“PTI bat symbol” PTI’s request for contempt proceedings over alleged non-compliance with PHC order prompts ECP response; CJP Isa asserts Supreme Court non-interference.
Islamabad/Peshawar, January 12, 2024: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faiz Isa has emphasized the Supreme Court’s non-interference in the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) affairs, affirming its status as an independent constitutional body responsible for ensuring transparent elections.
CJP Isa made these remarks during a hearing on the ECP’s petition against the Peshawar High Court (PHC) verdict restoring the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) electoral symbol, the bat. The three-member apex court bench, led by CJP Isa and including Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarat Hilali, is overseeing the proceedings, which are publicly accessible on the SC website and YouTube channel.
Advocate Hamid Khan and Barrister Ali Zafar represented PTI, while senior counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan appeared on behalf of the ECP.
The PHC overturned the ECP decision on Wednesday, “PTI bat symbol” prompting PTI leaders to file a joint petition challenging the decision’s legality. In response, the ECP filed a petition for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court against the PHC short order, questioning the justification for disposing of the writ petition through a short order without detailed reasons.
During the hearing, PTI counsel Hamid Khan requested an adjournment until Monday, prompting CJP Isa to assert that the PHC decision would be suspended for three days if adjourned. CJP Isa expressed the court’s willingness to sacrifice weekly off-days to ensure timely and lawful elections.
ECP counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan argued that electoral symbols would be allotted for the February 8 polls the following day. PTI counsel Khan challenged the ECP’s standing, arguing that it cannot challenge the PHC verdict as a non-affected party. CJP Isa highlighted the ECP’s constitutional role in dealing with political parties’ affairs and conducting transparent elections.
The ECP’s counsel contended that PTI’s intra-party elections were secretive and the submitted documents were inconsistent with facts. CJP Isa questioned the circumstances surrounding Asad Umar’s resignation from PTI and noted that PTI may have violated its constitution.
Meanwhile, the PHC issued a notice to the ECP regarding PTI’s plea seeking contempt of court proceedings for the alleged failure to comply with its order on intra-party polls. PTI claimed that the ECP did not publish the certificate of its intra-party polls on its website, as ordered by the PHC, and requested the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the ECP for non-compliance.