Home Latest News PHC Bars Oath-Taking of MNAs Notified on Reserved Seats Denied to SIC until Tomorrow

PHC Bars Oath-Taking of MNAs Notified on Reserved Seats Denied to SIC until Tomorrow

Court directs ECP to submit response by tomorrow and refers case to PHC chief justice for formation of larger bench

by Staff Report

File photo

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday barred lawmakers notified on reserved seats denied to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) from taking oath until tomorrow (Thursday).

A two-member bench comprising Justices Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Shakeel Ahmad issued the order, while also directing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to submit its response by Thursday. Earlier, the SIC had challenged the ECP’s decision to deny it reserved seats for women and minorities in the National Assembly and all four provincial assemblies, and grant them to other parties in accordance with their numbers in Parliament.

In its ruling, the ECP had stated the SIC could not claim its share in the reserved seats “due to non-curable procedural and legal defects and violations of mandatory provisions of the Constitution.” The order had boosted the numbers of all other parties, increasing the ruling coalition’s majority to two-thirds in the National Assembly, and making the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) the single-largest party in the Lower House with 123 members.

During today’s hearing, the bench questioned whether the high court could even be moved on the issue of reserved seats. The petitioner’s lawyer, Qazi Anwar, argued that Articles 51 and 106 of the Constitution allowed all independent candidates to join any other party within three days of their notification as lawmakers. “This is an accepted fact and no one can ignore it,” remarked Justice Ibrahim.

Anwar stressed that the ECP’s decision had denied the SIC its rightful share of reserved seats, stressing the seats granted to other parties were its right.

Accepting the plea, the PHC issued notices to the attorney general for Pakistan and the advocate general to assist the court in the matter and referred the case to the PHC chief justice for the constitution of a larger bench to hear the case.

The National Assembly is set to convene tomorrow, with an expectation that lawmakers on reserved women and minority seats are expected to be sworn in.

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