Court Bars ECP's Final Ruling on PTI Intra-Party Polls
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) intervened on Monday, halting the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from delivering a conclusive decision in a plea challenging the PTI’s intra-party polls.
A two-member bench at PHC, comprising Justice S.M. Atique Shah and Justice Shakeel Ahmed, acknowledged PTI’s petition and instructed the ECP, the respondent, to proceed with the case. However, they specifically restrained the commission from issuing a final verdict.
“While the respondent ECP is instructed to continue proceedings per the challenged notice, no ultimate order shall be passed against the petitioners,” the court order stated.
The bench adjourned the hearing to December 19 for further deliberations.
During the hearing, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan and senior lawyer Qazi Muhammad Anwar appeared before the bench. Barrister Gohar contended that Akbar S. Babar, the challenger of the intra-party polls, had no association with the party, emphasizing that objections were solely raised against PTI’s intra-party elections among 175 political parties in the nation.
He underscored that these intra-party polls were conducted within constitutional bounds and urged the court to halt the ECP’s final decision until the current petition concludes.
PTI’s petition urged the court to denounce the ECP’s delay in publishing the certificate on its website, labeling it as unauthorized and unlawful in the light of the election schedule under Article 209 (3) of the Elections Act 2017.
Furthermore, the petition sought directives for the ECP to immediately publish PTI’s certificate on its website in the interest of justice.
The interim relief plea asked the court to restrain the ECP from issuing any order against PTI regarding intra-party elections or the allotment of the election symbol (bat) until the petition is conclusively resolved.
Speaking to reporters post-hearing, the PTI chief affirmed the party’s commitment to participating in the elections and criticized any potential alteration to the party’s election symbol by the ECP. He expressed gratitude for the PHC’s decision, hoping for scheduled elections featuring the party’s symbol, the “bat,” on the ballot paper.