PESHAWAR: A single-member bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday reversed the temporary stay order granted on December 26 and reinstated the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) electoral ‘bat’ symbol and intra-party polls.
Justice Ejaz Khan, presiding as the single-member bench, announced the verdict shortly after the court’s earlier reserved decision.
Present in the courtroom were the Election Commission’s lawyer Sikander Bashir Mohmand and PTI’s legal representatives, Advocates Shah Faisal Uthmankhel and Qazi Anwar.
The electoral body had lodged a review plea at the high court against the PHC’s December 26 ruling, which had halted the ECP’s directive, thereby reinstating the party’s ‘bat’ symbol until a final resolution was reached.
On December 22, the ECP had invalidated PTI’s intra-party polls and disallowed the use of the ‘bat’ symbol by the party.
Following this decision, the former ruling party sought reinstatement of its electoral symbol before the general elections scheduled for February 8, citing its significant impact on voter support.
The ECP urged the court to reevaluate PTI’s intra-party elections and the decision regarding the election symbol.
Barrister Asad Rahim Khan mentioned in an interview with a Private TV channel that despite the setback in the PHC, the party still retains the option to approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
“[However, PTI] has a hearing scheduled in the PHC with a division bench on the 9th. Depending on that outcome, they could then take their case to the Supreme Court,” the legal expert added.
Addressing reporters in Rawalpindi, PTI’s former chairman Barrister Gohar Khan stated that after thorough discussions, his party intends to appeal to the apex court, expressing confidence that the SC “will not overlook this issue.”
Gohar emphasized that if the Supreme Court rejects the party’s plea, all PTI ticket holders would contest as independent candidates. However, he lamented that today’s decision has dealt a blow to democracy.