PTI allies with SIC to get reserved seats in parliament

Gohar says deal matured with Sunni Ittehad Council with Imran’s approval n Asks ECP to allot reserved seats as per party mandate n SIC chief says the alliance will follow policy of PTI, Imran n PTI moves PHC seeking allocation of reserved seats in NA, provincial assemblies.


ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday finally formed an al­liance with the religio-political force Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) to ensure its seats reserved for women and minorities in the parliament and to bring its inde­pendent members-elect under a party discipline.

Following days of speculations over the future of PTI-backed independents, the party an­nounced that its members-elect of the national, Punjab and Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies would join the SIC.

The party also said that Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), another religio-political party, would also be part of the alliance.

PTI leader Gohar Ali Khan made the announcement while addressing a joint press confer­ence here along with the party’s nominee for prime minister’s slot Omar Ayub Khan, MWM Sec­retary General Allama Raja Nasir Abbas and SIC chief Sahibzada Hamid Raza.

Since February 8 elections, the PTI has been struggling to join ranks of another party to ensure its reserved seats as the party-backed candidates had contested the election on an independent status following it lost its elec­toral symbol ‘bat’ as a result of the Supreme Court verdict.

Earlier, PTI had announced that its independents would join the ranks of MWM but the idea was dropped due to some inter­nal differences over the decision.

Gohar Khan said at the press­er that the agreement had been reached with the SIC with con­sensus, after the approval of PTI founder Imran Khan.

He announced plans to submit applications for special seats in the Election Commission of Paki­stan (ECP), formalizing the affili­ation of their candidates with the SIC. “Our candidates have sub­mitted their affidavits with us and with their consent, we are announcing that PTI-supported independents are joining the SIC,” he said.

Gohar said the PTI-backed independent members were required to join any party within three days after they were notified as returned can­didates, under the law. He claimed that PTI had won 180 seats in the National Assem­bly across the country but the party’s mandate was stolen through rigging. He demand­ed that the electoral watchdog should issue notifications of the returned candidates as per Form-45.

The PTI leader recalled that PTI issued tickets to the candi­dates; however, after snatching the party’s electoral symbol bat, the ECP declared its candidates as independents.

“We demand ECP to allot re­served seats to us as per our mandate and in line with the law,” he added.

Gohar reiterated the shared vision of the coalition, stating that the decision to join the SIC was aimed at fostering unity and progress across the nation.

Speaking on the occasion, PTI leader Omer Ayub alleged that large scale rigging was done to convert PTI’s overwhelming majority into minority. He de­manded that party-supported candidates should be declared as returned candidates as per Form 45. He alleged that Mutta­hida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) stole PTI’s seats in Ka­rachi and Hyderabad during the elections 2024. He said that PTI seats were pilfered in Peshawar and elsewhere in the country es­pecially in Punjab.

PTI’s PM candidate again claimed that the party would form the government in the Cen­tre, Punjab and KP.

“Our first task after forming the government will be to en­sure the instant release of Im­ran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi and other party leaders and workers,” he vowed.

SIC head Hamid Raza and MWM Secretary General Allama Nasir Abbas talking on the occa­sion said that their alliance with PTI was ‘unconditional’. Hamid said that the decision to forge an alliance with the PTI had been taken with the permission of former prime minister Khan.

“My party does not believe in the politics of hatred. All sects are standing with PTI,” he add­ed. He said that his party’s al­liance with the PTI dated back nearly eight years.

The SIC chief made it clear that the alliance would follow the policy of PTI and Imran Khan and a formal agreement had also been signed. “I want to clarify one more thing that our support for Imran Khan and the PTI is unconditional and without any demand,” he said.

He went on to say that the SIC and MMW were two parties that had always opposed sectarian violence and did not believe in militancy. Speaking on his turn, Allama Nasir said that his party would stand shoulder-to-shoul­der with PTI, emphasizing their joint struggle was for the na­tion’s uplift.

He called for a fair electoral process devoid of manipulation, underscoring the importance of democracy in steering the coun­try towards prosperity.

Meanwhile, PTI initiated a le­gal action in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) to assert its enti­tlement to the reserved seats for women and non-Muslims in both the national and provincial assemblies. PTI representative Mashal Yousafzai filed a writ pe­tition through her legal counsel, Qazi Mohammad Anwar, while designating the Election Com­mission of Pakistan (ECP) as re­spondent in the case.

The petition urged the court to nullify the interpretation of Election Rules 2017 (4) 94 re­garding political parties, as it al­legedly deprived PTI of its right­ful allocation of seats reserved for women and non-Muslims in the national and provincial as­semblies.

According to the petition, ECP instructed PTI on November 23, 2023, to conduct intra-par­ty elections within 20 days. PTI held its intra-party elections on December 2 last year, elect­ing Barrister Gohar Ali Khan as Chairman and Omar Ayub as General Secretary. However, the petition noted that ECP did not publish the certificate regard­ing PTI’s intra-party elections on its website.

The petition stated that the PTI previously approached PHC against ECP, resulting in the court suspending the elec­tion watchdog’s decision. How­ever, the Supreme Court lat­er overturned the PHC’s ruling on appeal, which deprived PTI of its electoral symbol. Arguing that PTI was registered under the Election Act 2002, the pe­tition highlighted Section 208 of the Election Act 2017, which mandates every political party to elect its office-bearers at the national, provincial, and grass­roots levels.

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