Home Latest News ECP to Continue Hearing SIC Petitions Seeking Reserved Seats Tomorrow

ECP to Continue Hearing SIC Petitions Seeking Reserved Seats Tomorrow

Five-member bench clubs together all petitions related to allocated of reserved seats

by Staff Report


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday adjourned until tomorrow (Wednesday) proceedings into the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC)’s demand for its share of reserved seats after consolidating all its petitions.

A day earlier, the ECP had decided to hold an open hearing on a SIC petition seeking allotment of reserved seats in the National Assembly after its numbers ballooned with the inclusion of lawmakers associated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The petition has been opposed by other political parties, who maintain the SIC is not a parliamentary party and cannot avail any share in the reserved seats.

Heading a five-member bench, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja heard arguments from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQMP) Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui; advocate Farogh Naseem; and SIC counsel Ali Zafar. Additionally, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s Farooq H. Naek and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)’s Azam Nazeer Tarar also presented arguments before the bench.

During the hearing, Zafar said the SIC had approached the ECP to claim its share of reserved seats and if the other political parties wanted to take those seats, they should openly say so. “My argument is that if someone comes and claims ownership of a seat, he cannot simply get the seat,” he said.

One of the ECP members then informed him that the MQMP had demanded the seats not be given to the SIC. Naek, meanwhile, argued that his party’s view was that it was the ECP’s prerogative to decide who should get the reserved seats.

Zafar countered this by stating that no party had the right to take any other’s seats, adding his plea regarding the reserved seats was also present with the ECP and should be fixed for hearing. The CEC said the ECP had fixed the relevant pleas for hearing and Zafar was a litigant in all the cases.

PMLN’s Tarar questioned how the SIC could be granted reserved seats when it had failed to win a single seat to the National Assembly and was relying on a group of independent candidates. He further argued that PTI-backed candidates were entering Parliament through a party rejected by the masses that had also failed to submit a petition seeking reserved seats. He maintained the SIC was not a parliamentary party and could not be granted reserved seats.

The CEC, however, said this should be left for the ECP to decide and adjourned proceedings till the next day after clubbing together all petitions related to reserved seats for the SIC.

Illegal sessions

Addressing media after the hearing, PTI leader Gohar Ali Khan claimed no assembly session could be held until the matter of the reserved seats was decided. Declaring the elections of the Sindh and Punjab chief ministers as “illegal,” he demanded the ECP take notice and reverse them.

Lamenting that the ECP had yet to according the PTI justice, he hoped the electoral body’s decision on the allocation of reserved seats would be just and fair. He said he expected the issue to be decided by Wednesday, adding the PTI had lodged four pleas in the ECP on behalf of the SIC to secure reserved seats. “At least 90 MPAs joined the SIC in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 107 in Punjab, nine in Sindh and seven in Balochistan,” he claimed.

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