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Saturday, July 20, 2024  
13 Muharram 1446  

Reserved seats: SIC chief’s letter to ECP serves deathblow to PTI

During the hearing, ECP shares the letter with Barrister Ali Zafar

In a major blow to the PTI, the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) chief has apparently given up the reserved seats in the National Assembly without the knowledge of his ally, Imran Khan and the PTI.

A letter purportedly written by the SIC chief to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was shared on Wednesday with the PTI lawyer, Ali Zafar, by the chief election commissioner during a key hearing at the ECP to decide the fate of 23 reserved seats that the ECP has not yet allotted to any political party in the National Assembly.

The PTI entered into an alliance with the SIC earlier this month and made its lawmakers — capitalizing on the PTI’s popularity — join the SIC so that the party could get a major share in the 70 seats reserved for women and minorities in the National Assembly.

The ECP estimated that at least 23 seats would go to SIC but linked the final decision to the election commissioners. The remaining 47 seats have already been allotted to other political parties, PMLN, PPP, MQMP, JUIF, and PMLQ.

However, PMLN and PPP have claimed that SIC was not qualified to partake of the reserved seats because it did not participate in the general election as a political party. Even SIC Chief Hamid Raza won as an independent candidate.

The dispute is to be resolved by the Election Commission of Pakistan which heard the issue on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A five-member bench headed by Chief Election Commi­ssioner Sikandar Sultan Raja conducted a hearing on the pleas.

PTI’s Barrister Ali Zafar, representing SIC, has been explaining to the ECP members why the party should be given a share in the reserved seats.

But to his surprise, Ali Zafar was told by the CEC that SIC Chief Raza had already written a letter to the ECP saying that his party did not want any of the reserved seats.

CEC Raja showed a letter sent by SIC Chief Sahibzada Hamid Raza to Zafar.

He told Barrister Ali Zafar that Raza had written the letter to the ECP on January 26 in which he said that the party had neither contested the general election nor it wanted the reserved seats.

Barrister Zafar said that he was unaware of such a letter and that the SIC chief had not mentioned writing such a letter to the electoral body.

With the explosive relations made by the CEC, Zafar ended his arguments that ran for hours.

Earlier, he said the ECP delayed the hearing on the SIC plea for reserved seats and by doing so allowed PMLN and other political parties to file petitions for the same reserved seats.

Zafar also contented that since other political parties had been made respondents in the case, he needed more time to prepare his arguments. The CEC asked if Zafar wanted the ECP to postpone the hearing.

Zafar said it was an extraordinary situation and he had to counter three arguments: SIC did not contest the election as a political party, it did not submit a list of candidates on reserved seats, and independently elected candidates did not join it within the three days of election.

He also said that the PTI was still listed with the ECP as a political party.

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Election commission of Pakistan

Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf

reserved seats

election 2024

Sunni Ittehad Council