PHC turns down SIC pleas seeking reserved seats in assemblies

PHC turns down SIC pleas seeking reserved seats in assemblies

PHC turns down SIC pleas seeking reserved seats in assemblies
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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday dismissed petitions filed by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) regarding reserved seats in assemblies.

A five-member bench of the high court reached a unanimous decision, with Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim delivering the verdict.

Previously, the high court had reserved its decision after the lawyers concluded arguments.

During the hearing, Barrister Ali Zafar apologised for his absence the previous day and addressed the issue of the PTI’s election symbol ‘bat’ being taken before the election, requiring candidates to run independently.

Responding to a query about the number of seats in the National Assembly and provincial assemblies, the SIC lawyer stated that the party holds 86 seats in the NA, 90 in KP, 107 in Punjab, nine in Sindh, and one in the Balochistan Assembly, totaling 226 seats across assemblies, making them eligible for 78 reserved seats.

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The SIC lawyer argued that the election commission had unfairly distributed reserved seats to other parties upon requests, likening it to encroaching on vacant land.

Ali Zafar referred to Article 17, asserting every citizen’s right to join or form a party, contest elections, and form a government, claiming entitlement to these rights.

He further contended that the election commission confused parliamentary parties with political parties, emphasizing that reserved seats serve a specific purpose, not to be freely distributed.

Justice Shakeel Ahmed pointed out that the law emphasizes ‘securing’ seats, which the SIC hadn’t done. Justice Syed Arshad Ali highlighted that both the PTI and SIC failed to contest elections together, thus unable to secure the reserved seats.

Despite claims of conducting intra-party elections, the election commission had not recognized them, according to Ali Zafar.

Justice Ijaz Anwar noted that the law stipulates seats are for those contesting elections, not for parties waiting for independent members to join them.

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