Lahore High Court orders ECP to issue notification on PA’s reserved seats

LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) Monday ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to issue a notification of new MPAs on five reserved seats of the Punjab Assembly.

Justice Shahid Waheed passed the orders while allowing a petition filed by Zainab Umar, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA challenging ECP's decision of delaying the notification of new MPAs on five reserved seats of Punjab Assembly till by-poll on 20 general seats.

During the proceedings, petitioner's counsel Barrister Ali Zafar argued before the court that the ECP was duty bound to issue a notification of new members on reserved seats after de-notifying the dissident members but the ECP was not issuing the same.

He submitted that the commission had decided to issue the notification of new MPAs after by-polls on July 17. He submitted that the decision was illegal and pleaded with the court to set aside the decision and order the ECP to immediately issue the notifications of new MPAs on the reserved seats as the lists had already been given to it. However, Advocate General Punjab argued that the notification of reserved seats was issued after the general elections. He submitted that the position of political parties had changed due to 20 vacant seats. He submitted that he was of the opinion that a larger bench should hear the matter.

The court, after hearing arguments of the parties, set aside the decision of the ECP and ordered for issuing the notification on reserved seats.

On June 2, the ECP delayed the notification of the new MPAs against the five reserved seats until by-polls on the 20 general seats scheduled for July 17.

| PTI lags in numbers game even after getting 5 reserved seats

Ruling alliance enjoys support of 176 members while PTI, PML-Q stand at 168

The PTI will still be lagging in numbers’ game even if it gets back all the five reserved seats in the Punjab Assembly because of the Lahore High Court decision requiring the Election Commission to issue notification for the seats in question.

The joint strength of the PTI and the PML-Q in Punjab Assembly stand at 168, and with the possible addition of five reserved seats, it will come to 173. The ruling alliance of the PML-N and the PPP, on the other hand, enjoys support of at least 176 members in a House which now consists of 346 members.

The party position in Punjab Assembly will change yet again after the bye-elections on 20 general seats. The PML-N is confident about winning at least 13 general seats in the by-polls to be held on July 17. The PTI also lays its claim on majority of the seats citing its so-called growing popularity after toppling of its government in April this year.

Of late, the PML-N has won back three of the four disgruntled members including Mohammad Ghiasuddin, Ashraf Ansari and Jalil Sharqpuri. The fourth one, Faisal Niazi has tendered resignation from his seat, but his resignation has not been accepted by the speaker yet.

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