supreme Court on Saturday upheld the Dec 22 decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and deprive the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of its iconic poll symbol ‘bat’.

The decision was announced minutes before the expiry of the fifth extended deadline by the election watchdog for the intending candidates for the submission of party tickets.

The three-member bench consisting of Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, and Justice Musarrat Hilali anno­unced the judgement at 11:15pm, after a delay of several hours.

A 3-member bench of the Supreme Court led by chief justice , Qazi Faez Isa , has accepted the appeal of the Election Commission of Pakistan (SCP) and reinstated its decision wherein it had declared inter party elections of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) unlawful and revoked its electoral symbol of bat.

ECP had appealed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) citing that PHC decision to allot bat to PTI be reversed . In its appeal , ECP claimed that PTI’s intera party elections were just on papers and hence PTI violated the constitution and Election Act 2017. 

After hearing the parties , SCP reserved the judgment on Jan 13 at around 7 PM and it was announced late night at around 11.20 PM on Saturday. Chief justice of Pakistan apologized to the counsels of all parties who were present in the courtroom No 1 for delay in announcement of the judgement .

In the judgment , the apex court ruled PTI has failed to prove that it held inter party elections as per constitution and hence the court accepts ECP’,s appeal against PHC order in PTI favour. 

With final judgment of top court in the case, PTI has lost bat as its electoral symbol. PTI counsels including Hamid Khan and Ali Zafar faced a key question in three day’s hearing as to why PTI rushed to PHC when its case was already pending on the same issue before the Lahore High Court (LHC)?. 

PTI’s counsels could not satisfy top court on this basic question . The court highlighted this legal point in its judgment and ruled that a matter of one high court can not be submitted to another high court . Then many PTI workers like Naurin Farooq and many others ,who wanted to take part in PTI intera party elections gave statements before the court that PTI intra party elections were just a formality which made PTI case weak before SCP.

SCP also disagreed with the arguments of PTI’s legal team in this case that ECP has no powers to secrutinise intra party elections of any party . The court ruled on this point that ECP has legal and constitutional powers to review and secrutinise intra party elections of the political parties .

After the judgement, PTI legal team called Saturday’s decision of SCP accepting ECP appeal to reverse PHC decision unfortunate. PTI chairman , Barrister Gohar in his media talk outside SCP said today’s decision of SCP has added a new chapter in Pakistan’s courts controversial decisions . He said SCP decision deprived millions of PTI.votrers from their right to vote for bat in February 8 elections .

Ali Zafar advocate , counsel for PTI’s said top courts judges misread PTI ‘s arguments in the case. Akbar S Babar, one of the petitioners in the case, also spoke to the media persons after the decision outside SCP building . He said today’s decision of apex court was a big win of the party workers who want to see PTI’s as.a real democratic party. He said today ‘s decision will strengthen democratic norms and democracy in *Pakistan’s political parties.

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