In fresh blow, LHC dismisses PTI’s petition seeking restoration of ‘bat’ symbol

  • PTI leader sought to regain his party’s electoral symbol in Punjab.
  • Petitioner claims the symbol was illegally withdrawn.
  • Lawyer laments different tactics to create hurdles for PTI.

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday dismissed the plea challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order declaring Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) intra-party polls as “unconstitutional” — the decision that also revoked the party’s iconic bat electoral symbol. 

LHC Justice Jawad Hassan announced the reserved verdict and declared PTI leader Umar Aftab Dhillon’s petition inadmissible. 

The PTI leader seeking to regain his party electoral symbol in Punjab, pleaded with the court on Wednesday to rescind the commission’s order and direct it to publish the PTI’s certificate for the intra-party election on its website.

The petitioner claimed that the symbol was illegally withdrawn as the matter of intra-party polls did not fall within the jurisdiction of the electoral body. He said the ECP was not a court of law and it could not question the validity of appointments within a party or intra-party election.

The complainant’s lawyer said different tactics were being adopted to create hurdles for the PTI candidates as first they were being stopped from filing nomination papers and then they were not being allowed to use the ‘bat’ symbol.

During the arguments, the PTI lawyer said the Peshawar High Court (PHC) had reinstated the party’s electoral symbol. Upon which, Justice Jawad had said the PHC verdict on an appeal against the order was still pending.

The government’s lawyer rendered the plea non-maintainable saying the PTI leader was not directly affected. 

A day earlier, the PHC restored the Election Commission’s Dec 22 order declaring PTI’s intra-party elections as unconstitutional.

The decision deprives the PTI of its head and the electoral symbol. A single bench of the high court — headed by Justice Ijaz Khan — vacated the single bench’s Dec 26 stay order, which had suspended the ECP’s decision till January 9 and allowed the PTI to use ‘bat’ as its symbol.

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