Peshawar High Court Restores PTI’s ‘Bat’ Symbol, Nullifying ECP Decision

In a significant development, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) has overturned the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) ruling and reinstated the ‘cricket bat’ symbol to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The ECP had nullified PTI’s internal elections on December 22, leading to the removal of the iconic symbol.

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On December 26, the PHC, under the leadership of Justice Kamran Hayat Miankhel, suspended the ECP’s decision and directed the commission to publish PTI’s certificate on its website while restoring the ‘cricket bat’ as the electoral symbol. The ECP, in response, filed an intra-court appeal on December 30 to challenge the PHC’s decision.

Today, a two-member bench, comprising Justice Ejaz Anwar and Justice Syed Arshad Ali, announced the verdict, directing the ECP to upload PTI’s intra-party polls certificate on its website. The ruling stated, “The PTI is entitled to the ‘bat’ symbol and should be given the same as its electoral symbol.”

The petition challenging the ECP order was filed by PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali and other party leaders, arguing that the ECP’s decision was illegal and lacked jurisdiction.

During the hearing, Justice Anwar commented on the constant change of the ‘ladla’ (blue-eyed boy) title within the party. Advocates representing PTI members highlighted concerns about lack of transparency and adherence to the party’s constitution during the intra-party polls.

PTI lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar clarified the jurisdiction of the PHC under Article 199, stating that as the intra-polls were held in Peshawar, it falls under the court’s jurisdiction. He emphasized that the ECP took no punitive action and only nullified the intra-party polls.

In a related development, the ECP sent details of election symbols to returning officers, assigning PTI the ‘ballay baz’ (batsman) symbol. However, PTI was missing from the list of election symbols initially, leading to questions about its participation in the upcoming elections.