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Supreme Court Forms Bench to Hear PTI’s Plea for Restoration of Bat Symbol

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has established a three-member bench to address the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) plea for the reinstatement of its bat symbol ahead of the scheduled general elections on February 8. Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa will lead the bench, joined by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarrat Hilali.

The PTI had challenged the Peshawar High Court’s decision that reinstated the Election Commission of Pakistan’s December 22 order, declaring the PTI’s intra-party polls “unconstitutional” and revoking the party’s ‘bat’ electoral symbol. Initially, the plea wasn’t scheduled for a hearing, but the Supreme Court fixed it for January 10.

Barrister Gohar Khan, representing the PTI, argued that the Election Commission’s petition was inadmissible and urged the Supreme Court to nullify the Peshawar High Court’s order. The petitioner alleged discrimination by the Election Commission, claiming the electoral symbol was “snatched” without a proper decision and that the high court overlooked essential facts in its ruling.

In a separate development, former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were indicted in the Toshakhana reference by the Accountability Court in Islamabad. The charges revolve around Khan and Bibi allegedly obtaining billions of rupees and land from Bahria Town Ltd for legalizing Rs50 billion. The court adjourned the hearing to January 11, rejecting Khan’s post-arrest bails in both the Toshakhana and £190 million references.

The case contends that Khan and Bibi received 108 gifts from various heads of state during their time in power, keeping 58 valuable gifts. The indictment further alleges Bibi kept gifts worth around Rs140 million, and Khan retained a jewelry set from the Saudi crown prince after paying a minimal amount to the national exchequer. The National Accountability Bureau is set to present approximately 20 witnesses, including an approver, against the accused.

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