PA suspends MPAs on reserved seats after SC ruling

PML-N's grip loosens in provincial assembly with 23 party lawmakers facing suspension

Rana Yasif May 10, 2024
Punjab Assembly Speaker Malik Ahmad Khan. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/Malik Ahmed Khan


The ruling alliance in Punjab was dealt a blow as the provincial assembly's speaker restrained 27 lawmakers on reserved seats, in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling suspending the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) verdict denying the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) reserved seats for women and minorities.

The ruling issued by the speaker stated that the women and non-Muslim members appointed to reserved seats via ECP notifications dated March 4, March 8, and March 22, 2024, cannot function as members or partake in assembly proceedings until their status is clarified by either the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) or the SC.

The opposition views this decision as a significant triumph and further raises a flag about the fate of other legislative business, especially regarding a resolution passed by the government against the SIC on May 9, wherein these MPs had cast their votes.

It is pertinent to note that during the May 9 proceedings, opposition lawmaker Rana Aftab had raised doubts about how these MPs, seated on reserved chairs, could participate in the game during assembly proceedings after the SC put the brakes on the PHC’s verdict.

In response, the speaker questioned how he could make a call solo when the ECP had not de-notified them.

Speaker Khan wondered how he could go beyond the bounds when neither the SC had addressed the Punjab Assembly nor had the ECP stripped them of their titles.

Nevertheless, he mentioned that the Punjab Assembly had sought guidance from the ECP, the Attorney General of Pakistan, the Advocate General of Punjab, and the Law Department in light of the SC's ruling.

He reassured the House that he would issue a ruling based on whatever interpretation was provided.
On Friday, Speaker Khan, in response to the point of order raised by the opposition's Rana Aftab, delivered his ruling: "In exercise of powers vested in me under Rule 209 of the Ruling of procedure of Provincial Assembly of the Punjab 1997, I, Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, Speaker announce the following ruling on the issue”.

He recalled that “on May 9, 2024, when the 9th Session of Provincial Assembly of the Punjab commenced, Mr Aftab Ahmed Khan MPA (PP-108) raised a point of order that after the above-mentioned order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan dated May 6, 2024, the women and non-Muslim members present in the House, who had been declared elected against the above-mentioned quota should not sit in the House.”

The ruling stated that the speaker was of the view that the said order and the consequent proceedings should have been communicated to the speaker by the ECP, but added that it wasn’t. “Hence, I was not in a position to decide the matter there and then. However, now the order has been produced in the House by Mr Aftab Ahmad Khan, the Speaker is bound to comply with it.”

“With this reasoning, I rule that point of order raised by Mr Aftab Khan MPA on May 9, 2024, is in order and the women/non-Muslim members declared elected vide ECP notifications dated March 4, March 8 and March 22, 2024 can not function as member or participate in the proceedings of the assembly, until their status is clarified by the ECP or the hon’able Supreme Court”.

Also read SC suspends PHC's seats allocation order

The opposition claimed that out of a total of 27 MPAs, there are 23 MPAs of PMLN (including one seat on minority), two MPAs of PPP (including one minority), one MPA from PMLQ and one from IPP will not remain part of the assembly.

Later, the Punjab Assembly passed unanimously a resolution moved by PML-N’s lawmaker Amjad Ali Javed upon the killings of eleven Punjabi labourers in Balochistan with a demand to the federal government ensure the arrest of the responsible persons to bring them to book.

After completing agenda items, Speaker Khan adjourned the House till May 13 at 2pm.
It's notable that on Monday, the Supreme Court suspended the PHC's verdict which denied reserved seats for women and minorities to the Sunni Ittehad Council.

This development occurred during a session presided over by a three-member bench, led by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah. The bench was hearing an appeal filed by the SIC against the PHC's decision.

The SC addressed a petition lodged by the SIC, the new political home for PTI lawmakers-elect, regarding the denial of reserved seats for women and minorities.

Initially, PTI-backed independent candidates had allied with the SIC after losing their party symbol 'bat' following the February 8 elections.

In March, the ECP issued a 4-1 verdict, rejecting the Sunni Ittehad Council's claim for reserved seats due to perceived legal deficiencies and non-compliance with mandatory submission requirements for party lists.

Consequently, the ECP redistributed the seats among other parliamentary parties, with PML-N and PPP gaining 16 and five additional seats respectively, while Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl secured four. PTI rejected this decision as unconstitutional.

Subsequently, in the same month, the PHC dismissed an appeal by the Sunni Ittehad Council challenging the ECP's ruling, thereby denying them reserved seats.


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