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‘Bat’ symbol case: no one can interfere in ECP’s domain, says CJP Isa

ISLAMABAD (PEN) : Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa on Friday said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is a constitutional body and no one can interfare in its domain.

He passed these remarks while hearing a petition of the ECP challenging the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) decision to restore the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) iconic ‘bat’ election symbol.

A three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and justices Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Musarrat Hilali, is hearing the case.

On Wednesday, the PHC declared as unconstitutional the ECP decision of revoking the PTI’s bat electoral symbol and rejecting its intra-party polls. The ECP appraoched the SC on Thursday against the PHC decision.

The high court directed the ECP to hand the PTI its electoral symbol back. The court also directed the body to upload the party’s certificate of internal elections on its website.

However, in its petition in the SC, the electoral watchdog contended that the high court’s decision was in violation of the Constitution and the law.

PTI’s intra-party elections, in which Barrister Gohar was elected as chairman of the party after being nominated by PTI founder and former chairman Imran Khan, were held on December 2 on directives issued by the electoral body.

However, the polls drew sharp criticism as estranged PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar announced that he would challenge the entire process.

Babar alleged that PTI had carried out a selection process aimed at throwing out party workers to give the reins to a few lawyers.

On December 22, the electoral body nullified PTI’s intra-party elections, declaring that the party was ineligible for obtaining its traditional electoral symbol of ‘bat’.