ECP’s ruling on SIC MPs under SC scrutiny

Judge says reserved seats can only be allocated on proportional representation basis


The full court of the Supreme Court raised several queries whether the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) could declare a candidate as independent, when the elected member showed his or her affiliation with a political party.

During the hearing of an appeal filed by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), the 13-member full court, led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, noted that the reserved seats could only be distributed among the parliamentary parties on the basis of proportional representation.

The full court took up the petition against the Peshawar High Court (PHC) ruling that upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision of not giving the reserved seats in the national and the provincial assembly to the SIC.

The full court also included apex court justices Mansoor Ali Shah, Munib Akhtar, Yahya Afridi, Aminuddin Khan, Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Ayesha Malik, Athar Minallah, Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Shahid Waheed, Irfan Saadat Khan, and Naeem Akhtar Afghan.

The SIC has sought allocation of the reserved seats by the ECP, after the joining of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidates. The PTI candidates contested elections as independents because the ECP had declined to allot it its electoral symbol.

In Monday’s hearing of the petition the court had sought details of the nomination papers of the SIC chief Raza. On Tuesday, SIC lawyer Faisal Siddiqui told the court that Raza contested the election as an independent candidate but had mentioned his affiliation with SIC in the nomination papers.

He said that if the reserved seats were awarded to the SIC, Kanwal Shauzab, who had also approached the court as an effected party because of the PHC decision, would be candidate for a reserved seats for women on behalf of the SIC.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, the lawyer for the members of the other political parties who were allotted the reserved seats which were being claimed by the SIC, argued that the ECP decision of not giving the seats had been upheld by the PHC.

Makhdoom said that Raza’s letter was on record that no-one contested the election under his party’s election symbol. Justice Minallah said that Raza had shown his affiliation with the SIC in his nomination papers. He also said that it was an accepted fact that all the PTI candidates were declared independent.

Justice Ayesha Malik observed that there also another question as to why Raza was prevented from contesting the election on his own party’s ticket. If the ECP confirmed could this matter, the case might take a new direction. Makhdoom replied that this point was not even raised in the appeals.


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