PTI leader Barrister Gohar Ali Khan on Friday expressed disappointment at the Supreme Court’s decision on the party’s iconic electoral symbol ‘bat’ and called it a “big punishment”.

After marathon hearings last week, a three-member apex court bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa — upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan’s Dec 22 decision to declare the PTI’s intra-party polls as “unconstitutional” and revoke its electoral symbol.

As a result, the party’s members would now be contesting the elections as independent candidates with different electoral symbols and the party no longer has the right to reserved seats for women and minorities.

Earlier this week, Barrister Gohar said the PTI would soon issue a list of party-affiliated candidates for the February 8 polls on its social media channels but expressed fear that the SC judgment would increase horse-trading.

Meanwhile, incarcerated PTI founder Imran Khan said he had assigned the task of awarding party tickets to Omar Ayub and Shibli Faraz as he was not allowed to deliberate on the tickets and got little input about the candidates.

During a conversation with reporters at Adiala Jail, Imran said the PTI would spring a “surprise” on Feb 8 through its ‘Plan C’ but did not elaborate further.

In an interview on Dawn News programme ‘Doosra Rukh’ today, Barrister Gohar was questioned about the SC verdict.

“This is not the Qazi Faez Isa I was expecting,” he responded, saying that he had always respected the CJP during the latter’s time at the Balochistan High Court. “In this case, I was 100 per cent expecting a different output,” Barrister Gohar said.

When asked whether the reference filed against Justice Isa during the PTI government’s tenure had a role in recent judgments against the party, Gohar said the CJP should have set aside all the other things.

“You cannot give such a big punishment to a political party,” he said.

Gohar also alleged that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif played a big role in revoking the PTI’s electoral symbol. “Nawaz brings the umpire into the game and plays with him. This time, he’s playing a kind of game in which he is not allowing our team to play,” he claimed.

“The umpire is with Nawaz, everything has been prepared for him,” Gohar claimed, adding that a “democracy should be run like a democracy”. “The clash of the titans has to come to an end,” he added.

Questioned about PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar, Gohar said he was a “planted individual who works on other people’s directions”. “When has he done anything for this party?” he questioned. “He is not our member, nor has he been in the past 13 years.”

Gohar also confirmed that no one had been in contact with Imran at Adiala Jail, saying that the PTI founder was in “no mood” to meet anyone.

The PTI leader also appreciated President Arif Alvi, who he confirmed was “still with” the PTI. He requested Alvi to fulfil his role as the head of state and ensure that elections were held in a free, fair and transparent manner.

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