Pak SC reserves judgment in opposition party's petition about reserved seats allotment

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Islamabad, Jul 9 (PTI) Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its judgment in a key petition by the opposition Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) party about getting its due share in the reserved seats in Parliament and provincial assemblies.

The appeal was filed after the Election Commission of Pakistan rejected the SIC's plea for awarding its share in the 70 reserved seats in the National Assembly and another 156 in the four provincial assemblies.

The SIC became prominent after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party-supported candidates joined the party after winning the elections as jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's PTI could not contest the polls and was not eligible to claim the seats reserved for women and minorities.

The seats were awarded to the winning parties based on proportional representation.

The ECP had rejected the SIC plea for reserved seats as it had not contested the elections and got strength when PTI-backed independently elected candidates joined after the elections.

Its appeal against the ECP decision in the Peshawar High Court was also turned down. Subsequently, the party challenged it in the Supreme Court.

A 13-member bench headed by Chief Justice Faez Isa and comprising justices Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Munib Akhtar, Yahya Afridi, Aminuddin Khan, Jamal Mandokhail, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Ayesha Malik, Athar Minallah, Syed Hasan Rizvi, Shahid Waheed, Irfan Saadat Khan and Naeem Akhtar Afghan heard the case.

Chief Justice Isa announced at the conclusion of the proceedings that the panel decided to reserve the verdict for mutual consultation.

He did not give any date for the announcement of the judgment, which is expected this week.

“We will see if a short judgment can be announced,” the chief justice remarked while reserving the judgment.

Earlier, the Supreme Court on May 6 in a major relief to the PTI, suspended the Peshawar High Court's decision about rejecting the SIC plea.

Following the ruling, the ECP on May 14 suspended the victory notifications of 77 candidates who belonged to other parties and were declared successful on the reserved seats.

The final ruling by the top court in the case would decide the fate of those 77 reserved seats. Though it may not change the current power structure, the changes in the overall number game in the assemblies may impact the law-making process in the country.

The problem of the PTI began when just before the general election, it was deprived of its symbol of cricket bat by the ECP for failure to hold the intra-party election according to its Constitution. It forced PTI to field its candidates as independents.

PTI candidates joined the SIC to secure a due share in the reserved seats, but the ECP rejected the SIC plea for reserved seats by saying that it had not contested elections and also did not provide a list of candidates for the reserved seats within the stipulated time, which was mandatory. PTI SH PY PY PY