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PTI to Navigate Election Arena without ‘Bat’ as SC Nullifies PHC Order

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) suffered a significant setback on Saturday as the Supreme Court overturned the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) January 10 ruling, stripping the former ruling party of its ‘iconic’ bat symbol just days before the general elections.

A three-member bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and including Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarrat Hilali, delivered the verdict following a day-long hearing.

The Election Commission (ECP) had, on December 22, prohibited the PTI from retaining its ‘bat’ symbol for the upcoming February elections, citing irregularities in their internal polls that contravened the party’s own constitution and election laws.

In response to the ECP’s decision, the PTI contested it in the PHC. Initially, a single-member judge provided temporary relief by reinstating the bat symbol and referred the case to a larger bench for a hearing on January 9.

However, on December 30, the ECP challenged the PHC’s jurisdiction over the matter. In a surprising turn of events, the PHC reversed its previous decision and upheld the ECP’s order.

Faced with the possibility of losing its iconic cricket bat symbol for the upcoming elections, the PTI escalated the matter to the Supreme Court. In a tactical move, they later withdrew their appeal, anticipating a favorable outcome from the PHC.

The PTI’s strategy paid off as the PHC, on Wednesday, declared the ECP’s order “illegal, without any lawful authority and of no legal effect.” Nevertheless, the ECP challenged this 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 failing to comply with the PHC’s order.

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