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PTI shares 24-point charter of demand with ECP to ensure free and fair polls

PTI workers hoist their party flags at a public gathering in this undated picture. — AFP/File
  • PTI leaders present CoD to CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja.
  • They inform ECP of party’s concerns regarding Feb 8 polls.
  • Party demands ECP give PTI electoral symbol of “bat”.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Wednesday approached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with a 24-point charter of demand (CoD) for “holding of free, fair and transparent general elections,” and providing the party with a “level playing field to conduct poll campaigns freely”, reported The News on Thursday.

PTI’s senior leaders and legal representatives, including Barrister Gohar Ali and Dr Babar Awan, presented the CoD to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja during their 45-minute-long meeting at the ECP Secretariat on Wednesday.

The PTI leaders, during the meeting, communicated their concerns regarding the February 8 elections and discussed the obstacles impeding their campaign in detail.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, PTI spokesperson Barrister Gohar Ali urged ECP to issue the verdict on the petitions filed by the party on October 18 and 30 respectively regarding the electoral symbol and put an end to the uncertainty.

He demanded the ECP should instantly allot the party the electoral symbol of “bat” and provide a level playing field.

Ali claimed that the CEC had assured the delegation that the bat symbol would be given to the PTI and it would be on the ballot paper in the elections.

He said that in the CoD, the PTI also demanded the release and recovery of kidnapped and arrested PTI workers and leaders. Gohar Ali added that they informed the ECP that the PTI was not being allowed to hold public gatherings, rallies and corner meetings on private premises.

The PTI spokesperson pointed out that either their requests for holding public meetings were unduly delayed, or even flatly refused.

During the meeting, he said, they highlighted the challenges being faced by the PTI in holding meetings and printing flags and banners. The party was not even allowed to print party flags and banners, he claimed.

Gohar Ali explained that there were untold obstacles in their election campaign and hence, they requested a notification from the ECP to enable a fair and just electoral process. They also took up the issue of the “illegal release of huge funds by the caretaker government” with the CEC, adding that the caretaker government’s move of releasing funds was beyond their constitutional mandate and authority.

To a question about the PTI chairman, the spokesperson categorically said that Imran Khan would remain the party chief even if he was in “illegal incarceration”, and it was out of the question to minus him from the electoral battle.

He stressed that it was the constitutional responsibility of the ECP to maintain a level playing field for all political parties; therefore, the electoral body should play its constitutional role in this regard.

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