Islamabad (AFP) – Pakistan’s election commission on Thursday ordered jailed ex-premier Imran Khan’s party to hold leadership polls to retain its voting symbol in next year’s general election.
Since being ousted in 2022, Khan has been tangled in a slew of legal cases he says are designed to stop him from contesting polls due in February, while his party has faced a massive crackdown.
In the latest decision, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has ordered the former cricketer’s party to hold intra-party elections in 20 days to retain its longstanding poll symbol: a cricket bat.
Election symbols are crucial in a country where the adult literacy rate is just 58 per cent, according to World Bank data.
“In case, the respondent party failed to comply with the direction of the Commission and failed to hold its intra-party election within the prescribed 20 days… (it) would be ineligible to obtain an election symbol,” the ECP ruling said.
Under Pakistan’s election rules, political parties are bound to hold intra-party elections every five years.