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Thursday, June 13, 2024  
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What experts have to say after PTI’s intra-party polls declared ‘void’

ECP deems PTI intra-party polls ‘unconstitutional’
In this file photo, supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) hold a giant cricket bat with the colors and initials of the party as they cheer during a political campaign rally by Imran Khan in Multan on July 20, 2018. AFP
In this file photo, supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) hold a giant cricket bat with the colors and initials of the party as they cheer during a political campaign rally by Imran Khan in Multan on July 20, 2018. AFP

The former ruling party, PTI, was not the only one shocked after the country’s top electoral authority decision to declare their intra-party polls “unconstitutional”. Many experts believed that it was “unprecedented” for the polls overseer to give such a decision.

In a reserved decision on Friday, the Election Commission of Pakistan declared that the PTI’s intra-party elections were null and void. It also revoked the party’s claim to its electoral symbol—bat.

The commission also used the word “alleged chairman” for Barrister Gohar Khan, who succeeded Imran Khan on Dec 2 as party chairman.

According to senior journalist Mazhar Abbas, the ECP created history on Friday by rejecting the intra-party elections of any party.

“ECP has deprived PTI from its election symbol ‘BAT.’ In the past PPP had also been deprived from its elections symbol, sword under Gen Zia,” Abbas said.

The ECP’s decision had come a day after the Peshawar High Court ordered it to announce a decision on the intra-party polls and electoral symbol before December 22.

According to the Imran Khan-led party, they are not even given a field to contest the February 8 general elections amid a level playing field demand from the PPP.

Meanwhile, US scholar Michael Kugelman was of the view that the party has managed to persevere despite many obstacles.

“It’s yet another blow to PTI’s reelection prospects. But I’d also argue that this latest move says something about the party’s resilience-no matter what’s been thrown at it, it’s managed to persevere,” Kugleman, who is the South Asia Institute director at The Wilson Center.

Baqir Sajjad, Pakistan fellow at The Wilson Center, said that the ECP’s decision raised many concerns about fairness in the election process.

Such actions could potentially undermine the credibility of the elections, Sajjad said as he called for impartiality in the electoral system.

“It’s important for the ECP to ensure transparency and avoid decisions, like depriving PTI of its symbol, which may appear to target a specific political party, preserving the integrity of the democratic process,” he said.

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