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ECP consolidates SIC reserved seats pleas, postpones hearing till Feb 28

ECP consolidates SIC reserved seats pleas, postpones hearing till Feb 28

ECP consolidates SIC reserved seats pleas, postpones hearing till Feb 28

ECP consolidates SIC reserved seats pleas, postpones hearing till Feb 28

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) consolidated all petitions from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) regarding the allocation of reserved seats on Tuesday and postponed the hearing until Wednesday (Feb 28).

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja led a five-member bench overseeing petitions presented by PML-N’s Azam Nazeer Tarar, PPP’s Farooq Naik, and the counsel for SIC, Gohar Khan, and Ali Zafar.

Ali Zafar, representing SIC, expressed his party’s request for reserved seats and questioned the presence of other parties at the hearing.

He stressed that SIC’s reserved seats are exclusively theirs, as the party had already submitted a petition to the ECP for their allocation.

Tarar of PML-N contended that SIC hadn’t secured any seats in the National Assembly, therefore, the independents joining the party couldn’t claim reserved seats. He argued that these members, originating from a party rejected by voters, hadn’t initially applied for reserved seats.

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Additionally, since the Sunni Ittehad Council isn’t recognized as a parliamentary party, he raised doubts about their entitlement to reserved seats.

Both Tarar and Farooq H Naik emphasized that the decision on whether SIC can secure reserved seats lies with the commission.

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CEC Sikandar Raja mentioned the scheduled hearing and asked Ali Zafar if he was a party to all cases. Advising the parties to let the Election Commission decide on reserved seats, he instructed Zafar to wait for the commission’s decision.

Zafar mentioned they hadn’t received copies of the applications and requested the commission to provide them, assuring a response would be submitted promptly.

Farooq H. Naik urged the commission to hear from all involved parties, emphasizing it’s a legal, not political, matter.

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In response to comments from Barrister Gohar, Azam Nazir Tarar suggested reserving such discussions for private settings, away from the commission premises.

The PTI candidates contested as independents after the Supreme Court declared the party’s intra-party polls “unconstitutional” and revoked their claim on the ‘bat’ electoral symbol.

Reserved seats are allocated based on the number of lawmakers elected on general seats. Parties had submitted priority lists of candidates before the Feb 8 polls. With many independents this year, reserved seats pose a unique challenge.

There are 346 reserved seats for women, 60 in the NA and 66, 29, 26, and 11 in the provincial legislatures of Punjab, Sindh, KP, and Balochistan respectively.

Additionally, there are 10 reserved seats for minorities in the lower house and eight, nine, and three in the assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan respectively.

SIC claimed support from 86 independent candidates in the National Assembly, 107 in the Punjab Assembly, 90 in K-P, and nine in the Sindh Assembly according to their letter.

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