Islamabad: Ahead of the crucial February 8 general elections in Pakistan, former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was not included in the national poll body’s list of symbols allotted to parties.
PTI is struggling to maintain its presence among the contesting parties amid major legal challenges and cases challenging its existence in the political sphere.
As the crucial polls are fast approaching, political parties and their representatives are in the process of getting their nomination papers approved by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
However, the PTI is facing numerous challeges, including the rejection of many of its candidates and the party symbol itself under scrutiny of the courts.
On Tuesday, the poll body sent details of election symbols of at least 145 political parties to the returning officers (ROs)
But in the list, the PTI’s “bat” symbol is missing.
In a letter to the ROs, the ECP said that the respective election symbol should be allotted to the candidates nominated by the political parties.
“The election symbols of political parties should not be given to any independent candidate.”
ECP sources confirmed that the symbols of some political parties had been withheld to non-conduct of intra-party elections.
Moreover, the appellate tribunals are expected to complete the process of hearing the appeals against acceptance or rejections of nomination papers of candidates for the upcoming elections.
“The tribunal headed by high court judges would conclude hearing of the appeals on Wednesday and the revised list of candidates would be published on Thursday. The withdrawal of nomination papers is scheduled for January 12 and the final list of candidates will also be released on the same day,” a spokesperson of the poll body said.
The ECP’s appellate tribunals have already dismissed appeals of many candidates, including former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and PTI leader Murad Saeed.
However, many other top leaders of PTI have been accepted to contest the elections.
But the question remains if they would be able to contest under the PTI’s bat symbol.
The party leadership has claimed that they were deliberately being targeted by the government and the establishment.
PTI also claims that the road is being cleared for the selection process of is political arch rival and former premier Nawaz Sharif to take power, making the whole election process shrouded with manipulations and serious concerns of transparency.