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Monday May 27, 2024

PHC told it can intervene for oath-taking of women MPAs on reserved seats

PPP, PMLN and JUIF had challenged the constitutional matter regarding oath-taking in the PHC on behalf of women lawmakers elected on reserved seats

By Amjad Safi
March 27, 2024
A police personnel stands guard outside the Peshawar High Court in this image. — APP/File
A police personnel stands guard outside the Peshawar High Court in this image. — APP/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday heard arguments in the writ petitions on not administering oath to women Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) elected on reserved seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and adjourned the hearing in the case for today (Wednesday).

A division bench of the PHC comprising Justice SM Attique Shah and Justice Syed Arshad Ali heard the petitions and posed several questions to lawyers representing various petitioners, observing what the court can do in such cases.

Lawyers Amir Javed, Tariq Afridi and Farooq Afridi represented the petitioners while Additional Attorney General Sanaullah, Advocate General Shah Faisal Uthmankhel, Sikandar Bashir Mohmand and Ali Azim Afridi pleaded for the federal government, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, Election Commission of Pakistan and KP Assembly speaker, respectively.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice SM Attique Shah asked the ECP lawyer what the role of commission was after the declaration of poll results.

The lawyer replied that the ECP had fulfilled all the constitutional obligations and the commission had already issued a notification about the petitioners’ election on the seats reserved for women.

He pleaded that the PHC five-member larger bench had also recently endorsed the ECP verdict on giving the reserved seats to other political parties other than Sunni Ittehad Council.

Sikandar Bashir Mohmand told the bench that the court could ask the governor and in other cases even the president to intervene as happened in the case of former Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz to administer oath to the elected members.

He argued that the Lahore High Court had asked the president to administer oath to the Punjab CM after the governor refused to do so.

Shah Faisal Uthmankhel said the court had sought comments from the provincial government which were duly submitted but they were not the record file.

He sought some time while Amir Javed pleaded that elected members should be sworn-in by tomorrow as the Senate elections were just round the corner.

He pleaded that the petitioners cannot be deprived of their constitutional rights in any way. The lawyer for the KP Assembly speaker sought time. However, the court adjourned the hearing for today after hearing arguments.

The PPP, PMLN and JUIF had challenged the constitutional matter regarding oath-taking in the PHC on behalf of women lawmakers elected on reserved seats.

The petition said the Election Commission of Pakistan had notified the women lawmakers elected on reserved seats. However, the KP Assembly speaker and the provincial government having mala fide intentions did not administer the oath to the successful women MPAs.

The court was requested through the petition that elected MPAs be administered oath, so that they could cast votes in the upcoming Senate elections. It was also stated that Senate elections should be postponed in case the women MPAs were not administered the oath.