PTI denies boycotting elections despite SC verdict

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan on Monday said his party would not boycott the upcoming general elections, scheduled for February 8, despite the Supreme Court s (SC) verdict that upheld the Dec 22 decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) depriving PTI of its iconic symbol — bat , ARY News reported.

Speaking to journalists outside Adiala Jail, Barrister Gohar noted that PTI would issue a list of candidates – contesting elections independently following SC s verdict – with their respective electoral symbols.

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

As a result, the PTI candidates will now be contesting the elections independently with different electoral symbols while the party no longer has the right to reserved seats for women and minorities.

Barrister Gohar dubbed the SC verdict “a huge loss of democracy”, saying that it had affected the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan. “A conspiracy against democracy has succeeded, and the decision will give birth to a new wave of corruption,” he maintained.

However, the PTI chairman said, the Supreme Court s decision would not stop the party. “We won t boycott Feb 8 elections and God willing fully participate in them,” he vowed.

Furthermore, Gohar Ali Khan said that the party would definitely file a review petition against the SC judgment, noting that a five-member apex court bench should have heard the matter.

He pointed out that the PTI would upload a list of party candidates and their electoral symbols on all social media platforms, within three days.

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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