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ECP reserves verdict on SIC reserved seats

The member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said that under Article 51(D), independent candidates have to join the party within three days.



ECP reserves verdict on SIC reserved seats
ECP reserves verdict on SIC reserved seats

Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Wednesday reserved the verdict on the petitions related to allotment of reserved seats to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

During the hearing, Chief Election Commissioner said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawyer had agreed in the Supreme Court that if their electoral symbol was taken away, they will not be allotted with reserved seats.

According to the details, a five-member commission under the chairmanship of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja is hearing the applications related to reserved seats of the SIC.

Founder member of PTI lawyer Hamid Khan, lawyer of SIC Barrister Ali Zafar, PTI lawyer Barrister Gohar Ali, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawyer and former federal law minister Azam Nazir Tarar, Farogh Naseem, Farooq H. Naik and Kamran Murtaza reached the Election Commission.

SIC Chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza and PTI Women Wing President Kanwal Shozab are also present in the Election Commission.

Barrister Ali Zafar, the lawyer of the SIC, said that ECP issued an order for the yesterday’s hearing in which it made all the parliamentary parties a party to the case, therefore, it should give all the parties time to prepare.

Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ikramullah Khan asked if he was requesting to adjourn the hearing. On which Ali Zafar said that Mutahidda Qoumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) requested more reserved seats in the Sindh Assembly. The requests of the SIC for the reserved seats were postponed by the ECP and it waiting for the petitions to be filed against SIC.

The Chief Election Commissioner stated that the Election Commission held three meetings to review the request of the SIC, after a long consultation, decided to hear the petition. On which Ali Zafar said that the Commission deliberately delayed the issue of giving seats to SIC. The election symbol of the party was taken away and the members were bound the contest election with different symbols allotted by the ECP.

Sinkandar Sultan Raja added that your lawyer had agreed in the Supreme Court that if the symbol was taken away from the, they will not get the reserved seats.

Barrister Ali Zafar, lawyer of SIC stated that they are facing an unusual situation. The independent candidates supported by PTI were successful in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and the National Assembly. The question is how to allocate reserved seats to them in the National Assembly. 86 independent members joined the SIC. There are nine members in Sindh Assembly, 107 in Punjab, 90 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The first question arises that if SIC is not present in any assembly. Another objections was that independent candidates should not be given reserved seats, that they had to join a party within three days of the notification.

The member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said that under Article 51(D), independent candidates have to join the party within three days.

Ali Zafar said that the third objection raised was that SIC did not submit the priority list for reserved seats, I have to answer these three objections.

Member ECP Ikramullah Khan said that the political party will be the only one that participates in the election, how can a party that cannot participate in the election be a political party? On which Ali Zafar replied that PTI is still included in the list of political parties.

Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa inquired whether you want to us to delist PTI over two days’ notice. On which the Ali Zafar answered that ECP must delist PTI if it wants to, however it has to adopt the constitutional procedure to delist the party.

Barrister Ali Zafar, the lawyer of the SIC, said that the party has the election symbol allotted by the ECP. Under Article 17(2) it is the Supreme Court's jurisdiction to dissolve the political party. To dissolve a political party, the federation sends the reference to the Supreme Court in which the federal government has to prove that the political party is involved in actions against national security.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawyer Farooq Naik said that the SIC has not submitted any priority list, the political party cannot even modify the priority list after the date of submission of nomination papers. The law is so strict that you cannot even change any name. A new name can be given only when the list of the seat is exhausted, the SIC cannot give a list at that time just to get the reserved c seat.

PML-N lawyer Azam Nazir Tarar argued that the priority list will be given according to the law, such a party which did not participate in the election, can independent members join it? In order to claim a reserved seat, a political party must win a few seats, participate in the election. If they manage to win a few seats, they can increase it by combining independent members, but the SIC did not contest the election.

MQM-P lawyer Farogh Naseem argued that SIC is not a parliamentary party as per the law, reserved seats should be given to MQM according to quota. SIC did not contest the general election and did not submit a priority list. The head of SIC contested the election as an independent candidate. The ECP should decide on the reserved seats according to the constitution and law.

Kamran Murtaza added in his arguments that they were not involved in this case, they have been called to the hearing. According to the law, he gets the share of the party, as an independent candidate, he could not get a reserved seat. When the list is exhausted, a new name can be added to it, after the date has passed. The party cannot submit a new priority list, only the name can be added to the existing list, now the distribution will be among those who have given the list.

Later, the Election Commission reserved its decision on the reserved seats of the SIC after the arguments of all the parties were completed.