Pakistan elections: Imran Khan's party election symbol restored by court

The election commission had earlier revoked PTI's right to use the cricket bat logo over the party's failure to hold internal elections in accordance with its constitution


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Imran Khan. Photo: File
Imran Khan. Photo: File

Published: Tue 26 Dec 2023, 5:59 PM

A Pakistan court ruled on Tuesday ex-prime minister Imran Khan's party can contest elections using its cricket bat logo, lawyers said, winning the jailed opposition leader a rare reprieve before polls due in February.

In a nation where the adult literacy rate is just 58 percent, according to World Bank data, election symbols are vital campaign tools for differentiating candidates on ballot papers.

But last week, the election commission stripped former cricket star Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party of the right to use its icon.

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"The election commission's ruling against PTI, in which its election symbol, the cricket bat, was unjustly revoked through an illegal order, has been suspended," said PTI lawyer Syed Ali Zafar.

"It has been further directed that our symbol be reinstated," Zafar told reporters outside a high court in the northwestern city of Peshawar, where PTI lodged an appeal.

Pakistan's election commission revoked PTI's right to use the symbol in polls set for February 8 over the party's failure to hold internal elections in accordance with its constitution.

But PTI said the decision was the latest legal hurdle erected in a campaign to prevent its 71-year-old figurehead from contesting re-election.

Hugely popular Khan was ousted last year after falling out with Pakistan's powerful military leaders, then waging an unprecedented campaign of defiance against them.

He is currently jailed and facing numerous graft cases and allegations he leaked classified state documents, a crime carrying a prison term of up to 14 years or even the death penalty.

After his arrest this year sparked unrest, PTI has been the subject of a widespread crackdown, with leading party figures either jailed or forced to leave the party.

PTI turned in nomination papers for Khan on Friday, but they may be challenged on the basis of the electoral commission having disqualified him from office over a graft conviction earlier this year.


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