Full Court Meeting summoned by CJP on SIC Reserved Seats Begins

Wed Jul 10 2024
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ISLAMABAD: The full court meeting summoned by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa about the reserved seats of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) has started, local media reported on Wednesday.

According to local media, the CJP called the 13-judge full court earlier on Wednesday. All the judges – Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Ayesha A. Malik, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Irfan Saadat Khan, Justice Shahid Waheed, and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan – are attending the meeting.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan Tuesday reserved the decision on the Sunni Ittehad Council’s (SIC) plea against the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) verdict upholding the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision denying them the reserved seats.   A 13-member full court bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa heard the case today with Barrister Salman Akram Raja and SIC’s Faisal Siddiqui presenting their arguments before the apex court.

The bench also comprises Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Shahid Waheed, Justice Ayesha Malik, Justice Irfan Saadat Khan and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan.

The whole reserved seats matter first emerged following the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) backed independent candidates emerged victorious in the February 8 polls and subsequently joined the SIC in a bid to claim seats reserved for women and minorities.

However, the PTI suffered a setback following the ECP, quoting the party’s failure to submit its list of candidates, refused allocating the reserved seats to the SIC. The party then approached the Peshawar High Court which upheld the electoral body’s decision on the issue.

Subsequently, the SIC knocked the door of the SC seeking to set aside the PHC decision and the allocation of 67 women and 11 minority seats in the assemblies.

The allocation of reserved seats holds significance as the PTI-backed independent candidates, who make up the majority of the opposition benches, lost as many as 77 reserved seats in NA and provincial assemblies due to the PHC’s verdict.

The SIC’s appeal, however, has been opposed by both the federal government and the election commission of Pakistan.  In its submission to the apex court via Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan, the government has pleaded the court to reject the SIC’s appeal stressing that the reserved seats for women and minorities could be given to a political party which contested the elections and won at least one seat besides providing a list of candidates based on the total number of seats it won as per the rules and law.  The ECP has adopted a somewhat similar argument contending that the party is not eligible to get reserved seats as it did not submit the list of candidates before the deadline.

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