SC resumes hearing on SIC plea for allocation of reserved seats

The Supreme Court on Tuesday began hearing the petition filed by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), the ally of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), against the denial of reserved seats for women and minorities. 

A 13-member full court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, is presiding over the hearing. 

The bench comprises Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Amin-ud-Din 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.

In the previous hearing, which took place on Monday, CJP Isa wondered why PTI "committed suicide" when it decided to merge with the SIC following the February 8 elections.

"Why did the independent candidates leave PTI when it is a political party? Why did you commit suicide by joining another party which goes against your arguments?" asked the chief justice.

The CJP said that had the independent candidates stayed with the PTI, there would have been no problem today. 

SIC reserved seats issue

The PTI-backed independent candidates, who emerged victorious in the February 8 elections, had joined the SIC in a bid to claim seats reserved for minority and women.

However, this did not help the party as the election commission did not allocate reserved seats to the SIC, citing its failure to submit its list of candidates.

The party had then approached the PHC on the said issue wherein the court upheld the electoral body's decision.

In April, SIC chief Sahibzada Hamid Raza, along with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker, moved the SC seeking setting aside of the PHC verdict and the allocation of 67 women and 11 minority seats in the assemblies.

On May 6, a three-member SC bench headed by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, including Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah, suspended the PHC verdict.

It then referred the matter to the judges' committee for the formation of a larger bench since the matter required constitutional interpretation.

Meanwhile, the ECP had last week submitted its response to the apex court, saying the SIC does not qualify for reserved seats as the political party doesn't allow non-Muslims to be a part of it.

The ECP informed the top court that the reserved seats cannot be allotted to the SIC as the party did not submit the list of candidates before the January 24 deadline.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt