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Supreme Court Wades into Pakistani Symbol Dispute

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The Supreme Court of Pakistan resumed hearing the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) appeal challenging the Peshawar High Court’s decision to reinstate Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) ‘bat’ symbol. Here are the key takeaways from the Friday hearing:

1. Lines Drawn between Bodies: Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa emphasized the distinct roles of the ECP and the Supreme Court. He assured that the apex court wouldn’t “take over” the ECP’s responsibilities unless necessary.

2. Focus on Irregularities: The ECP’s appeal hinges on alleged irregularities in PTI’s internal polls. They highlighted complaints received from within the party itself.

3. Question of Uncontested Polls: The CJP questioned whether the polls were held without any competition for party positions, raising concerns about transparency.

4. PTI’s Defense: PTI counsel argued that the ECP’s appeal is not maintainable and only the affected party, not the commission, can file it. They also defended the validity of the party’s polls.

5. Hearing Adjourned: Due to incomplete arguments and pending documents, the hearing was adjourned till Saturday. Both sides will present further arguments then.

6. Potential Implications: The Supreme Court’s decision could have a significant impact on the upcoming general elections in Pakistan. Reinstating the ‘bat’ symbol could boost PTI’s campaign, while upholding the ECP’s decision might create hurdles for the party.

7. Transparency and Fairness: The case highlights the importance of transparency and fairness in party elections. Proper internal polls and adherence to regulations are crucial for building trust and ensuring a level playing field in any democracy.

This is a developing story, and further developments will be revealed as the hearing continues on Saturday.

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