After the Peshawar High Court (PHC) temporarily revoked its decision regarding the PTI intra-party polls and reinstated the party’s electoral symbol ‘bat,’ the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is contemplating approaching the Supreme Court to challenge the single-bench order.
Insiders revealed that the commission extensively discussed the PHC order and is considering various options to overturn it. A senior official stated, “In all likelihood, we will be challenging the order before the Supreme Court.” The commission plans to meet again to finalize this decision.
During the PHC proceedings on Tuesday, Justice Kamran Hayat questioned the legal basis for the ECP to declare intra-party elections null and void while suspending the order related to PTI polls. An ECP official raised objections, emphasizing that a single bench should not have issued such an order.
The ECP has also confirmed its intention to appeal to the Supreme Court against the PHC’s suspension of the commission’s order appointing Irfanullah as the returning officer (RO) for PK-91 (Kohat-II). This decision, made on Wednesday, comes after careful consideration and legal consultations. The ECP official highlighted that, following the PHC order, the constituency is now technically without a returning officer, making it challenging for the ECP to conduct elections.
Expressing frustration, the official complained about the increasing burden on the commission due to numerous delimitation cases being referred even after the final delimitation lists were published. He also stressed the need to allow the ECP to carry out its duties without interference in the appointment of returning officers.
On a different note, the ECP asserted that all operational and IT systems were functioning satisfactorily. The commission defended its ‘automated and modern’ Election Management System (EMS) developed for the February 8 polls. The statement emphasized the completion of preparations and testing of the automated system. Additional features were added to assist returning officers, ensuring data storage during the initial stages of elections. The ECP clarified that the EMS, used only on polling day, poses no threat to the transmission and tabulation of election results, dismissing baseless fears and apprehensions.