The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday claimed that its splinter group — Tehreek-i-Insaf Nazriati — reneged on an agreement permitting PTI leaders to participate in elections using the latter’s electoral symbol.

The disclosure was made by PTI spokesperson Raoof Hassan while speaking during Geo News talk show Naya Pakistan.

Earlier in a post on X, PTI’s official account said: “Whoever has PTI-Nazriati tickets should immediately submit them and take any kind of hindrance to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and high courts.”

The party issued the directives while the Supreme Court heard ECP’s petition challenging the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) decision to restore the PTI’s electoral symbol, the “bat”.

However, at a press conference later in the day, PTI-N chief Akhtar Iqbal Dar objected to PTI candidates going to returning officers with PTI Nazriati tickets.

“I was surprised by the move. Where did they take the tickets from? PTI Nazriati tickets were issued by myself. I have pictures with all the candidates,” Dar claimed.

“I can’t understand how the tickets were drafted and why. You should ask them. My tickets bear the symbol of a batsman. I even told the ROs about this,” he added.

He said the PTI Nazriati group would also issue a list of their candidates.

However, PTI’s Raoof Hasan later contended that the press conference by PTI Nazriati chief Akhar Dar resembled those held by former party leaders before departing from the PTI.

Hasan said: “Akhtar Iqbal Dar had already signed a contract with us that bore his signatures. It’s a MoU. Those tickets also bore his signatures and he signed all the tickets sitting in our office.”

“Despite that, he held a press conference and made wrong claims,” he said, alleging: “So obviously there would be some pressure on him just like other leaders who conducted pressers earlier.”

PTI submits request to ECP

Meanwhile, PTI leader Shoaib Shaheen submitted a plea to the ECP, requesting the electoral watchdog to accept the PTI Nazriati tickets awarded to candidates.

The plea, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, stated that PTI candidates were facing troubles in filing PTI Nazriati tickets to returning officers (ROs).

It urged the ECP to give instructions to the respective ROs in this regard.

ECP issues warning to returning officers

On the other hand, the electoral watchdog issued a statement saying attempts were being made to deceive the commission through aforementioned requests.

It highlighted that the ECP had strictly ordered that a party’s electoral symbol should not be allotted to another party’s candidate.

The order warned political party candidates to not go and ask for another political party’s symbol, directing ROs to comply with the ECP orders.

It also cited that according to the Election Act of 2017 a candidate had to submit his party certificate to the ECP. The order concluded that any person could not be a candidate from two political parties at the same time.

After sensing the danger of losing its iconic symbol, the party had chalked out its plan B: allying with its splinter PTI-Nazriati group to use the ‘batsman’ symbol for its candidates, Dawn reported.

Sources privy to the developments had said that an accord had been reached between the two parties after negotiations.

“After the ECP went to the Supreme Court against the decision of the PHC, the party’s leadership mulled over the option for an alternative electoral symbol,” a source in the PTI told Dawn. “The need was aggravated after remarks passed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa during a hearing on Friday.”

PTI officials believe that the “bat” and “batsman” symbols are similar, making it easier for voters to identify with PTI, the source had explained.

“The chairman of PTI-Nazriati, Akhtar Iqbal Dar, had agreed to issue tickets to PTI’s candidates on the symbol of batsman,” another source had said.

The PTI leadership had taken the decision to woo the Nazriati group, considering the possibility that the ECP would grant separate symbols to each party candidate, which would confuse voters.

“If the bat is denied, the PTI could inculcate easily in the voters’ minds to stamp on the batsman,” the source had said.

Interestingly, the PTI initially never wanted the “batsman” symbol allocated to its splinter group. It had urged the ECP in June 2022 not to allot the symbol to PTI-Nazriati, arguing that it would create confusion among the voters. However, the ECP did not entertain PTI’s request.

The sources could not confirm the conditions under which PTI-Nazriati agreed to issue its tickets to PTI’s candidates.

When contacted, a PTI-Nazriati official, who answered the call on the cell number of party chairman Akhtar Iqbal Dar, had refused to comment. “We cannot comment on this issue right now,” he had said.

A spokesman for the PTI said the party was ready to accommodate some of the PTI-Nazriati candidates, hoping that its list of demands would not be a long one.

Meanwhile, the electoral watchdog, in a press release, announced an extension of two hours to the deadline for the allotment of the election symbol for political parties.

The ECP noted that it was the last day for the allotment of the electoral symbol.

Opinion

Editorial

Debt trap
Updated 30 May, 2024

Debt trap

The task before the government is to boost its tax-to-GDP ratio to the global average by taxing the economy’s untaxed and undertaxed sectors.
Foregone times
30 May, 2024

Foregone times

THE past, as they say, is a foreign country. It seems that the PML-N’s leadership has chosen to live there. Nawaz...
Margalla fires
30 May, 2024

Margalla fires

THE Margalla Hills — the sprawling 12,605-hectare national park — were once again engulfed in flames, with 15...
First steps
Updated 29 May, 2024

First steps

One hopes that this small change will pave the way for bigger things.
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...