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Pak attorney general issued notice over changed process of filling minority seats in assemblies

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Peshawar, Feb 1 (PTI) A Pakistani high court on Thursday issued a notice to the attorney general, seeking a response to a petition challenging a constitutional provision that changed the process of filling minority seats in assemblies for the February 8 general elections.

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The Peshawar High Court (PHC) heard the petition filed by two representatives of the Christian community -- Rameez Alam and Anil Masseh-- that has challenged the 18th Amendment of the Constitution and seeks direct election on minority seats in national and provincial assemblies.

The petitioners have challenged the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, in which Articles 51 and 106 were changed and minorities were to be selected by political parties on a proportional representation system instead of being directly elected by the minorities.

After hearing the arguments of the counsel for petitioners, the PHC bench case admitted the case for regular hearing, issued notice to the Attorney General of Pakistan and sought comments on the petition.

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Advocate Nouman Muhib Kakakhel, who represented the petitioners in the case, argued that before the 18th Amendment, minorities had the power to vote and elect their representatives and offer themselves for elections.

He argued that due to the impugned amendment, the system has become undemocratic, as neither can the minorities offer themselves for elections to contest nor can they vote for their representative.

Kakakhel said that the amendment violates the Preamble of the Constitution, which provides for the safeguarding of legitimate interests of the minorities and is hence liable to be struck down to this extent.

Asserting that the impugned amendment is violative of the democratic nature of the Constitution, he said that it should be struck down.

The counsel urged direct elections on minority seats on separate electorates in which community locals can contest and vote directly for leaders of their choice to represent them in the legislative assemblies. PTI AYZ GRS AKJ GRS GRS

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