ECP reserved seats verdict: Punjab member submits dissenting note

ECP reserved seats verdict: Punjab member submits dissenting note

ECP reserved seats verdict: Punjab member submits dissenting note

ECP reserved seats verdict: Punjab member submits dissenting note

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ISLAMABAD: The five-member bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has turned down the plea from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) regarding the allocation of reserved seats, with a split decision of 4-1, as one of its Punjab members, Babar Hassan Bharwana, expressed disagreement by submitting a dissenting note.

The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and ECP members from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan rejected the plea, while Punjab’s Babar Hassan Bharwana partially concurred with the decision.

In his dissenting note, Bharwana acknowledged, “I agree to the extent that the Sunni Ittehad Council failed to timely submit a priority list for reserved seats for women and minorities.” However, he argued that these seats shouldn’t be allocated to other parties, advocating to keep them vacant until amendments are made to Articles 51 and 106 of the Constitution of 1973.

Bharwana emphasized, “Although the Sunni Ittehad Council didn’t meet the legal requirement of submitting the priority list on time, these seats cannot be redistributed to other parties based on proportional representation.”

Earlier in the day, the ECP dismissed the Sunni Ittehad Council’s petition, which sought reserved seats following a supposed ‘merger’ with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for this specific purpose. The request was made to allocate seats based on PTI-backed candidates included within their party, submitted by SIC Chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza through a PTI representative.

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Following hearings from all parties involved, the commission had delayed its decision until Wednesday, a day before the inaugural session of the National Assembly.

In its verdict today, the ECP declared that the PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council was ineligible for reserved seats designated for women and minorities. The decision was announced with a 4-1 majority under Clause 6 of Article 53 of the Constitution and Section 104 of the Election Act, with ECP Punjab member Hassan Bharwana dissenting from the majority opinion.

 

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