ISLAMABAD: A cat had frightened the tiger – election symbol of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz [PML-N] earlier and now a new symbol of batsman has terrified the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [PTI] of Imran Khan, who is considered second-best all-rounder after Garfield Sobers.
Khan might have not been feeling the same on the fields but when it comes to the elections, his party has reasons to be watchful of moves, which according to them, reflect fixing the match or rigging the elections. It was in this backdrop that the party approached Lahore High Court [LHC] with a complaint against the Election Commission of Pakistan [ECP] for inclusion of a new election symbol—batsman.
“The LHC has ordered the commission to remove the new symbol from the list in 10 days,” PTI’s deputy organizer Punjab Umer Sarfraz Cheema told The Express Tribune.
Cheema said that the petition was filed earlier this month and the court issued directions for the commission but the decision is yet to be implemented despite lapse of the timeframe given by the court.
“PTI Punjab Organizer Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar and I will meet provincial election commissioner [Punjab] on October 28,” and take up this issue along with several others related to the local government elections in Punjab, Cheema said.
PTI’s information Secretary Naeemul Haq also issued a statement saying the symbol of batsman was included in the list willfully to create confusion among the voters. “The decision to include symbol of batsman by the ECP is a cause of concern [for PTI],” he added.
Haq did not miss the opportunity to censure the poll body and said that the “commission makes efforts to make the polling process controversial.”
The election symbol of PTI is a cricket bat and is of the view that printing of batsman on the ballot paper, who would be carrying a bat, might create confusion for its voters. The party said that the symbol of batsman was being issued by the commission to several independent candidates particularly in Lahore.
On the other hand, the ECP had included over three dozen new symbols after approval of President Mamnoon Hussain after political parties outnumbered election symbols.
According to details, new registrations in the past two years have raised the number of political parties to 307, and the number of available symbols was 171.
Power of the symbol
Considering the low literacy rate in the country, political parties attach a lot of importance to having an election symbol – and one that stands out. Hardly any voter reads manifestos of political parties. Grand logos are sometimes employed to persuade the undecided or uninformed voters.
Emblems are printed next to the candidates’ names on the ballot papers. Those who cannot read, recognise their preferred candidates with the help of the symbols.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2015.