Imran Khan’s party approaches court against election commission’s order for intra-party polls within 20 days

Imran Khan’s party approaches court against election commission’s order for intra-party polls within 20 days

Karachi, Nov 25 (PTI) Alleging “complete connivance” to keep it away from general elections, jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s party has moved the Sindh High Court against the election commission's directive to hold intra-party elections within 20 days to retain ‘bat’ as its electoral symbol.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party sought directives for respondents to give a level playing field to all political parties for upcoming general elections and hold free and fair polls under judicial oversight through the appointment of judicial officers as district returning officers.

General elections are scheduled to be held in Pakistan on February 8.

The petition, which cited the Federation through cabinet secretary, chief secretary and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as respondents, was filed by PTI’s Sindh president Haleem Adil Shaikh and retired Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi through their counsel on Friday, the Dawn newspaper reported on Saturday.

The petition was filed on Friday, a day after the ECP ordered the cricketer-turned-politician's party to hold intra-party elections within 20 days to retain the bat as its poll symbol stating that it did not conduct transparent elections according to its Constitution.

The ECP also sought a comprehensive report within the next seven days.

The petitioners alleged a “complete connivance” between the respondents indicated an effort to prevent the PTI from elections and asserted that the party faced numerous challenges, including cases against its leadership, and restrictions on freedom of speech.

The party further alleged that it was not allowed to hold conventions and meetings and authorities were demolishing the houses of the party’s leaders. These actions were aimed at sidelining the party from participating freely in the elections and a systematic effort to curb its influence and suppress the fundamental rights of its members, the PTI said.

The petitioners also alleged that they were under “severe apprehension that all such was done to give the election symbol of PTI to another ‘favorite’ party of the respondents.” Khan, being a former iconic international cricketer, is considered synonymous with the (cricket) bat. He is lodged in Adiala Jail at Rawalpindi facing dozens of cases.

The election commission had in August given a final warning to the PTI to hold the polls or it could be declared ineligible to obtain an election symbol.

The PTI elections were due on June 13, 2021, under the party’s Constitution but an extension was granted by the election body. Finally, the party held the election on June 10, 2022 but the ECP rejected it, saying that the party had amended its Constitution two days before holding the polls. PTI NPK AKJ NPK NPK

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