SC reserves verdict on SIC’s plea for reserved seats

Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved verdict on Sunni Ittehad Council’s (SIC) plea, seeking reserved seats. 

A 13-member full court, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, heard the plea. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha A. Malik, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Shahid Waheed, Justice Irfan Saadat Khan and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan, were also the part of the bench.

Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) counsel Faisal Siddiqui on Tuesday submitted before the Supreme Court that he would prove that the Election Commission (ECP) has not fulfilled its responsibility.

He submitted that he would be brief and take 15 minutes to argue his point.

Advocate Siddiqui stated that they [ECP] argued that the SIC did not participate in the elections, did not submit the list of candidates for reserved seats.

He argued that the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) did not win any seats in 2018 but got three reserved seats. The ECP submitted a prejudiced response regarding the BAP election.

The issue was raised before the ECP before moving the Supreme Court, he submitted and added that the ECP claim was contrary to its own documents. Isn’t it distortion [of facts]?

Justice Mandokhail asked the lawyer was the ECP decision in accordance with the Constitution? He replied that [in 2018] it was in accordance with the law.

Justice Minallah inquired him whether the ECP decision on the BAP reserved seats was challenged.

Advocate Siddiqui said that the ECP would have admitted that there was a mistake. But it acted as if the decision regarding the BAP did not exist.

The SC after hearing arguments from the respondents reserved its verdict.

On May 6, Supreme Court suspended the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Peshawar High Court’ (PHC) verdict on Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) reserved seats.

The three-member bench headed by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah suspended the verdict pertaining to the allocation of reserved seats to other political parties.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said that the case has been fixed for hearing and “we are suspending the ECP and PHC verdicts.”

Reserved seats 

The election commission distributed the reserved seats for women and minorities among other political parties.

In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly – according to a notification, the ECP allocated one reserved seat each to Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

In Sindh Assembly – allocated reserved seat for women to Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and PPP. PPP’s Samita Afzal and MQM-P’s Fouzia Hameed elected on reserved seats.

Furthermore, PPP’s Sadhu Mal alias Surinder Valasai secured minority seat in Sindh Assembly.

The ECP allocated three reserved seats for minorities to PML-N, PPP and JUI-F – which were claimed by Sunni Ittehad Council. PML-N’s Neelam Meghwar, PPP’s Ramesh Kumar and JUI-F’s James Iqbal were elected on the minority seats.

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