ISLAMABAD – Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa emphasised that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is a constitutional body, and external interference in its jurisdiction is impermissible.
He asserted that the Supreme Court will refrain from intervening in the ECP’s domain unless any unconstitutional actions are committed by the ECP, in which case the court would review them.
The Chief Justice made these comments during a hearing on the ECP’s petition against the Peshawar High Court’s decision to restore the electoral symbol “bat” for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice Isa and including Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarat Hilali, conducted the proceedings, which were broadcast live on the Supreme Court’s website and YouTube channel. The hearing was adjourned until 1.30 pm on the same day.
Representatives for PTI, Advocate Hamid Khan and Barrister Ali Zafar, along with senior counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan representing the ECP, presented their arguments. The case originated from the Peshawar High Court’s decision to overturn the ECP’s revocation of the ‘bat’ symbol and rejection of PTI’s intra-party elections.
Chief Justice Isa expressed the court’s commitment to ensuring timely and lawful elections, even suggesting that the court could sacrifice its weekly offs to address election-related cases. The ECP’s counsel, Makhdom Ali Khan, informed the bench that electoral symbols for the February 8 polls would be allocated the following day.
During the hearing, PTI’s counsel challenged the ECP’s right to appeal and questioned the maintainability of their plea, arguing that the ECP is not an affected party.
In response, Chief Justice Isa emphasized the constitutional role of the ECP in managing political affairs and conducting transparent elections. He warned that if the ECP refrains from appealing decisions, its decisions would lose significance.
The discussion also touched on the comparison between a district judge and the ECP, with Chief Justice Isa clarifying the distinction between a constitutional institution and a legal entity. PTI’s counsel maintained that the Election Commission operates within the framework of the Election Act, and Chief Justice Isa acknowledged the objection while emphasizing the unique status of constitutional institutions.