The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday ruled that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) intra-party polls were not transparent, ordering the party to hold new elections if it wishes to retain its “bat” symbol.
The PTI has been asked by the commission to hold fresh elections within 20 days in a reserved verdict announced today.
In the verdict, the ECP stated that the PTI failed to hold free and fair intra-party elections, adding that the polls were objectionable and controversial.
“PTI’s intra-party elections cannot be accepted,” stated the verdict, directing it to hold polls and submit the record within seven days.
The ECP had issued notices to the PTI for not holding intra-party polls on August 2 and reserved its verdict on the matter on September 13.
Today’s verdict will be a worry for the PTI as most of its leadership, including Chairman Imran Khan, his deputy Shah Mahmood Qureshi and party president Pervaiz Elahi, are in jail or have deserted the party following the crackdown launched against them after the May 9 riots.
PTI lawyer Barrister Gohar, in his media talk outside the ECP office, said that he was disappointed with the verdict.
“Election Commission did not fulfill the requirements of justice,” said Gohar. He also alleged that the ECP delayed the announcement of the verdict for a “special purpose”.
“The bat symbol will remain with us. We will challenge this order on an appropriate forum,” said Gohar.