PTI Loses ‘Balla’ Symbol as Election Commission Decides Intra-Party Elections Inadequate

In a significant decision, the Election Commission has revoked the electoral symbol ‘Balla’ from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), asserting that the party failed to comply with their directives during the intra-party elections.

The detailed verdict by the Election Commission highlighted that PTI’s intra-party elections faced challenges raised by rival parties, including political financier Wang’s objections to the intra-party elections. Wang had previously raised objections to the appointment of Niaz Allah Niazi as Chief Election Commissioner, contending that Umar Ayub could not be appointed as Secretary-General without due process.

Moreover, the decision emphasized that the Election Commission’s Chief Election Commissioner of PTI lacked the authority to conduct elections. It clarified that, according to PTI’s constitution, the Federal Election Commissioner is appointed for a term of five years and that the removal of Jamal Akbar Ansari as Chief Election Commissioner did not have any associated documentation or agreement.

Additionally, the verdict noted that PTI’s legal counsel admitted that PTI did not follow the procedural steps in the appointment of its Chief Election Commissioner. The objections raised included the denial of candidacy permission to any member and the absence of nomination documents at PTI’s office.

Before this decision, the Election Commission had urged PTI to conduct intra-party elections again, leading to the election of Gohar Khan as the unopposed Chairman. However, Akbar Ayub filed an application in the Election Commission challenging that PTI’s elections did not comply with its constitution.

Following the decision, Barrister Gohar Ali ceased to be the Chairman of PTI. The Peshawar High Court initially restrained the Election Commission from implementing the decision but later directed compliance.

Previously, a PTI delegation had met with the Election Commission to discuss concerns. The PTI delegation expressed confidence that the Election Commission of Pakistan would play its role in ensuring transparent and fair elections.

The situation underscores the intricate landscape of political processes in Pakistan, where internal party dynamics, adherence to constitutional protocols, and legal challenges contribute to the complexity of electoral proceedings. The Election Commission’s decision is pivotal, shaping the future trajectory of PTI’s internal governance and electoral participation.