The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party on Monday said that it will challenge the election commission’s decision to declare its intra-party polls as unconstitutional and revoke the iconic ‘cricket bat’ symbol in the Peshawar High Court.
A five-member panel of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday rejected the organisational elections of Khan’s party and its plea to have a cricket bat as the electoral symbol for the general elections.
PTI lawyer and central information secretary Mohammad Muazzam Butt on Monday said the party had decided to approach the Peshawar High Court and file a writ petition on December 26, Dawn newspaper reported.
He said the party leadership would file the case and claimed the ECP’s verdict was a “legally flawed” decision.
He added the commission had failed to serve justice in its order.
The electoral watchdog declared void for the second time in less than a month the PTI’s internal elections in which Barrister Gohar Ali Khan was elected as the party’s new chairman.
With this decision, Gohar Khan, a close aide of Khan, 71, lost his position as chairman of PTI, days after his appointment.
Khan, a former iconic international cricketer, is synonymous with the cricket bat. He is lodged in Adiala Jail at Rawalpindi facing multiple cases.
The ECP declared the party ineligible to obtain an election symbol to contest the upcoming general elections on February 8 next year.
“It is held that PTI has not complied with our directions rendered therein order dated November 23 and failed to hold intra-party election following PTI prevailing Constitution, 2019 and Election Act, 2017, and Election Rules, 2017,” the poll body had said in its 11-page order.
The PTI had termed the decision part of the “famous London Plan” and a “disgusting and shameful attempt to stop the party from [participating in the] election”.
It had also claimed that the party would still win the general elections and maintained that it would appeal the decision at every forum.
It asserted that its candidates would contest the polls with the ‘bat’ symbol, come what may.
Butt on Monday claimed that petitions against the PTI’s internal elections were filed in the ECP based on “malicious intent” and “on orders of some people”.
“We are not being provided a level playing field and attempts are being made to keep us away from polls,” the secretary added.
Meanwhile, experts have criticised both the poll watchdog as well as the former ruling party for what they called their contradictory behaviour.
Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat) head Ahmed Bilal Mehboob said Khan’s party should have been more careful about its intra-party polls.
“At the same time we have seen the election commission has been soft over many other things,” he added.
Khan, the PTI founder, had decided to stay away from party elections as it would have invited a legal challenge by his opponents because the ECP disqualified him in the Toshakhana corruption case.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)