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Wednesday, May 22, 2024  
13 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

ECP reserves decision on pleas against PTI’s intra-party elections

Despite being unopposed we allowed everyone to gather for intra-party polls, says Barrister Ali Zafar

A five-member bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan reserved its decision on Monday on the pleas against the PTI’s intra-party elections.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja presided over the bench. One of the petitioners, Akbar S Babar, was also present in the court. Babar is one of the founding members of the PTI.

As many as 13 petitions have been filed against the party’s intra-party polls whereas the Hum Awam Pakistan Party has filed a plea in the ECP for the symbol of bat.

On December 8, the ECP on Friday issued a notice to the PTI in response to pleas that alleged that the intra-party elections were “rigged and fraudulent”.

Babar had filed the plea the conduct of intra-party polls that saw Barrister Gohar succeeding Imran Khan as PTI chairman.

Last week, the Peshawar High Court stopped the polls overseer from issuing final orders in a petition challenging the PTI’s intra-party polls.

A two-member PHC bench comprising Justice SM Atique Shah and Justice Shakeel Ahmed directed the respondent to continue with the proceedings, but restrained it from issuing a final order.

Arguments by Barrister Ali Zafar

Barrister Ali Zafar informed the court that the intra-party elections were again held within 20 days on the order of the polls overseer. A party chairman is elected for five years, he added.

According to the party’s constitution, he said that the party holds panel and single types of election. Zafar the PTI chief was elected unopposed.

He added that intra-party elections were held through secret ballots,

The party constitution only mentions secret ballot papers, Zafar said and added that the ECP does not regulate intra-party elections as election tribunals.

While mentioning the ECP decision, he said that whoever is not the member of party cannot challenge the party’s decision. He also read the polls overseer decision during the hearing.

The barrister stated that a member has to pay fees to remain in the party. Section 208 (elections within a political party) of the Election Act stated that the body of a political party would be elected as per its constitution.

The PTI’s lawyer said that all the political parties have to complete the “electoral college.” When the political party failed to conduct the intra-party elections within the stipulated time, he said the ECP would issue a show cause notice and fine the party concerned up to Rs200,000.

According to the Election Act, he said there were conditions for the election symbol that the party has fulfilled. The election symbol was obtained after giving four different documents, Zafar said.

An ECP member asked about the copy of nomination papers or any copy of notice regarding nomination papers for their satisfaction. To this, PTI’s Gohar replied in affirmative but added that he did not bring it in the court.

Zafar informed the court that the party invited everyone to gather for election despite having any contender. He added that none of the electorate body complained about the election, except non-members. The PTI was the only party that has everything on the internet, he added.

To this, the CEC said that even rallies were now held on the internet.

The commission reserved its decision after hearing the arguments.

Later, PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar claimed that he was not provided with the nomination papers despite arriving at the party’s central office.

“I urged the workers to stand with us against the injustices. I am not only a member but a founding member of the PTI as per court verdict,” he told media outside the ECP office.

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