ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) suffered a significant blow on Saturday after the Supreme Court annulled the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) January 10 order. This decision deprived the former ruling party of its ‘iconic’ electoral symbol, the bat, just days ahead of the general elections.
The verdict was announced by a three-member bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and including Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarrat Hilali, following a day-long hearing.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had on December 22 barred the PTI party from keeping its ‘bat’ symbol for the upcoming February elections, citing irregularities in their internal polls that did not comply with the party’s own constitution and election laws.
Following the ECP’s decision to revoke their symbol, the PTI challenged it in the PHC. A single-member judge granted temporary relief, reinstated the bat symbol, and referred the case to a larger bench for a hearing on January 9.
Then, on December 30, the polling body challenged the PHC’s jurisdiction over the matter. However, in a dramatic turn of events, the PHC reversed its earlier decision and upheld the ECP’s order.
Facing the prospect of losing its iconic cricket bat symbol for the upcoming elections, the PTI took its fight to the highest court in the land — the Supreme Court. However, in a strategic move, they later withdrew their appeal, hoping for a favourable outcome from the PHC.
And the PTI did get what it wanted. The PHC on Wednesday declared the commission’s order “illegal, without any lawful authority and of no legal effect”. However, the ECP challenged its decision in the country’s top court on Thursday.
Subsequently, the PTI also filed a plea in the PHC against Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and other ECP members for not following up on the PHC’s order.