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Sunday April 14, 2024

PHC moved against non-allocation of reserved seats for women, minorities

ECP and provincial Election Commission were also made respondents in the petition

By Amjad Safi
March 01, 2024
People are seen gathered outside the Peshawar High Court (PHC). — Geo News/File
People are seen gathered outside the Peshawar High Court (PHC). — Geo News/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday sought reply within a week time in a writ petition filed against the non-allocation of reserved seats for women and non-Muslims to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) in the national, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies.

The writ petition, filed by Azmatullah Afridi through his counsel Shah Faisal Uthmankhel advocate, was heard by a two-member bench of the PHC comprising Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Wiqar Ahmad.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and provincial Election Commission were also made respondents in the petition.

The counsel informed the bench that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidates had joined SIC after a landslide victory in the recent general elections.

However, he said that the party had not been given the opportunity to claim its share in the seats reserved for women and minorities in the national and provincial assemblies.

He argued that it was not only an injustice with the SIC but also a violation of fundamental rights of women and minorities in the country.

According to articles 51 and 106, the petitioner’s lawyer pleaded that the parliament would not be complete until and unless the reserved seats for women and minorities filled.

He added that neither the national and provincial assemblies nor the Senate sessions would be convened without election to the reserved seats for women and minorities, terming such practices illegal and unconstitutional.

He said that it was a case of public interest as women and minorities of the party would have no representation in the assemblies and senate to raise voice for their rights.

He requested the bench to issue orders for the allocation of seats reserved for the women and minorities with the proportion of the party strength in all the assemblies and senate. It may be mentioned that earlier the PTI had filed a similar petition for claiming its share in the seats reserved for women and minorities in the national and provincial assemblies.

However, the petition was later withdrawn due to some technical and legal loopholes.

PTI leader Mashal Yousafzai had filed the writ petition through her lawyer Qazi Mohammad Anwar.

The petitioner had requested the court to declare null and void the interpretation of the Election Rules 2017 (4) 94 about the political party as it deprived the PTI of its share in the seats reserved for women and non-Muslims in the national and provincial assemblies.

The petition argued that the PTI was registered under the Election Act 2002. It said that under Section 208 of the Election Act 2017, every political party was supposed to elect its office-bearers at the national, provincial, and grassroots levels.

The PTI had requested the court to declare null and void the interpretation of the Elections Rules 2017 (4)94 and allow the PTI to claim its share of the reserved seats.