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Supporters of Pakistani cricket star-turned-politician and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan holds a giant cricket bat with the colours and initials of the party as they cheer during a political campaign rally by Khan's ahead of the general election in Multan on July 20, 2018. Pakistan will hold the general election on July 25, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SS MIRZA

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Lahore High Court Seeks ECP Response on PTI Petition for Bat Symbol Restoration

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and other relevant parties, seeking their responses to a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The PTI is requesting the restoration of their election symbol, the ‘bat’.

A five-member larger bench, led by Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza, is hearing the PTI’s petition against the Election Commission’s decision to withdraw their election symbol. The bench also includes Justices Shahid Karim, Shehram Sarwar Chaudhary, Jawad Hassan, and Risal Hussain.

In their petition to the LHC, the PTI argues that the ECP’s move to withdraw their election symbol ahead of the general elections is unlawful. They are requesting that the ECP’s actions against the party’s intra-party elections be declared null and void. The petition also seeks to declare sections 215, 209, and 208 of the Election Act 2017 as unconstitutional. Additionally, the PTI demands that the ECP be restrained from taking any further action against them and that their election symbol, the ‘bat’, be restored.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Aziz Bhandari, representing the petitioner, argued that the Supreme Court had previously directed political parties to challenge the sections of the Election Act that permit the Election Commission to withdraw party election symbols. The LHC is now considering the PTI’s request to have their election symbol restored and to declare the Election Commission’s actions against the party unlawful.

The petitioner’s counsel further argued that Article 17 of the Constitution allows for a ban on a political party only on two grounds: the integrity and survival of Pakistan. He contended that any ban on a political party must be based on these constitutional provisions.

The court is currently reviewing the PTI’s request for the return of their party symbol and will hear arguments from all parties involved before making a decision.

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