Will withdrawing election symbol of Bat make a difference to PTI?

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's daughter Benazir Bhutto contested the 1988 elections with a different symbol (arrow).

The electoral history of Pakistan shows that withdrawal of electoral symbols does not affect the vote bank of a political party, if it enjoys strong and deep support of the people.

There is an example of this in the past. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s electoral symbol ‘Sword’ was removed from the Election Commission’s list after the disputed 1977 elections under former military ruler General Zia ul Haq.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s daughter Benazir Bhutto contested the 1988 elections with a different symbol (arrow).

With the new electoral symbol, the Peoples Party emerged as the largest party by winning 94 out of 207 seats in the National Assembly. On the other hand, the establishment-backed lslami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) came second with 56 seats. Nawaz Sharif was leading the IJI alliance.

Thus, in 1988, the PPP was able to form a government together with Altaf Hussain’s MQM, another left-wing party.

In the 1993 elections too, the Pakistan Peoples Party won 86 seats with a new electoral symbol, although the Muslim League (N) won 73 seats and the popular vote.

Currently Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is facing the worst crackdown. Election symbol has been revoked from PTI and most of the leaders are in jails and some are absconding. Many leaders are not being allowed to submit their nomination papers and are being arrested.

On the other hand, many parties, including Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N and the new born Istehkam e Pakistan Party, are being allowed to participate in political activities and elections. Only two months are required for great game results.

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