PTI candidates to contest election independently as ‘bat’ revoked

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ISLAMABAD: Following the Supreme Court s (SC) decision setting aside the Peshawar High Court (PHC) order that reinstated “bat” as the party s electoral symbol, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announced that its candidates would contest elections independently, ARY News reported on Saturday.

CJP Qazi Faez Isa-led three-member bench, a little before midnight, announced the verdict, dealing a huge blow to Imran Khan-led PTI s hopes of retaining its symbol.

Talking to journalists outside the apex court, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan said that all the party candidates will contest the Feb 8 general elections independently. “We will issue a list of all our candidates with their election symbols,” he said.

Barrister Gohar noted that the Supreme court s order was controversial and it had deeply disappointed him, announcing that his party would challenge the Supreme Court’s verdict.

“Whether we have the bat or not, the people are still us,” the PTI chief said, noting that it was the court s duty to ensure that every person s basic rights are guaranteed.

He pointed out that the technical grounds, on which the judgment was given, was misread, claiming that contesting elections independently would open new doors of corruption.

Taking over the presser, PTI leader Barrister Ali Zafar said the party was anticipating the decision, therefore, their preparations were complete. “We will compete the February 8 with all-out force,” he added.

“PTI candidates cannot be barred from contesting elections as independents”, Ali Zafar said, regretting that soft questions were asked from the people who appeared before the apex court.

Supreme Court order

Announcing the verdict, CJP Faez Isa stated that the plea in Peshawar High Court (PHC) was inadmissible as a single case cannot proceed in two High Courts at the same time.

The verdict said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) failed to present evidence of holding transparent intra-party elections as all political parties are bound to hold free and fair intra-party elections.

The chief justice said the ECP “has been calling upon the PTI to hold its intra-party elections since May 24, 2021 and at that time the PTI was in the federal government and in some provinces.”

Read More: PTI loses “bat” as SC declares PHC verdict null and void

“Therefore, it cannot be stated that ECP was victimising PTI. Nonetheless we wanted to satisfy ourselves that the ECP had not acted mala fide of ulterior reason or that PTI was discriminated against; it transpired that ECP had passed orders against 13 other registered political parties which were far more severe than the order passed against PTI,” the order stated.

The order noted “one such case of All Pakistan Muslim League came before this court on Jan 12, 2024 and the order of the ECP delisting the said political party was upheld.”

It added that the “ECP wanted to ensure that the PTI holds intra-party elections for mere production of a certificate stating that such elections were held would not suffice to establish that intra-party elections had been held when a challenge was thrown to such an assertion; nor in our opinion should ECP concerned itself with minor irregularities in the holding of political parties elections.”

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