CEC Merges SIC Petitions Seeking Allocation of Reserved Seats

Tue Feb 27 2024
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ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja on Tuesday merged all the petitions filed by the Sunni Itthad Council (SIC) regarding the allocation of reserved seats.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday decided to hold an open hearing on the SIC application seeking allotment of reserved seats after PTI-backed legislators joined their ranks.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement- Pakistan’s Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, advocate Farogh Naseem, and SIC’s Barrister Ali Zafar appeared before the 5-member bench.

During the hearing, Pakistan Peoples Party Advocate Farooq H Naek and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s leader Azam Nazeer Tarar presented arguments.

CEC Raja also issued notices to SIC, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Mahmood Khan, Maulvi Iqbal Haider, and Kunz-us-Saadat.

The development came after it emerged that President Dr Arif Alvi had reportedly refused to sign a Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs summary seeking the convening of a National Assembly (NA) session.

President Alvi maintained that the remaining reserved seats should be allocated before summoning the National Assembly session, which was supposed to be held within twenty-one days of the elections under the Constitution.

PTI Approaches ECP to Claim Reserved Seats

At the outset of the hearing, Barrister Zafar said that the PTI had approached the electoral watchdog to claim the reserved seats, and if the political parties wanted to take the seats, then they should openly say so.

He told the bench that PPP, MQM-P, and PML-N should come as political parties and claim those seats. If someone comes and claims ownership of a seat, he cannot get it, Barrister Zafar added.

In his arguments, Tarar said that since the SIC did not win a single seat, then how can it be allotted reserved seats by gathering some independent candidates?

He said that the PTI-backed candidates entered the parliament through a party that was rejected by the people. They did not earlier submit a petition seeking the allocation of reserved seats.

He said the SIC was not a parliamentary party, hence, how it could be allotted reserved seats.

At this, CEC Raja replied he should leave the matter to the ECP to decide.

The election commission adjourned the hearing by consolidating all the pleas till Wednesday.

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