SC hears PTI plea seeking level-playing field ahead of elections

PTI submits documents containing evidence of alleged denial of level-playing field

  • PTI claims its candidates harrased, arrested ahead of elections.
  • SC directed ECP to address PTI’s concerns on level-playing field.
  • PTI submits documents to SC containing evidence.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday took up Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) petition seeking contempt of court proceedings for failing to address the party concerns regarding level-playing field ahead of the February 8 general elections.

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musrat Hilali is conducting the hearing.

The proceedings of the case are being broadcast live on SC’s website and YouTube channel.

PTI lawyer Latif Khosa is presenting arguments on behalf of Advocate Shoaib Shaheen, who filed the appeal in the court.

On December 22, The top court directed the ECP to address the PTI’s concerns regarding the level-playing field on the former ruling party’s petition.

In line with the court’s order, the ECP representatives met the PTI delegation and assured them of addressing its grievances in the lead up to the February 8 national vote.

However, the party filed another petition on December 26, seeking contempt of court proceedings against the ECP over the electoral body’s alleged failure to ensure a level-playing field.

In its petition, it lamented the electoral body’s failure to implement the apex court’s directions — despite being notified by the Punjab ECP — wherein it had ordered the poll organising authority to address the PTI’s concerns.

The application referred to the top court’s ruling, in response to the PTI’s earlier petition filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution complaining of being denied equal opportunities in the political arena, where it directed the electoral body to meet with the party’s representatives and address its relevant concerns.

The party, in its recent application, contends that the ECP secretary failed to abide by the apex court’s December 22 verdict as PTI candidates continued to be harassed and arrested even after the top court’s ruling.

Furthermore, the plea — which mentions the ECP and interior secretaries as parties to the case along with the Inspector General Police (IGPs) of all four provinces — also levels serious allegations against the Punjab IG, labelling him as the “mastermind” behind the crackdown against the PTI.

Seeking action against those responsible for violating the court’s order, the party had prayed to the court to ensure that its candidates are allowed to hold rallies and political gatherings.

PTI lawyers submit documents to SC

Ahead of the hearing today, the PTI submitted additional documents containing evidence of the alleged denial of level-playing field to the top court.

In the documents, the SC was informed that the nomination papers of as many as 668 PTI candidates were rejected by returning officers appointed by the ECP.

As many as 56 incidents of nomination papers’ snatching took place while seconders and proposers of the PTI were arrested in different parts of the country, the party said in the documents.

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