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Saturday, May 18, 2024  
09 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

PTI to challenge ECP’s decision on reserved seats in Supreme Court

Barrister Ali Zafar demands presidential, Senate elections be postponed till court's decision
PTI Leader Barrister Ali Zafar speech in National Assembly - Aaj News

PTI’s Barrister Ali Zafar has announced that his party will challenge the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision not to allocate the reserved seats to the Sunni Ittehad Council.

“We have decided on the floor of the Senate that we will challenge this ECP order and will take all the legal ways against the decision,” Zafar said in his speech at the upper house of Parliament.

“Constitutionally, the ECP cannot run its proceedings and all of them have to resign from their positions. Moreover, we also demand that the presidential and Senate elections should be postponed and adjourned because there is no space in the Constitution both of the elections are held with the [allocation of] reserved seats.”

His reaction came after a five-member ECP bench announced the 4-1 verdict on the SIC’s plea seeking allocation of reserved seats in the national and provincial assemblies.

In his speech, Zafar read out Section 6(d) of Article 51.

“For the purpose of election to the National Assembly,- members to the seats reserved for women which are allocated to a Province under clause (3) shall be elected in accordance with law through proportional representation system of political parties’ lists of candidates on the basis of total number of general seats secured by each political party from the Province concerned in the National Assembly:

Provided that for the purpose of this sub-clause the total number of general seats won by a political party shall include the independent returned candidate or candidates who may duly join such political party within three days of the publication in the official Gazette of the names of the returned candidates;“

The PTI leader also spoke about the Supreme Court verdict before elections that stripped the party of its iconic symbol: the bat. He described it as “unconstitutional and illegal”.

He claimed that more than 180 independent candidates backed by the party won elections, however, the tally fell to 92 after the ECP issued the results.

Zafar explained that the winning candidates joined the SIC so that they could have the reserved seats and such members could have a chance to vote in elections for the prime minister, president, and senate.

According to him, the electoral body was supposed to give 23 seats under Article 51(6)(d). But the ECP denied the party of such seats. He added that the party had informed the ECP that it could not keep the seats vacant as the assemblies would not be complete without it.

When he shared the ECP’s decision to allocate such seats to other political parties, lawmakers from treasury benches started chanting “shame shame”.

Zafar cited that if it was true that their share was given to other parties than it would be a “second constitutional mistake” by the ECP after nullifying its intra-party polls.

He further quoted articles 218 and 219 that demand the ECP to hold free and fair polls. But Monday’s verdict proved that the ECP has failed and violated the Constitution in abiding by such rules, he added.

“Article 6 should be imposed on them [ECP],” he said and demanded all the members of the ECP should step down from their positions. He shared that lawmakers from the PTI have readied the resolution with such a demand.

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“They cannot even stand for a minute at that post after this unconstitutional and illegal decision. It won’t be bearable,” Zafar said and added that the party would not accept elections for the president and Senate after the decision.

He called for a final decision, adding that until the Supreme Court of Pakistan gives a decision on that. “We will approach courts to challenge it. Until Supreme Court of Pakistan decides that to whom reserved seats will be allotted then the presidential elections and Senate elections cannot be held in Pakistan.”

Zafar said that the party has decided to challenge the ECP decision and opt for the legal way and the ECP cannot run its affairs.

He further demanded that Senate and presidential elections should be adjourned as nowhere in the Constitution it was mentioned that the elections were held without reserved seats. “If held then whatever the decision from the SC then the whole process will be reversed.”

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Sunni Ittehad Council