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Wednesday, July 17, 2024  
10 Muharram 1446  

Time of decision announcement in reserved seats case changed

Apex court held full-court meeting on Wednesday to deliberate reserved seats case
A still from the Supreme Court’s live proceedings of the reserved seats case show a lawyer presenting his arguments before the bench on July 09, 2024. Screengrab via YouTube
A still from the Supreme Court’s live proceedings of the reserved seats case show a lawyer presenting his arguments before the bench on July 09, 2024. Screengrab via YouTube

The Supreme Court will announce its verdict on Friday on a set of appeals by the Sunni Ittehad Council against the denial of reserved seats for women and non-Muslims to it by the Peshawar High Court and the Election Commission of Pakistan.

According to a cause list issued on Thursday evening, the decision will be announced at at 12 pm. An earlier notice said that the decision would be announced at 9:30 am.

However, the cause list clairfied that the full court would not be present to announce the verdict. A regular three-member bench including Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan, and Justice Aqeel Ahmad Abbasi will announce the verdict.

The apex court’s full bench held a consultative meeting on the matter related to reserved seats for wom­en and non-Muslims on Thursday, after a similar meeting on Wednesday.

The judges participating in the meeting included Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha Malik, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Shahid Waheed, Justice Irfan Saadat Khan, and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan.

Sources said that the judges discussed the legal arguments and precedents related to the SIC’s claim for reserved seats during the meeting.

This ruling holds significant implications for the political representation of the Sunni community in Pakistan. The verdict is eagerly awaited by both the government and the SIC.

Earlier this week, the apex reserved its ruling on the SIC appeals.

Background

Members of Imran Khan’s political party, the PTI, were forced to run as independent candidates in the February general elections after the SC ruled that the party’s internal elections were flawed. As a result, the PTI candidates were not allowed to use the party’s cricket bat symbol during the campaign.

Despite running as independents, the PTI-backed candidates won the most seats in the National Assembly. To secure the reserved seats, they joined the religiopolitical party, the SIC.

The reserved seats are allocated to different political parties in proportion to the number of general seats each party wins during elections. This is done to promote greater political representation and inclusion of these traditionally underrepresented groups in the government.

The ECP decided not to allocate the reserved seats to them on “technical grounds” and distributed the SIC’s share among other parties.

Also, read this

List of lawmakers suspended following SC decision on reserved seats

Reserved seats decision will affect the entire parliamentary system: Raja

Not giving symbol akin to banning a political party: IHC

The outcome of the case can be politically significant, there are possibilities that it may impact the National Assembly composition. Khan’s party is hopeful of winning 78 reserved seats in Parliament given to the rival parties in elections.

In a letter to the apex court, the country’s top electoral authority reiterated that the SIC was ineligible for the reserved seats and there was “no flaw” in the ECP’s and PHC’s decisions as it was “under the Constitution and law.”

The ECP noted that non-Muslims cannot be SIC members under the party’s constitution.

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Supreme Court

Pakistan

reserved seats

Sunni Ittehad Council