Bat symbol’ case: Chief Justice of Pakistan says SC ‘won’t take over’ election commission’s job


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa on Friday said that the Supreme Court would not “take over” the job of the election commission, as it took up the poll body’s petition challenging the Peshawar High Court’s decision to restore jailed former premier Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party’s ‘bat’ election symbol. A three-member bench – comprising CJP Isa, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, and Justice Musarrat Hilali – heard the case.
Responding to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) counsel Hamid Khan’s arguments, Justice Isa noted that there was a “very clear line of demarcation” between the functions of a constitutional and a statutory body.
He remarked, “If they’re (ECP) doing their job, we won’t take over their job [or] how to do it [or] how better to do it.”
At one point during the hearing, CJP Isa observed, “The election commission is not just a quasi-judicial body. It is a constitutional body.”
“It has two functions; one [is] regulating the affairs of political parties, which is an ongoing exercise, and the other is free and fair elections,” he added.
On December 22, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided against letting PTI retain its electoral symbol for the general elections, saying that it had failed to hold intra-party polls as per its prevailing constitution and election laws.
Subsequently, the PTI approached the Peshawar High Court (PHC) against the ECP order on Dec 26 and a single-member bench restored the electoral symbol of the party till January 9 and directed that the case be fixed before a divisional bench.
In a major relief for PTI, the Peshawar High Court on Wednesday declared as unconstitutional the election commission’s decision revoking the jailed former premier’s party’s cricket ‘bat’ electoral symbol and rejecting its organisational polls.
It also directed the electoral body to return the PTI party its iconic cricket ‘bat’ electoral symbol back and upload the party’s certificate of internal elections on its website, Dawn newspaper reported.
During Friday’s hearing, Hamid appeared as the PTI counsel while Makhdoom Ali Khan was present as the ECP lawyer.