ISLAMABAD - Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday suspended Election Commission’s verdict of issuing open book as an election symbol to Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and sought comments from the electoral body on the issue.

A division bench of IHC, comprising Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi and Justice Shaukat Siddiqui, heard a petition filed by JUI-F General Secretary Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri. In the petition, JUI-F challenged the ECP verdict of allotting open book and requested the court to direct the commission to allot it closed book as an election emblem.

Through his counsel, the JUI-F leader pleaded that his party had been contesting elections since 1996 with closed book as an election symbol, but now the ECP had changed his party’s election symbol. “The symbol of closed book is being used by the petitioner for decades, but it has been replaced with open book,” said the petition.

The ECP replaced the symbol with open book on receiving complaints that during the last elections people were given impression that the symbol was a gateway to the heaven, a commission official said.

 After hearing arguments of JUI-F, the division bench suspended the ECP decision, issued notices to the parties and adjourned the hearing till March 21.