Peshawar High Court rejects SIC’s plea regarding reserved seats

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has rejected a petition of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) verdict on reserved seats.

“Petitions are unanimously rejected,” the court maintained.

Earlier today, PHC chief justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan resumed the hearing and five members of the bench, including Justice Ijaz Anwar, Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim, Justice Shakeel Ahmad, and Justice Arshad Ali, heard the petition.

SIC’s lawyer, Barrister Ali Zafar, argued during the hearing that it’s not mentioned in the constitution that a party should submit any list to the ECP for reserved seats.

“It is not written anywhere that you cannot resubmit the list or when it has to be submitted,” the barrister argued, adding that there is no restriction on providing a second list and that the ECP could have issued a second schedule, as it did for the general elections.

“As per the law, those who participate in elections will get seats,” Justice Anwar remarked.

The court then questioned Barrister Zafar if it wasn’t clearly stated anywhere that the second schedule cannot be issued.

“The law does not prevent the Election Commission from issuing another schedule,” the lawyer responded.

Justice Arshad remarked that Section 104 explains the mechanism for reserved seats as it states that when a list is submitted then another list can be given.

“Section 104 says that if a political party participates in an election, it will give a list,” the lawyer argued.

He earlier argued that whoever wins the number of seats, they get reserved seats in the same proportion. 

“Their seats cannot be increased.”

“If these seats are not given, the parliament will not be complete,” remarked the chief justice, responding to which the lawyer requested the court to interpret the Constitution in a way that there remains no gap in its interpretation.

Barrister Ali Zafar also told the court that the ECP has authority to maintain justice, adding that there should be transparency in the election for reserved seats.

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