Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a warning to the former ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), cautioning them that they may lose their election symbol due to their failure to hold intra-party elections.

In a notice issued on Wednesday, the top electoral body summoned PTI Chairman Imran Khan to appear before them on August 4 (Friday) at 10 am. If he fails to appear, the Commission may declare PTI ineligible to obtain an election symbol for future elections, as per Section 215 (5) of the Elections Act, 2017.

The ECP referred to their previous notices, stating that PTI’s intra-party elections were due on June 13, 2021, as per the party’s constitution. PTI was reminded several times to conduct the elections within the timeframe specified under sections 208, 209, and 215 of the ‘Elections Act, 2017. However, the party failed to provide the required certificate to confirm compliance.

The electoral authority had issued a final notice to PTI in May of the previous year, setting an extended date of 13.06.2022 for conducting the intra-party elections, with no further extension allowed. Despite this, PTI submitted an amended version of their party’s constitution, which was deemed insufficient by the ECP.

The Election Act’s Section 209(1) requires every registered political party to provide the ECP with a certificate verifying the conduct of intra-party elections, and failure to comply empowers the Commission to declare the party ineligible for an election symbol.

Last month, the ECP instructed all political parties to submit their applications for election symbols ahead of the general polls scheduled for later this year. The parties were required to attach a prioritized list of symbols along with their applications, and the party leader’s signature was made mandatory.

Additionally, the address of the political party’s head office must be included in each application. The eligibility of the parties will be checked by the ECP upon receiving the applications.

In 2018, PTI was assigned the ‘bat’ symbol to contest the general elections.

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