Home Latest News PTI Allies with Sunni Ittehad Council in Bid to Secure Reserved Seats

PTI Allies with Sunni Ittehad Council in Bid to Secure Reserved Seats

‘Independent’ candidates announce merger with SIC for National Assembly and Punjab and KP assemblies

by Staff Report

Screengrab of the PTI press conference announcing its ‘merger’ with SIC

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday formally announced a “merger” of its supported independent candidates with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) as part of efforts to secure reserved seats in the national, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.

Following a press conference in which the two parties announced their intent to unite in Parliament, the SIC wrote to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) informing it that 50 PTI-backed ‘independents’ had joined the party. The SIC is a largely sidelined party, having won no seats in any assembly. However, its head—Sahibzada Muhammad Hamid Raza—won a seat to the National Assembly, NA-104 (Faisalabad), as an independent candidate. After securing his victory, he informed the ECP he had “joined” the SIC, as it is an enlisted party. This enables the SIC to have a presence in the National Assembly, with the party’s lawyers claiming that candidates can join any enlisted party within 72 hours of their victory notification under law.

If the PTI-SIC merger does not face any legal challenges, the independent candidates will be deemed to be members of the SIC, enabling the party to secure a share of reserved seats. A legal sticking point, per experts, is that the SIC has not provided the ECP with any nominees for the reserved seats, as was required prior to the polls, which could delay or possibly hamper its ability to secure a share.

The PTI-SIC merger follows several weeks of the PTI claiming it was intending to join the Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), but that merger did not materialize. Reportedly, the PTI has claimed it decided to opt for the SIC as the MWM candidate in Punjab won the election as an independent candidate, which could hamper its chances of claiming reserved seats in the Punjab Assembly.

During a press conference, PTI leader Gohar Khan—accompanied by Omar Ayub, MWM Secretary General Allama Raja Nasir Abbas, SIC head Hamid Raza, and PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan—confirmed that PTI-backed independent candidates would formally join the SIC in the National Assembly, as well as the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies. He said the SIC would then submit applications for reserved seats to the ECP. “Our candidates have submitted their affidavits with us and with their consent, we are announcing that PTI-supported independents are joining the SIC,” he added.

Raza and Abbas, meanwhile, congratulated the PTI for contesting elections despite all odds and winning seats without its “bat” symbol. Both leaders claimed their alliance with PTI was “unconditional,” and did not call for any concessions from the embattled party for the merger.

Speaking on the occasion, Ayub—who is also the PTI’s candidate for the prime minister—maintained that the party had sufficient numbers to form the government in the center. “Our first task [after forming government] will be to ensure the release of PTI founder Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi,” he claimed.

Separately, a statement issued after a meeting of the PTI Core Committee expressed concerns over alleged threats to Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi during their incarceration. Claiming Bushra was detained at Bani Gala against her wishes, it alleged that she was given “poisonous” food and was unwell.

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