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PHC ‘Unanimously’ Rejected SIC’s Reserved Seats Plea

The PHC Thursday “unanimously rejected” the petitions filed by party.

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday “unanimously rejected” the party’s petitions, declaring its reserved ruling on the appeal over the reserved seats submitted by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), which is supported by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

In its appeal, the SIC contested the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to deny the party reserved seats.

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A five-member bench led by Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, which included Justices Ijaz Anwar, Ishtiaq Ibrahim, Shakeel Ahmad, and Arshad Ali, was hearing the plea.

Barrister Ali Zafar, the SIC’s attorney, stated during his arguments that the Constitution is silent on the deadline for parties to provide the ECP with a list of names for reserved seats.

The barrister contended that there is no restriction on supplying a second list and that the ECP could have released a second schedule, as it did for the general elections. “It is not written anywhere that you cannot resubmit the list or when it has to be submitted,” the lawyer said.

Justice Anwar said, “Those who participate in elections will get seats as per the law.”

Barrister Zafar was then questioned by the court to see if the prohibition on issuing the second schedule was not made explicit elsewhere.

The attorney said, “The Election Commission is not prohibited by law from issuing another schedule.”

Judge Arshad said that Section 104, which specifies that another list may be supplied after a submission, outlines the procedure for reserved seats.

He had originally contended that reserved seats would be awarded to the winner in proportion to the number of tickets won.

“Their seats cannot be increased.”

As the chief justice said, “If these seats are not given, the parliament will not be complete,” the attorney asked the court to read the Constitution so that there would be no gaps in its meaning.

The ECP has the power to laws in order to uphold justice, Barrister Zafar informed the court. He also mentioned that there is an election for reserved seats, which need to be transparent.

Regarding the application’s admissibility, the attorney explained that although the pleas submitted in Punjab and Sindh were restricted to the respective provincial assemblies, the one under consideration by PHC concerns the province’s reserved seats as announced in the National and KP provincial assemblies.

Despite the fact that the SIC had not provided the list, he contended, the Lahore High Court had ruled that there was no prohibition.

Barrister Zafar then pointed the court to a statement he had downloaded from the ECP website concerning the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) before wrapping up his arguments. The attorney had originally claimed that the party had previously received reserved seats later on from the electoral administration.

Sikandar Bashir Mohmand, an attorney for the ECP, previously stated during his court arguments that the BAP was unrelated to SIC’s case. The SIC’s petitions are for the reserved seats in all Assemblies, he insisted, adding that the party’s issue was about a declaration rather than a choice.

“This court does not have jurisdiction over these applications. The ECP attorney stated that these petitions are comparable to those filed in the Sindh High Court because they all have the same petitioner and adhere to the same format.

Also read this: Petition Against Delay in General Election, PHC Seeks Reply from ECP

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