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Friday April 19, 2024

ECP to decide reserved seats fate today

The SIC chief was approached on Sunday evening to ascertain the reasons for not filing a list of its members but he wasn’t available

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
February 26, 2024
A security guard stands at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Islamabad. — AFP/File
A security guard stands at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Islamabad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will decide the fate of leftover reserved seats in the National and provincial assemblies today (Monday) in an important meeting to be chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sultan Sikandar Raja. The commission will likely notify the reserved seats members by tomorrow (Tuesday) and that will bring the dispute to an end.

The PTI-affiliated independent returned members couldn’t claim the reserved seats since the constitution entitles parliamentary parties present in the different houses to have a quota of reserved seats for women and minorities. These PTI-affiliated independents joined the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) in the assemblies last week. The idea behind this alliance was for the PTI independents to become a parliamentary group in the houses so they could avail the reserved seats.

Well-placed sources told The News that the SIC had approached the ECP and asked it to accept their contention of entitlement of reserved seats but ironically hadn’t submitted the list of its nominees for reserved seats till Sunday; the ECP was open on Sunday, despite it being a holiday.

The SIC chief was approached on Sunday evening to ascertain the reasons for not filing a list of its members but he wasn’t available.

Sources have quoted the constitutional obligations of the ECP in the matter. Article 219 says: “The Commission shall be charged with the duty of: (a) preparing electoral rolls for election to the National Assembly, Provincial Assemblies and local governments, and revising such rolls periodically to keep them up-to-date; (b) organizing and conducting election to the Senate or to fill casual vacancies in a House or a Provincial Assembly; and (c) appointing Election Tribunals; (d) the holding of general elections to the National Assembly, Provincial Assemblies and the local governments; and (e) such other functions as may be specified by an Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).”

Sources have also indicated that the SIC could knock at the door of the superior judiciary regarding its claim on the reserved seats, once the ECP makes a decision and if it declines to oblige its submission.